MayDay! MayDay! Labour Day!

2014 May Day Rally

 

Mayday, Mayday! Labor activists come together in solidarity to honor labor and workers all around the world every May 1, except in the United States that is. 

I noticed that the media didn't really mention any May Day rallies that were held on May 1 2014 around the United States. Most of the coverage if any, usually centers around more violent demonstrations than the peaceful ones. Let's face it, in the immortal words of Megadeth lead singer Dave Mustain, "Peace sells but who's buying" (Yes I admit I'm an 80's metal head). So with that said I thought I would try to separate the wheat from the chaff and talk a bit about the origins of May Day. 

Labor Day marks the end of summer and back to school, but doesn't truly honor the American labor movement or the American worker. In the United States, we typically honor the American worker on Monday, September 1 with a back-to-school sale from a big box retail establishment. (I really can't think of a better way to honor someone's hard work other than putting it on sale for 10- 15% off regular prices for 12 hours only. But that is besides the point, I digress!) 

For those of you who don't know, in many countries "Labor Day" is reminiscent of International Worker's Day which falls on May 1. This day, ironically celebrates the working class - or as Larry the Cable Guy might say, "The people who know how to get 'er done."  

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rinse & Repeat.

 

earth hour, continue earth hour past 60 minutes, use your power, earthhour.org

Today more than ever, people are becoming more socially aware of how the products that we use every day are produced and manufactured; however you should also be aware of the environmental impacts as well.

"Greening" the Promotional Product Industry

At Ethix, we continually strive to expand our promotional product offering to include as many environmentally friendly promotional products as they become more readily available and manufactured in the United States of America.

Eco and green products are now becoming mainstream as opposed to the exception.

We will always advocate for conscious consumption and ethical consumerism. Our goal is to help educate consumers and manufactures about the benefits of manufacturing and purchasing products made by union workers and in the United States of America. We want you to know what you're purchasing and how it was produced so that you can make the most educated decision possible.

Did you know that you can save the planet while still getting your message out? Here are a few ideas to consider:

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Made in USA: Fakers and Frauds

 

Don't Fall For It! Get Only Genuine USA Made Promotional Products!

Unfortunately there are those in our industry looking to cash in on unsuspecting individuals in the market for American made promotional items. With a simple slight of hand - presto! - their imported silicone wristbands can be confused with those made in the USA as they are devoid of country of origin signifiers. 

We've worked with individuals looking to recover from a faux pas as their last order with another company turned out to use imports. We love new Ethix clients, we just feel bad when we know someone else from Custom Chotskies Inc. tried to sell them imprinted promotional merchandise that was NOT genuinely made and printed in the United States.

Find Authentic USA and Union Made Promotions

With the Made in USA movement continuing to build momentum (as it should!) there is an increased demand for American Made custom products and apparel. This growing demand also makes room for those looking to turn a unscrupulous profit off trusting individuals and organizations.

Blank products are stripped of their tags, stickers are removed, fake union bugs are added to screens, and stories are concocted for the inquisitive. We've seen this fraudulent behavior in print shops, other distributors, and from clients that came to Ethix after being "had" by one or the other.

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Be Mine! Organizations We Love (But Mostly Admire)

 

A Valentine Message to Our Tribe

This is our love letter to the organizations and individuals that work tirelessly to fight for human rights and dignity in domestic and international supply chains. Our hats are off to you! 

Better let my heart be without words, than my words without heart.

- John Bunyan

Our team of Merchant Adventurers lives by Bunyan's statement. We believe the work that we do, and the jobs that we support, makes a measurable and significant impact on the lives of workers and their families.

Our work, in conjunction with that of sweat free, labor, and eco-minded movements, directly aids in creating a positive shift in the United States (and across the globe) for worker rights.

Ethics and Missions We Align With

We offer an ever expanding list on our site of organizations dedicated to refining ethical standards. We work with these organizations on orders, awareness raising, and organizing for change for factory laborers and the garment industry. 

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Minimum Wage and Economic Opportunities, or Why We Sell USA and Union Made

 

minimum wage holding back workers, sweeping away economic stability, throwing away savings

Support a Living Wage to Further Economic Opportunity

At Ethix, together with our clients, we believe in using our purchasing power to support the best possible working conditions for factory workers (in the promotional products industry and beyond!).

One project we're very proud to be a part of is the first ever Union Made, living wage garment factory in Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic:

Alta Gracia pays its workers enough to allow them to meet basic needs for themselves and their families, including nutritious food, drinkable water, housing and energy, clothing, health care, transportation, education and childcare, as well as modest funds for savings.

Receiving a wage that not only considers the depth of your work, but also considers your future is powerful. Wages that allow for savings, ownership, and self care are a dream for workers earning a minimum wage.

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Join Ethix and Help to Change the World One Project at a Time

 

We're Hiring! Know Anyone Who Should Join Our Team?

We are growing quickly and are looking forward to welcoming the right people to join our team. We are looking for passionate people to live out our values by supporting our expansion. Do you know anyone who would make a SUPER merchant adventurer? Let them know they should apply today! 

Here are the job descriptions for the positions we are looking to fill.

No mystery...just click the link above to bring you straight to our Ethix Careers page and read more about each open position. Please share widely with your networks.

