Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is Refugee Labor the New Fair Trade Issue?

Fair Trade refers to just compensation for farmers and workers who produce the ingredients we enjoy in various products. With a Fair Trade label, consumers can identify which products were produced in an ethical manner. The main goal of Fair Trade certified products is to encourage the economic growth of disadvantaged communities in developing countries and to improve the quality of life for farmers, workers and their families. It's conscious consumerism, because buying Fair Trade products makes you aware of the origins of the products you buy. What if those farmers and workers are brought here?
The U.S. Department of Commerce designated 12 Manufacturing Communities to receive portions of a $1 billion fund. Some of those communities just so happen to be the recipients of an influx of refugees from developing countries. Through programs such as the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, refugees are relocated to communities and some are immediately offered jobs in these manufacturing plants and facilities. Many refugees have no choice where they're relocated to, but also have limited options for employment. Some don't even know what state they're moving to until the day of arrival. Some programs issue "grants" to families to cover food, housing and transportation for a short time. Some refugees have told me their "grants" have to be paid back eventually with their factory wages.
Read more about refugee labor

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