Target: Doug McMillon, Walmart President and CEO
Goal: Improve working conditions at factories that produce Walmart toys.
While Americans spend millions on gifts this holiday season, many forget the disturbing stories behind the items they buy. Despite increased consumer awareness in recent years, some of the largest toy producers in the U.S. still employ sweatshop labor to make their products. Walmart is the largest toy distributor in the U.S., and its famously low prices are the result of deplorable working conditions in China and elsewhere.
The United States Department of Labor defines a sweatshop as a factory that violates two or more labor laws. Walmart and other companies such as Mattel and Hasbro source their toys from factories that often commit numerous violations, while compensating their employees around just 50 cents an hour. Because of the number of factories used and a chronic lack of oversight, these abuses run rampant. Many Chinese factories have been known to force employees to work 14-hour shifts in unsafe or unsanitary working conditions. Others unfairly garnish wages or use discriminatory hiring practices.
Even more disturbingly, some American children may receive toys this holiday that were produced by workers younger than they are. In China and other developing nations, an estimated 168 million children between the ages of five and 14 are forced to work to help alleviate pressure on their poverty-stricken families.
It is unacceptable to continue to allow American toys to be produced in this manner. Walmart must be an industry leader in moving away from the use of sweatshops. Sign the petition below to urge Walmart to improve working conditions for its toy makers.
Dear President McMillon,
I find it deplorable that Walmart, America’s largest toy distributor, continues to allow its products to be produced in sweatshops. Despite heightened consumer awareness, the conditions of toy factories in China and other developing countries has yet to fundamentally improve. Workers continue to be paid just pennies an hour, work arduous overtime, and endure unsafe working conditions. Some factories even utilize child labor. Walmart’s commitment to low prices is a driving force in the abuse of these workers.
A study found that doubling the wages of factory workers would result in just a 1.8 percent increase in consumer cost of items. The same study reported that consumers would be willing to pay up to 15 percent more for an item to ensure it was produced ethically. There is just no excuse to continue allowing workers to be mistreated to produce the cheapest items possible.
I urge you to please step up and be an industry leader in this issue. If Walmart acts to end toy production in sweatshops, other large companies such as Mattel, Hasbro, and Disney will likely follow. Please think not just about the families who buy your toys this holiday season, but about those who produce them as well. Ensure working conditions are drastically improved at all Walmart toy factories.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kaboom Pics