Class, geography and the consumerist turn: UNITE and the Stop Sweatshops Campaign.
The late 20th century has seen unions in the industrial and postindustrial countries retrench and struggle to develop new strategies and tactics in the face of a changing political economy. A challenge to the traditional conceptions of the appropriate place and scope of union activity comes from the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees and its innovative leadership in the US-based Stop Sweatshops Campaign. Based on an analysis of the shifting locus of power in the garment industry, the union shifted its focus from the point of production to the place of consumption to pressure retailers who set prices within the industry. This strategy, which fulfills the prophecy of the consumptive turn earlier this century, applies a new geography and politics to labor struggles, and forces labor geographers to consider anew the relationship between consumption and production in our understanding of the changing economic landscape.
Johns, R. A. & Vural, L. (2000). Class, geography and the consumerist turn: UNITE and the Stop Sweatshops Campaign. Environment and Planning A, 32(7), 1193-1213. DOI: 10.1068/a3255
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