Fair Play & Fair Pay: Pittsburgh Baseball Fans Demand Better Treatment for Workers

By Amanda Vender

When you watch a baseball game, do you ever think about where the team’s hats, shirts and souvenirs were made? Some Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans did. When they looked into it, they found that Pirates and other teams’ gear is made in factories around the world, just like many other clothes, shoes and toys.

The Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance (PASCA) is working to find out more. They met workers in Bangladesh, a country in Asia, who make Pirates merchandise. The workers said they earn 17 cents an hour, but in order to live decently in Bangladesh they need to make four times that much. Also, many of them are teenagers who are helping to support their families.

“We know that baseball fans care about fairness and they care that the workers who produce baseball merchandise be paid fairly,” said Kenneth Miller of PASCA. That’s why PASCA is pressuring the Pirates and Major League Baseball to reveal which factories make the merchandise and commit to use only factories that pay the workers enough money to live.

“Sweatshops violate the human rights of women and children all over the world,” said Celeste Taylor, a member of PASCA and Sweatfree Communities, which works to end sweatshop exploitation. “Sweatshops are not just a problem in Asia and Latin America. There are over 7,000 sweatshops in the U.S. too.”

Fifteen-year-old Pirates fans Forrest and Hunter McCurdy of Pittsburgh said, “We do not want to wear Pittsburgh Pirates gear if kids our age are making them for so little money.”

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For information, go to www.sweatfree.org/baseball

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