Crusader Against Sweatshops Presents Lecture at Denison
Posted: January 13, 2001
The executive director of the National Labor Committee (NLC) and a leader in the struggle for international labor rights, Charles Kernaghan, presents a lecture titled "Sweatshops, Worker's Rights, and the Clothes We Wear" at 8 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 30) in Slayter Auditorium. The presentation will be free and open to the public.
Under Kernaghan's directorship, the National Labor Committee has played a leading role in bringing the issue of sweatshop abuses and child labor before the American people and placing it on the national agenda. Through public education and action campaigns focused on U.S. multinational corporations, including Wal-Mart, Disney, GAP, Liz Claiborne and others, Kernaghan has succeeded in raising public awareness.
The National Labor Committee is an independent, non-profit human rights organization focused on the protection of worker rights, especially those of young women assembling garments, shoes, toys and other products for export to the U.S. in developing countries. "Sixty percent of the clothing, 80 percent of the sporting goods and toys and 40 percent of the shoes and sneakers sold in this country are imported," says Kernaghan.
With his organization, Kernaghan has been at the center of documenting labor conditions and abuses in factories in Central America, China, Haiti, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. He has exposed how free trade zones benefit American corporations and contribute to abusive labor conditions and is best known for exposing the use of child labor in the production of Wal-Mart's "Kathie Lee" clothing line. He has also authored several research reports including "An Appeal to the Walt Disney Company" (1996) and "The Neediest & Greediest/Worst Companies List" (1997). Kernaghan became involved in the struggle to defend international labor rights after participating in a peace march through Central America in December 1985. He became the director of the NLC in 1990. He also has taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and at SUNY's Harry Van Arsdale Labor College in New York City. He has worked as a photographer, cab driver and construction worker.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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