Sweatshop Labor and the Government Essay

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Sweatshop labor within the United States was common until 1938 when the Fair Labor Standards Act was introduced. ("Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, Amended" 5) After this first intervention, the United States government adopted an anti-sweatshop labor view. Due to sweatshop labor's illegality within the United States, companies began exploiting developing countries that did not have such strict labor laws. The government took up arms against sweatshop labor once again and began pressuring other governments to institute labor laws. The government’s involvement in the anti-sweatshop labor campaign both in the United States and abroad has drastically changed the practice of sweatshop labor to a more ethical business practice.  
Around the turn of the 20th century, sweatshops within the US were very common. (Rodriguez 61) The United States government became involved in labor issues due to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911. (Rodriguez 61) One hundred and forty eight immigrant sweatshop workers were killing in this fire, bringing national attention to sweatshop labor practices. (Rodriguez 61) Immediately, the government began to form legislation to prohibit the unfair labor practices found in sweatshops. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 set a federal minimum wage, overtime pay, prohibited minors under the age of 16 from working, and prohibited minors under the age of 18 from working certain jobs which were considered dangerous. ("Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, Amended" 5-7) This effectively made child labor illegal and heavily restricted sweatshop labor within the United States. Now finding their practices illegal, larger companies began to move their illegal labor practices abroad.(Brown, Deardorff, Stern 7) Developing countries had much less strict labor laws than the United States and these companies found it easy to exploit them. These companies subcontracted foreign factories to produce their product for a very tiny price.  
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