National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS)

Award Recipients - 1999

Trinh Duong, Marie Koo, Virginia Yu, Betty Yu, John Antush, Nelson Mar, Cofounders

Trinh Duong, Marie Koo, Virginia Yu, Betty Yu, John Antush, Nelson Mar founded the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS) in 1996 as a membership organization open to all working people.  They believe that the 40-hour work week at a living wage is a basic human right. 
NMASS has launched campaigns against illegal, abusive and racist practices in several industries.  When Chinese construction workers were passed over in favor of Whites at a New York University dormitory site, NMASS mobilized and called for the university to end racism at its work sites.  NMASS joined garment workers to demand that Street Beat Sportswear and Sears Roebuck take responsibility for workweeks that ran as long as 137 hours.  They also organized against abusive practices at shops where workers were sewing clothing for the Kathie Lee collection, rallied outside her television show and held a press conference; eventually the shop closed but reopened under another name.  The Ain’t I a Woman? Campaign began when Latina and Chinese factory workers making Donna Karan clothing spoke out against abusive conditions.  This fight has united white-collar professional women and garment workers around the unequal conditions that women face both in the workplace and in the home.  NMASS campaigns expose how the sweatshop system injures all workers, from meat packers and security guards to office workers and health care attendants.

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