(Dis)Assembling Rights of Women Workers Along the Global Assembly Line: Human Rights and the Garment Industry

31 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 383 (1996)

Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3516923

32 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2020

See all articles by Laura Ho

Laura Ho

Yale University - Law School

Catherine Powell

Fordham University School of Law

Leti Volpp

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Date Written: 1996

Abstract

The article examines the challenges garment workers in the U.S. face in asserting their rights in the global economy and investigates how transnational advocacy can be deployed to compensate for the inability of U.S. labor laws to respond to problems with international dimensions. Using a purely domestic U.S. legal framework, advocates can attack the problem of transnational corporations subcontracting in the U.S. Such efforts, however, will have limited effect because of the global nature of the garment industry. Most efforts to change the structure of the garment industry have occurred within the limitations of U.S. law, even while there has been a predominant failure of the U.S. legal system effectively to utilize a human rights framework. Women workers have formed the backbone of the U.S. garment industry throughout its history. The geographic location and racial composition of this workforce has varied as retailers and manufacturers have shifted location of production to lower their labor costs. During the 1800s and early 1900s, the industry was centered primarily in New York City with a large influx of White immigrants providing a vast supply of inexpensive labor.

Suggested Citation

Ho, Laura and Powell, Catherine and Volpp, Leti, (Dis)Assembling Rights of Women Workers Along the Global Assembly Line: Human Rights and the Garment Industry (1996). 31 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 383 (1996); Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3516923. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3516923

Laura Ho

Yale University - Law School

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Catherine Powell (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Leti Volpp

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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