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The Garment Workers Solidarity Center opened its doors on February 28,1997 in NYC. The GWSC has a single mission: Organizing the industry's workers to overcome the harsh conditions under which we toil. The multibillion dollar garment industry presents an image of glamour and wealth to the public. But there's a grim reality behind the glitter. The word "sweatshop" conjures images of the 1890s: immigrant workers suffering under slave-like conditions, with their lives being threatened by unsafe working conditions, working for pennies a day. It's shocking how little things have changed over a century later - with only the faces of the immigrant population having changed from Eastern Europeans to Latin Americans, Asians and Africans.------- Over the last twenty years, within the United States garment industry, large corporations and manufacturing companies have fine-tuned their techniques of exploitation; their goal is to get more profits from the labor of the working class. Cleverly, they have chosen to discard their production facilities, distributing the work among the factories of so-called “contractors”, thereby virtually evading responsibility for salaries, benefits, and working conditions. The garment industry is a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is the retailer who sells the clothing item to the consumer. Below the retailer is the manufacturer or “jobber”,who sells the clothing line to the retailer and subcontracts the work to the contractor. At the bottom of the pyramid are the workers who work directly for the contractor. Today, more that 4,000 contractors operate in the New York City metropolitan area; this is equal to the number of contractors in Los Angeles and other cities. A majority of the owners of these small contracting shops are immigrants; in New York City for example, the majority are of Korean origin. Most of the workers in these shops are from Latin America (Ecuador and Mexico, primarily) and Asia ; 75% of the workers are women, and most are sewing machine operators. Many of the workers have only recently arrived in this country; they do not understand the system of production, the labor laws, or their basic rights. Some of them are chained to their situation as undocumented workers. Most workers are afraid of reporting the abuses which occur in the factories. The problem of unpaid salaries becomes worse each day.-------THESES WORKING CONDITIONS ARE UNACCEPTABLE IN THIS MILLENNIUM.!----------- We are conscious of the challenge presented to us by the existing conditions and circumstances in which we are currently immersed; we are the unorganized working class, which is excluded from the banner of the labor movement, lacking in leaders. It is against this background that the Garment Workers’ Solidarity Center (GWSC) attempts to organize garment workers in New York City. Leading the fight for justice is a group of volunteer organizers, working class immigrants who are involved in developing our organization. We must first gain their trust. Since some American unions are notorious for corrupt activities, immigrants are understandably skeptical. The next step is to educate the workers about their labor rights including the minimum wage and overtime pay. Finally, and maybe most importantly, we need to educate the workers on the industry structure, from the retailer to the lowest skilled garment worker. Once the workers come to this understanding, they will recognize the importance of making demands against manufacturers and retailers rather than just attempting to recover the owed wages strictly from contractors. =============GENERAL OBJECTIVES: 1.- To instruct garment workers about their labor and human rights, and to raise their level of social conscience. 2.-To promote the self-progress and development through educational programs and social projects. 3.-To create leadership among the garment workers and to work toward solidarity among workers in order to solve issues that affect them. 4.-To promote social, cultural and recreational activities to achieve unity among workers. ============= SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES: A) To organize the garment workers and join the immigrants’ struggle to demand respect for human rights. B) To denounce any kind of abuse or injustice against the garment workers. C) To generate projects that offer services to the garment workers for example: c.1) Legal services and counseling in immi- gration cases. c.2) Legal and labor services in cases in- volving back wages. c.3) To offer classes in English as a second language, G.E.D. and computer. c.4) To organize recreational programs , social settings for support and friend- ship. c.5) To implement courses and training programs to improve the skills of the workers. =================== ORGANIC STRUCTURE The Solidarity Center is directing for the following Committees: 1.- Membership 2.- Organization. 3.- Education and Political. 4.- Press and propaganda. 5.- Legal and Labor Issues.. 6.- Social and Support Activities.****

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