Monday, June 17, 2013

Labor-friendly shopping made easy

On this very day 110 years ago, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones led a rally in Philadelphia for children mutilated in the state's textile mills. Three weeks later the 73-year-old would lead a march to New York City to ask President Theodore Roosevelt to help improve working conditions for the children
Sadly, those same conditions still exist for children, teens, and adults across the United States and worldwide.

So it's more important than ever to buy products made with ethical labor standards.

In the beginning of the union movement in America, workers attached labels to union-made goods to demonstrate the quality of the good. Today, specific websites and apps can do much the same.

Need a recipe? Look no further than this Pinterest account by UnionPlus that catalogues goods that taste good – and treat workers well too. From Frozen Raspberry and Cream Squares to Bacon Strip Pancakes, this union strong account has food for all workers.

From Baldwin Pianos to the Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Game (made by UFCW Local 224), Local 411 has one of the largest databases of union-made goods ready for purchase anywhere – as well as a searchable map of union grocery stores, car washes, restaurants, and other businesses in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Their blog notes:
Our goal at Labor 411 is to identify as many union-made products and services for you, the consumer. I rarely find any product whatsoever with a literal union label or stamp on it these days and a big part of why we exist as a service is because of this very inconvenience.
Another convenient option is Good Guide, a free website database of ingredients that rate the labor, environmental, and safety standards of each product and company. Ratings are scored 1-10 in Health, Environment and Society, with subcategories for each topic that include considerations about worker treatment and human health impact. San Francisco Gate writes:
From diapers to air fresheners, cereal bars to cell phones, GoodGuide's scientists and researchers comb through the product's ingredients to determine its health and safety. They also scrutinize its impact on the environment and society, looking at whether the product is recyclable, whether it was tested on animals and how the company treats its workers.
Accompanying IPhone and Android apps allow you to scan a product’s barcode while actually in the grocery store.

Whatever method you use to pick your shopping list, shopping labor-friendly has never been easier.