Executive Director of National Labor Committee, Charles Kernaghan, to Speak
Posted: September 22, 2004
The executive director of the National Labor Committee, Charles Kernaghan, and two teenage women who work in a Bangladesh sweatshop will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 28) in Denison University's Slayter Auditorium on "The Human Face behind the Global Economy." The convocation, which is sponsored by the office of campus and residential life, the women's resource center, and the student activities office, is part of the Bangladesh Workers Tour and is free and open to the public. The tour is focused on launching a positive campaign to aid millions of garment workers and their employment situation.
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 in Central America, the Caribbean, China and other developing countries which are exported to the U.S. Kernaghan has been serving as the director of the NLC since 1990. Before becoming involved with international labor rights in 1985, he taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and at SUNY's Harry Van Arsdale Labor College in New York City. Under Kernaghan's direction, the NLC has played a role in bringing the issue of sweatshop abuses and child labor before the American public.
The two young women will tell their story of working 15 to 19 hours shifts each day, receiving only 14 and 19 cents per hour. They will describe having to work six and seven days a week under such conditions. The young women sew clothing for large American companies and are speaking for all of the workers in Bangladesh and the developing world.
"The purpose of this convocation is not to close down sweatshops, but to improve working conditions, increase wages, adapt the building so it is more humane, provide some means of health care, and limit the hours women have to work," said Professor David O. Woodyard, chair of the religion department at Denison. "The purpose of the nationwide tour is also to raise awareness across the country and to help provide these workers with better lives." The convocation will include powerful video footage, numerous photographs, and documentation, including sweatshop clothing. There will be campaign materials regarding what can be done to make a difference in the economy.
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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