Are You Spending Your Money Ethically?

Workers in a sweatshop sewing

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

bad versus 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

protesters for living wage

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.

Alert1 Cares

happy workers with freedom

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 equality.

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:

Safety

Fairness

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 practice

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 employment opportunity

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.

 

thayercertifiedlogoH.alert1

 

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 happy environment.

Every Human’s Right

hands around the world

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 human right.

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”.  

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