Disney's 7-Cent Pajamas
"Mickey Mouse," "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Pochahontas" -- all of these fantasies and more are the product of Walt Disney Inc., delighting millions of children.Unless you live in Haiti and work at one of the sweatshops licensed by Disney to make both "Pocohontas" pajamas and little "Mickey Mouse" pajamas for American children. For the Haitian women who sew these garments, Disney is a nightmare.Ninety-nine percent of the people of Haiti live in abject, grinding poverty, and companies like Disney profit from their poverty, from these people's desperation to have any kind of job. Specifically, Disney is paying these women seven cents to make a pair of pajamas that see at Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney for twelve bucks. Seven cents.This figures out to less than half the legal minimum wage in Haiti -- a minimum wage so minimal that it cannot begin to provide the barest needs for a family. We're talking about wage slavery. Plus, the women get no benefit, are forced to work endless hours in filthy conditions and often are sexually abused by supervisors. "When you wish upon a star..."Disney makes about two BILLION a year in profits. Its chief Mousketeer, Michael Eisner, is paid up to $78,000 an hour. Do Eisner and Disney actually need to squeeze these women so hard? What if Eisner were to double, no triple, no quadruple the miserable seven cents he pays them to sew a $12 pair of pajamas? This would still leave $11.72 for him and the other profiteers to split.Disney, Wal-Mart and the rest say that all you care about is getting cheap pajamas, not about who makes them. If you care about more, contact the National Labor Committee to find out what you can do about it: 212/242-0070.