ZOLTÁN GROSSMAN

This page is from Dr. Grossman's faculty website
when he was an Assistant Professor of Geography at
the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2002-05.
 
Dr. Grossman is now teaching at
The Evergreen State College
Lab 1, Room 3012,
2700 Evergreen Parkway,
Olympia, WA 98502 USA
grossmaz@evergreen.edu
Office (360) 867-6153
 
 
CHIE ABAD LECTURE
to Geography 111 Section 006
(Human Geography: An Introduction to Globalization),
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire,
September 9, 2002
 
 
Biography of Chie Abad
 
 
Links on sweatshop controversy
 
 

 

 LISTEN TO LECTURE

(50 minutes, 12.7 MB,

MP3 file)

 
Photo of Abad
 
 
BIOGRAPHY OF CHIE ABAD
 
Carmencita "Chie" Abad discusses the working
conditions she endured while making clothing
for the Gap on the island of Saipan, in the
U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands.
In her struggle to unionize workers, she was
forced to leave the island and is now
working to educate Americans about inhumane factory
conditions occurring on U.S. soil.
 
Carmencita Abad, who prefers to be called "Chie," spent six
long years as a garment worker on the Pacific island of
Saipan, in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Marianas. During
that time, she frequently worked 14-hour shifts in
sweatshop conditions in order to meet arbitrary
production quotas. Abad worked for the Sako
Corporation, which makes clothes for the Gap, among
other major U.S. retailers.
 
After four years, Abad attempted to organize Saipan's first
garment worker union. When the factory management learned
of her organizing efforts, managers began an intense campaign against
the formation of a union. They threatened employees that
they would shut down the plant and, in general, intimidated workers,
frightening them from supporting the union. The eventual
union-certifying election was lost by only five votes.
 
As a result of her attempts to organize workers at the
Sako factory, Abad's year-long work contract was not
renewed for the first time in five years. Rather than
return to her home in the Philippines, she chose to come
to the US in order to expose the harsh reality of Saipan
to the American people and government. Abad now serves
as a spokeswoman for the workers of Saipan's garment
industry as she works with several US organizations
on a lawsuit that hopes to improve living and
working conditions on the island.
 
Abad believes that educating the American public
is of central importance if the situation in Saipan
is to ever change. She cites the low wages and
poor living and working conditions as the areas
which require the greatest improvement. Abad
believes that unionizing is of vital importance
to the garment workers of Saipan.
 
 
LINKS
 
Global Exchange
A non-profit research, education, and
action center dedicated to promoting people-to-people
ties around the world. Since our founding in 1988, we
have been striving to increase global awareness among
the US public while building international partnerships
around the world.
Chie Abad's e-mail at Global Exchange
 
World Bank Boycott
An international grassroots
campaign that is building moral, political, and financial
pressure on the World Bank. The World Bank raises most of
its funds by issuing bonds. Ordinary people, through their
pension funds, labor unions, churches, municipalities
(such as Milwaukee), and universities are exerting pressure
for change on the World Bank by refusing to buy its bonds.
 
Workers' Rights Consortium
A non-profit organization created by college and university
administrations, students and labor rights experts. The WRC's
purpose is to assist in the enforcement of manufacturing Codes of Conduct
adopted by colleges and universities; these Codes are designed to ensure that
factories producing clothing and other goods bearing college and university
names respect the basic rights of workers. There are more than 100 colleges
and universities affiliated with the WRC.
 
Additional web resources:
 
World Bank
 
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
 
World Trade Organization (WTO)