But at the recent All Star Game in Pittsburgh, something started to give. Zirin and Tyner explain:

“The Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance (PASCA) held a spirited rally outside Tuesday’s game at PNC Park followed by a march to Roberto Clemente Bridge. The procession was a celebration of something antisweatshop activists had never been able to claim with Major League Baseball: real progress….

A citywide debate was ignited when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recognized PASCA’s work in a recent editorial that asked, ‘Would you mind if that Pittsburgh Pirates shirt you bought last week was sewn by a fourteen-year-old girl in Bangladesh during her twelfth hour of labor in a factory that pays her in pocket change?’ …

All of this wrangling served to keep the issue in the public eye. On the morning of the big game, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution urging ‘companies and organizations that…have benefited from the continuous support of this city…to behave in a way…consistent with the morals and values of the people who provided them with the opportunity to succeed.’

Baseball finally blinked. Larry Silverman, VP and general counsel for the Pittsburgh Pirates, wrote to PASCA promising to review the information and give it ‘proper attention and consideration…once the All-Star Game has concluded.’ …

While the Pirates didn’t go so far as to sign a pledge to develop and promote ‘sweat-free procurement and licensing standards,’ the confrontation with PASCA opens the door for Major League Baseball to follow the lead of colleges and universities that have agreed to adopt codes of conduct and independent monitoring of working conditions in factories producing their apparel….

Antisweatshop activists can claim some real progress as a social movement. Claeson described it as ‘potentially a breakthrough in the antisweatshop movement’ because the group is shifting its impact from campus to the major leagues. Some of PASCA’s key members are alums of the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).”…


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