It’s turned out to be a test of principles, what progressive CafePress shopowners do when they are confronted with the knowledge that only a few of the shirts sold through CafePress are guaranteed made in the USA, with no sweatshop labor. Some people, like Jody May-Chang, editor of PrideDEPOT, rise to the occasion. They do the right thing, and restrict the shirts that they sell through CafePress to only those shirts that are made in the United States without sweatshop labor outsourcing, by American Apparel.
Then there are the others, like Randi Rhodes.
I sent the following message to the Randi Rhodes show on Air America nine days ago:
I’m writing about your Randi Swag, sold through CafePress. Some of the shirts are made by companies using outsourced labor overseas, and have a history of using sweatshop labor. CafePress refuses to guarantee that those shirts are sweatshop-free. Some other shirts, like the fitted t-shirt, the raglan, the hoodie and the organic cotton t-shirt, are made in the USA, sweatshop free, by American Apparel.
At IrregularTimes.com, we sell through CafePress as well, but we’ve decided only to put our designs on the shirts made by American Apparel. We do that because we think it’s the right thing to do, but also because we think it makes a progressive message more powerful when it’s on a relatively progressively-made shirt. On the other hand, it undermines a progressive message when people see that it’s on a shirt made by companies that use sweatshop labor.
I know from listening to your show that you’re a big supporter of working families here in the USA. I’m hoping that you’ll join us in revising the Randi Swag shop on CafePress to more accurately reflect your values, and not sell the shirts that are made by outsourced labor in questionable conditions. I know that it’s a bit of work to make the revisions, but I think it would help to make your message more compelling, and to make the shirts more attractive to your audience.
I have yet to receive a response. Checking the Randi Rhodes CafePress shop, not a single shirt made by companies that use sweatshop labor has been removed from the catalog.
The people at the Randi Rhodes show know that they’re selling shirts made by companies that have a long history of using sweatshop labor, and corporate outsourcing of jobs that would otherwise go to American workers. They’re choosing not to do anything about it. I hope that changes soon.
I don’t know if Randi Rhodes personally knows about what’s being sold in her name. I’d like to think that if she did know, she would throw a fit like the ones that she throws on the air, and direct someone to remove the sweaty stain on her reputation.