Working in the Ethix Office (Massachusetts)

What's it like to work at a socially responsible company? Here are some things I love about our office: 

  • We are located in an old New England mill- that was originally home to Fruit of the Loom 200 years ago!
  • Being in a mill means there's a great little pond and park across the street
  • Park your car steps away from the building- super convenient in the winter!
  • Stay fueled with tasty Dean's Beans fair trade coffee from our Keurig or Yerba Mate for the tea drinkers!
  • We have a substantial stockpile of T-shirts, in case someone ever needs one
  • Ruth, Melissa, Jill, Terri, and Kevin all have huge hearts and care a ton about their work and our mission (see our team)
  • Daniel, who is our "West Coast" office, shares the above characteristics, though we don't get to see him every day (just once a year for our annual company retreat)
  • Sometimes Kevin makes super tasty gluten free chocolate cookies in the toaster oven for everyone (at our Sutton office...sorry Daniel!)
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10 Highlights of 2013: Ethix Ventures, The Labor Movement, and Our Tribe

 

Reflecting on the Past Year

We work hard year-round to provide orders to factories and manufacturers that operate most ethically in producing USA and Union Made goods. Year-end always brings a little sentimentality but it also is a time to reflect on what the year has brought as well as the opportunities ahead in the future. We'd like to take a quick break at this special time of year to share with our readers some great moments we're thankful for in 2013.

What is Ethix Thankful For?

It has been a fast-paced year- one which has revealed insight, delivered growth (within our company and the movement), and provided recognition for the work we do in serving our customers. 

We appreciated the time to be able to gather our offices together and have our staff meet together (outside of the office buzz) and strategize for the future. We enjoyed each other's company so much we memorialized our time together with a group photo session! Hope you like our team photo here showing how happy we were together, and how many of us favor V-neck shirts (now that we look at this picture!). Below are 10 more of the most meaningful "events", reports, and newsworthy moments of 2013. 

Please see our high-level overview of the past year complete with summary snippets and links to read more:

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WRC Exposes Apparel Brands Stealing from the (Working) Poor

 

 
   
     

“Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry”

Last week the WRC released a report on the working conditions and prevalent wage theft in the garment industry on the island nation of Haiti. These findings, interviews, and analyses were completed with workers at factories in the Caracol Industrial Park outside of Cap-Haitien on the northern coast of Haiti. This report, titled "Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry," has compelling statistics that we think anyone considering a purchase of Haitian Made products should take to heart. (You will not find any Anvil, Gildan, or Hanes products on our site.)

*Note: "Average wages are even lower at the new Caracol Industrial Park despite the fact that the project was heavily subsidized by the United States government with earthquake recovery aid as a means of providing Haitian workers with a path out of poverty." 

The Current Minimum Wage: 
"Law No. CL-09-2009-010 establishes a two-tier minimum wage for Haiti’s export sector. Set their production quotas or piece rates so that workers are able to earn a 300 HTG minimum wage in eight hours of work. In addition there is a lower tier or wage rate, of 200 HTG per day, which applies to those piece rate workers who are in training or in transition to new positions and non-piece rate workers." 
"[...]the majority of Haitian garment workers are being denied nearly a third of the wages they are legally due as a result of the factories’ theft of their income. Through in-depth interviews with garment workers and review of pay records, the WRC has determined that garment workers in Port-au-Prince, where more than 90% of the country’s garment factories are located, are paid, on average, 32% less than what they are owed under the country’s minimum wage and overtime laws."

Regarding Gildan Activewear and Hanesbrand

"The factories included in this study manufacture garments for a broad range of brands and retailers that are representative of the major North American apparel firms sourcing from Haiti ‒ top t-shirt manufacturers like Gildan and Hanes, leading retailers like Gap and Walmart, makers of employee work uniforms, and companies that are apparel licensees of major U.S. universities and colleges."[...] "The Premium and Genesis factories are suppliers to Gildan, the Canadian apparel firm that is the world’s largest manufacturer of t-shirts, and have been publicly disclosed as suppliers of apparel licensed by U.S. universities and colleges[...] GMC is a factory that produces for the U.S. apparel company, HanesBrands Inc., another top t-shirt manufacturer."

Genesis and Premium are two of the factories audited and included in this most recent WRC report: 

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Ethix is a Social Butterfly! Connect with Us.

 

We'd like to be social with you

Follow us, add us to circles, share our content and our mission. We'd love to start a conversation with you, so connect with us on the web. We're on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, as well as mobile on Instagram!

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Senate Honors Ethix Merch for Ethically Made Promotions

 

Official Citation issued to Ethix Ventures, Inc. by the Massachusetts Senate

Massachusetts Senator Richard T. Moore visited our Sutton office to issue our team of Merchant Adventurers with an official citation. Don't worry, it was the pleasant kind of citation!

Senator Moore had recently read about our company’s work in promoting ethically made merchandise, and wanted to recognize our efforts by presenting our staff with a Senate Citation. Our citation was issued in recognition of our "efforts to set high industry standards and promoting ethically made merchandise" by selling sweatshop-free merchandise.

Our "Cap'n" Kevin O'Brien receiving the citation from Senator Richard T. Moore. A close up of our official citation from the Massachusetts State Senate.

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