June 28, 2005 – Activists opposing sweatshops appear to be making headway in their efforts to gain the support of major league baseball teams, according to a statement issued by the Sweat Free Baseball Campaign.
Initiated three years ago, the Sweat Free Baseball Campaign has chapters in New York, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh. Sunday, they announced the results of an April meeting with with company officers, including the Director of Merchandising, of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"We discussed the urgent need to identify exactly who the workers that make Pirate gear are and what their rights are," read the statement. "We presented the testimony of workers who make Gildan Activewear in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haitiâ€¦the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to do many things in advance of a follow up meeting but have so far refused to meet with us again."
Gildan Activewear has been a major target of the anti-sweatshop campaign. Activists have organized protests at baseball games and successfully drawn media and public attention to the companyâ€™s questionable labor practices. The company has been closing North American plants and relocating to places like Haiti and Nicaragua, where workersâ€™ rights are nearly non-existent and rarely enforced, according to a variety of media reports over the last several years.