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1999-12-15
Janesville, WI. 7th Graders Picket Wal-Mart

Picture this scene outside of the Janesville, Wisconsin Wal-Mart on the evening of December 10th. It's a rainy night, and a group of 15 seventh graders are marching in front of the Wal-Mart store as curious shoppers file in and out. The kids are chanting a song -- but it's not the typical Wal-Mart pep song. "One,two, three, four," the kids sing, "kick those sweatshops out the door!" "Five, six, seven, eight, workers need a living rate!" This goes on for about an hour and a half. The kids from teacher Mike Dean's social studies class at Franklin Middle School are heckled by a few Wal-Mart shoppers. "One person yelled at us and told us we were stupid and everything," one student told the Associated Press. The media claims that Wal-Mart knew in advance that the students were coming, and the store manager sent out a tray of cookies and soda. At first, the kids took the refreshments -- but then reconsidered. "They bribed us!" one student shouted. "That's what they just did." The students then returned the goodies to the store. The Janesville protest is part of a national "Season of Conscience" action opposing working conditions in Third World sweatshops. The Franklin Middle School children spent the last six weeks learning about child labor and sweatshops in other countries during their lunch hour. "These (children) don't get enough money to live off of, and the kids shouldn't be in there because they need to get an education," one student noted. Although religious, labor and environmental groups have called upon Wal-Mart and other U.S. retailers to reveal the locations of their foreign factories to allow independent watchdogs to monitor working conditions, Wal-Mart has refused to disclose their locations.

What you can do: For more information about the anti-sweatshop movement, go to the National Labor Committee website, or contact info@sprawl-busters.com. To share your opinion with Wal-Mart, go to the Wal-Mart website and email them urging a full disclosure of all their overseas factories (see related story on Mexican maquiladora workers below).










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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