Documents & Articles which concern Catholic and Labor Issues
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of Newark Sweatshop Initiative
In October 1997 Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark (now Cardinal McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington), accompanied by then-Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, announced a multifaceted iniatiave to assure that Catholic school uniforms in the Newark Archdiocese would not be manufactured in sweatshops.
The Archdiocese began by forming a Sweatshop Task Force, which brought together the Archdiocesan Human Concerns office, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, the US and New Jersey Departments of Labor, and UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees.
The Sweatshop Task Force requested all Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese to provide a list of school uniform vendors they used. From these in turn the Task Force collected the names their manufacturers and contractors. Finally, with the help of the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor, the Task Force investigated their compliance with US DOL regulations. With this information in hand the Archdiocese provided a list of approved "no sweat" uniform vendors to area Catholic schools.
In addition the Archdiocese of Newark's Office of Human Concerns has joined with UNITE to produce a package of teaching resources suitable for instructional use. Helping students understand the importance of "no sweat" uniforms is an essential part of making such an initiative a success. The "Teaching Resources on Sweatshops and Child Labor" include a brief history of Catholic Social Teaching, some prayer services, information about sweatshops and child labor, classroom activities, and some published articles on the subject. The Teaching Resources and a short video on sweatshops for classroom use are available from the Department of Human Concerns (the "Teaching Resources" cost $12, and the video $6, plus shipping and handling). For more information call or write:
Department of Human Concerns
Papal Social Encyclicals Other Catholic Social Teachings
General Articles of Interest Catholic Worker Connection
Msgr. George Higgins Home Page
E-Mail: Fr. Sinclair Oubre