Comparative Analysis of US and International Apparel Labor Regulations: An Exploratory Study

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2017-01-01
Authors
Clark, Elena
Bhaduri, Gargi
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Today's consumers prefer products from socially responsible brands (Nielson 2014) and are concerned about where and how their products are made. However, given that 97.3% of apparel consumed in the US is imported (AAFA, 2016), mostly from developing countries, it is difficult for US consumers to understand the social impact of their purchase choices, given that each supplier country has its own labor regulations.Today's consumers prefer products from socially responsible brands (Nielson 2014) and are concerned about where and how their products are made. However, given that 97.3% of apparel consumed in the US is imported (AAFA, 2016), mostly from developing countries, it is difficult for US consumers to understand the social impact of their purchase choices, given that each supplier country has its own labor regulations.Data analysis revealed similarities as well as differences in labor standards across the countries, particularly related to the following categories: minimum working age, wage and overtime pay, unionization rights, working environments, and worker benefits including maternity considerations. Results indicated that US compared to its supplier countries, offered shorter work week, better rights to unionize, and, stricter work environment regulations. However, foreign supplier countries often provided workers with better benefits such as universal health-care (China and Mexico), comparative wages (China), increased overtime pay (Vietnam and Mexico), as well as increased benefits for female workers (China, Mexico and Vietnam). Implications and contributions are also proposed.

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