The Cost of A Five Dollar Dress

From the Frances Perkins Center Newsletter

“If your clothes budget has been cut down and you buy bargain dresses, it is only fair you should know who pays part of your bill – the women who made the dress.”
As Frances Perkins noted in her February 1933 essay, The Cost of a Five-Dollar Dress, cheap clothes come at the cost of fair working conditions. After two recent tragedies in Bangladeshi textile factories, companies, consumers, and the local government may finally be mobilizing to change. Reforms currently being considered include allowing unions to organize and raising the minimum wage, currently at only $38 a month.

We encourage people to remember Perkins’ words: “In our industrial civilization, legislation to safeguard the health of the worker not only against excessive hours of work but also against a less-than-subsistence wage is socially necessary. It is important to the community, as well as to the employee, that men and women be protected against ‘starvation wages.'”

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