After celebrating student victories for labor reform on both hills, the City of Ithaca decided to further its commitment to human rights by becoming sweatfree.
Last month, Ithaca became part of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium. As of this January, the city will ensure goods totaling more than $1,000 are made “sweatshop-free.”
This policy endorsement may help locals better understand where their products and apparel come from. But it’s up to business owners who support these fair labor practices to educate their customers.
Unless goods are marked “sweatfree,” average consumers will not know the difference between a handcrafted sweater and one made in a factory. These visual cues will spark dialogue between business owners and consumers, and initiate the learning process.
But the global fight for a living wage should not distract the city from its local needs. Currently, some community members cannot afford housing with their low earnings. If the city wants to uphold its value of workers’ rights, it must first model this value within the community by ensuring all workers are paid a living wage.