Are You Spending Your Money Ethically?
Posted on June 09, 2016
Workers around the world are constantly subjected to unfair
working conditions. Whether it is by unfair wages or harsh working environments,
workers face discrimination on a daily basis.
By continuing our patronage to these companies, we unintentionally
allow them to carry on with their shady business practices by giving them fuel
to run on (our hard earned dollars). By discontinuing our support, we cut those
‘fuel lines’ that feed the company. This brings much needed attention to those
without a voice—the workers.
The Bad and the Good
There are many companies out there that will exploit their
workers, given the opportunity. They take advantage of their workers by paying
them “starving wages” or by subjecting them to poor working conditions.
Fortunately, there are many companies that refuse to do this.
These companies are committed to providing safe working
conditions and a living wage for their workers. To better understand the huge
differences between companies running sweatshops and those promoting fair
working conditions, we’re going to examine the practices of two companies—Nike® and Alert1.
Nike in Indonesia
In 2011, Nike came under fire for abusing its workers in
Indonesia. The conglomerate had established factories in Indonesia in order to
cut labor costs—at the expense of the workers.
Under investigation, it was revealed that Nike had subjected
their workers to physical and verbal abuse. Workers were forced to stand in the
sun as a form of punishment. Some workers had shoes thrown at them and others were
slapped in the face. Workers were frequently referred to as dogs and pigs. And
to top it all off, these workers were barely earning $0.50 an hour. Sadly,
these workers could not even complain out of fear of termination—they were
forced to endure the abuse.
These workers in Indonesia were treated with no respect
until the media brought national attention to their situation. Facing strong
criticism and public outcry, Nike decided to implement change. They have taken
steps since to improve conditions at their overseas factories, but they have a
long way to go. Their most recent controversy, in 2014, involved one of their
factories in China. Workers went on strike due to unfair wages.
In contrast to Nike, Alert1 proactively takes full
responsibility for fair working conditions and living wages for their workers.
As many of you know, Alert1 is a company that cares. Our
nationwide company believes in making a difference in the quality of life for our
members and their families. Naturally, this belief extends to our employees, whom
we consider family.
One of our company’s
goals is to support freedom, independence, and the pursuit of happiness. This core value
is fundamental and resonates throughout all aspects of our business. To continue
our mission, we decided to take it a step further by getting Thayer Certified®.
Alert1 is Thayer Certified
What does Thayer Certified mean? Thayer
Certified means safe and fair working conditions for workers. Companies can
only receive the Thayer Certified seal once officials at Thayer verify that the
business in question operates in a safe manner and treats its employees with
Onsite inspections and anonymous interviews with workers
determine whether or not a business qualifies for the seal. Companies must
adhere to strict criteria that determine safety and fairness in order to pass
the evaluation. These criteria are below:
Evidence of fire safety measures throughout the workplace
Evidence that employees are paid a living wage
Evidence of security features throughout the workplace
Evidence that employees are paid on time
No evidence of unauthorized visitors in the workplace
No evidence of employees under the age of 16
No evidence of smoking in the workplace
No evidence that the company does not honor its benefits policy in
No evidence of open or unlabeled toxic chemicals
No evidence of forced labor or overtime
Safe handling of heavy machinery, if operated on-site
Restrooms are clean and equitably provided
No person is engaged in a dangerous work task
No evidence of favoritism, nepotism or discrimination surrounding
We are proud to say that Alert1 can check off each and every
one of these criteria. We consider these principles to be standard practice.
Meeting these criteria is only one step in the certification
process. Companies must pass six distinct steps in order to be awarded the
Thayer Certification mark. The certification is only valid for one year,
making yearly reevaluations necessary. This way, companies can’t revert back to
the “bad” ways of business after receiving the seal.
We support our
employees’ freedom and independence through adherence of these standards. We
are dedicated to giving them a happy and supportive work environment.
“I love working at
Alert1,” said Kayla Anzalone. “They always look out for me. When I’m sick, they
urge me to stay home. When I need to work more hours, they encourage me to. I
feel like I can always say what’s on my mind. My manager, Tracy, is always
considerate and understanding”.
Kayla, who has been with Alert1 for over a year now, had
nothing but good things to say about Alert1. If this isn’t a sign that all is
well, then I don’t know what is. After all, a happy employee must work in a
Every Human’s Right
When you compare the two companies, Nike and Alert1, you
might think that these are two very different companies with two very different
situations. One company is a huge conglomerate that needs to outsource their
manufacturing, and the other, a smaller company with no need for outsourcing. Be
as it may, it should always be the
case that companies treat their workers fairly and with respect. It’s a basic
All humans should be treated with respect. The Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it best, “We are
all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights
are all interrelated, independent and indivisible”.
You may enjoy these similar articles: