Sweatshop conditions are associated with companies, businesses and manufacturers that do not provide safe, fair and clean working conditions for its workers, employees and staff. Some of the common sweatshop conditions include pay that is below minimum wage, excessive working hours, a dangerous working environment and conditions that create and foster health problems.
These poor working conditions typically target workers who are not able to obtain employment in traditional work environments. Generally, they are illegal immigrants and do not have proper work papers. It can also include undereducated or uneducated individuals that lack the skills and experience to find work in more traditional working environments.
Due to the fact that the workers tend to be sub-par to traditional workers, companies that run sweatshops tend to pay the workers very low wages. Typically, the pay is not even minimum wage. Without even being paid minimum wage, it tends to perpetuate the poverty of cycle that sweatshop workers tend to live in either on their own or with their families.
Common sweatshop conditions also tend to require workers to work longer hours than is typically allowed by law. For example, in the U.S., a typical workweek is up to 40 hours for a full-time worker. Common sweatshop conditions may have workers working excessive hours, such as 80 or 90 hours a week, but without any additional compensation for overtime.
One of the most common sweatshop conditions is the danger of the work environment itself. Typically, sweatshops do not have air conditioning in the summer months and do not have heat in the winter months. Especially in manufacturing plants, there is also not proper ventilation to ensure that the workers are breathing clean and safe air, and that any chemicals emitted from the manufacturing process are being handled properly.
Unclean working conditions can also contribute to the poor sweatshop conditions. Improper cleanup of food, chemicals or bi-products can create all sorts of health problems for workers. Sweatshops that have rodent or pest problems can create even more health issues. Rodents and bugs have diseases that can create even poorer working conditions that can translate into illnesses and diseases for the workers.
Equipment and machinery in sweatshops also tend to be poor and dilapidated. Improperly working machinery can cause injuries to workers. Some of these injuries are minor, but other injuries can partially or fully disable the worker, which may even prohibit them from working.