A R C H D I O C E S E  O F  N E W A R K
Office of Human Concerns
Sweatshop Initiative

    The Sweatshop Initiative is a two-step approach to assuring that Catholic school uniforms in the Archdiocese of Newark are not made in sweatshops or by child labor.

    The goals of this program are:
    1. To ensure that Catholic school uniforms in the Archdiocese of Newark are not manufactured in sweatshops or by child labor.
    2. To teach children about Catholic social teaching, particularly what the Church teaches about the rights of workers.
    3. To teach children about sweatshops and child labor.

    The first step of the initiative was to form a task force, comprised of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, the Director of the Human Concerns Office, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, the New Jersey Department of Labor, and the labor union, UNITE (Union of Neddletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees). This partnership between the Church, government and labor is known as the Sweatshop Task Force.

    Following the formation of the Sweatshop Task Force, information was gathered by the school principals regarding the uniform suppliers and the manufacturers used by the suppliers. Then the manufacturers are checked by the Federal and State Departments of Labor for compliance with fair labor, safety and health regulations.

    Since the announcement of the Archdiocese Sweatshop Initiative, in October 1997, an annual meeting is held with the vendors supplying uniforms to the Catholic schools. Vendors are asked to provide us with the names and locations of the manufacturers they use. With the assistance of the Departments of Labor, the union UNITE, the National Labor Committee and others, an investigation is made of the manufacturers.

    “Teaching Resources on Sweatshops and Child Labor”
    The second step was the development of “Teaching Resources on Sweatshops and Child Labor.” Printed materials about Catholic social teaching and the issues of sweatshops and child labor, along with a video were distributed to each school in the Archdiocese of Newark. These materials are a resource for teachers to integrate into areas of curriculum, such as religion and social studies.

    The purpose of these materials are to help the children:
    (1) learn about Catholic social teaching, particularly related to work and workers rights
    (2) learn about sweatshops and child labor
    (3) take action in behalf of exploited workers, especially children

Human Concerns

Archdiocese of Newark, 171Clifton Ave., Newark, NJ 07104-0500