Sweatshop-Free Albuquerque

An Albuquerque small faith-based parish group studying global economic issues is acting locally on a large an growing cancer in the global economy -- the sweatshop.

The Coalition for a Sweatshop-Free Albuquerque came together through the efforts of Walk With the God of Justice, a social concerns committee based at Risen Savior Community. Its first success as a coalition of some 60 organizations and individuals was getting a memorial passed to commit the city of Albuquerque into doing business only with those companies or contractors which provide their employees with decent working conditions and wages.

Currently, the Coalition is working to extend this memorial into a firm council-passed resolution that is enforceable.

According to Rita Ortman, a steering committee member, the group supports fair profits but not at the expense of workers. She said "as consumers, we are willing to pay a little more for products if workers are provided a living wage and safe working conditions."

The "walkers" began meeting in the fall of 1996 to examine, from a faith perspective, global economic issues and their impact on New Mexico. They learned that sweatshops, nearly eliminated in the 1970's, were making a comeback. Broadly described, a sweatshop is a workplace where workers are subjected to poor working conditions, arbitrary discipline, sexual or other forms of harassment, and very low pay with no benefits.

Coalition meetings on the second Monday of each month at Risen Savior Parish at 7:00 PM. For information, call Pat Hynds at 839-4058, Joan Lamb at 897-9102 or Rita Ortman at 888-2053.

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