The clothes you're wearing are still made by hand – hands often working in unsafe conditions for pennies. This week on 51%, bringing manufacturing back to the States... plus trading fashion for activism, and an unsung founder of the labor movement.
One year ago more than a thousand people died when a factory building in Bangladesh collapsed. Most of them were women and children. Another 25 hundred people were hurt. They were garment workers – ordered back to work after cracks were discovered in the building. A year after the Rana Plaza disaster, the momentum is building to bring manufacturing back to the US and create a more transparent garment industry. Bob Bland is CEO of Manufacture NY and she's created a model that makes use of cooperative space and equipment as well as access to marketing expertise.
Coming up, a forgotten labor activist who inspired Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Sweatshops were once common in the US. It was the labor movement that ended child labor in this country and helped create living wages in safer conditions. Gilles Malkine has a profile of one labor activist whose name isn't a household word: Lucy Parsons – a woman who inspired a non-violent movement that spread around the world – and whose papers were confiscated and hidden by our government.
Gilles Malkines is a writer, actor and musician. He lives in NY's Catskill Mountains.
Finally, the story of Felicity “Flik” Finlayson – an up and coming fashion designer who left the world of design and moved to a remote island in Borneo. Now she devotes her life to marine conservation.
Emily Richmond reports from Pom Pom Island in Malaysian Borneo.
That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock.