VIDEO: Tis the Season to Get Trampled

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving  when frenzied holiday shoppers hit the malls and super stores, is fast approaching as news about major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving circulates, forcing thousands of employees to work instead of spending time with their families.

As I write this, the petition over Walmart opening on Thanksgiving has garnered more than 30,000 Signatures (and counting!). Not to mention, Walmart workers across the US calling for a strike in an effort to end the retaliation against workers who speak out for their rights.

Our friends from The Story of Stuff released this new one-minute video parodying Black Friday, which features footage of shoppers behaving badly set to a classic holiday tune. It’s a wee bit disturbing, but worth a watch!

The Story of Stuff folks encourage viewers to “Choose Family over Frenzy.” That sounds a lot more pleasant to me! Visit their website to support striking Walmart workers and to share your mall-free holiday plans.

Here’s what Chie Abad, Global Exchange’s Sweatshop Policy Analyst (and former sweatshop-worker) wants shoppers to think about this Black Friday:

I want shoppers to be conscientious about what products they buy and think about how those products were made, where they were made, and who made them. I want people to consider the working conditions of workers who make the products and sell the products. Companies should be accountable for the working conditions of its workers.

One of the Global Exchange Gift Membership packages

Your Alternative Gift Choice to Avoid Black Friday

Instead of buying mass-produced products from big-box stores this holiday season, consider avoiding the mayhem by giving the gift of Global Exchange membership to folks on your gift list. It’s the same price as a regular annual Global Exchange membership, but it comes with extra Fair Trade gifts!

There are six membership packages to choose from, including “Support a Farmer” and “Stand for Human Rights.” You pick the gift and Global Exchange takes care of the rest. Each gift membership includes:

  • One-Year Membership to Global Exchange;
  • Special Gift Certificate;
  • Fair Trade Gift(s) that represent Global Exchange’s work towards a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

To see what Fair Trade gifts are included in each package, check them out online here.


Ask Chie Abad to speak to your school or church about how you can create a Sweat-free community. Invite her at

From Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA — the West Coast has been making big strides in the Fair Trade and Sweatfree movements in the last few weeks, so a few congratulations are in order.

Congratulations to the Seattle SweatFree Community for their tireless work to get Seattle to join nine states, 40 cities, and 118 school districts with sweatfree policies. According to SweatFree Seattle, the new policy

“requires sweat-free labor standards and a Code of Conduct for all bidders on City uniform contracts and makes a commitment to protections against slave labor, forced labor, forced overtime, excessive hours, child labor, below-poverty wages, discrimination, harassment, and other types of unfair labor practices.”

Wondering if there is a sweatfree campaign in your community? Find out now.

As someone born in San Diego as well as a graduate of the UC system, I would like to congratulate the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) who just recently adopted what is said to the be the “strongest Fair Trade policy in the United States.” For the past five years, student advocates have been campaigning to get the University to make a commitment to promote Fair Trade products throughout the campus. According to the new policy, all future food vendor contracts at UCSD are “mandated to require 100% Fair Trade Coffee, Fair Trade Tea and Fair Trade Sugar at all locations on campus.”

According to Student Sustainability Collective (SSC) Director of Food Policy, Jared Muscat,

“Fair Trade is an important part in the category of food sustainability and to have this policy makes the numbers our university strive for not only look realistic, but possible to push further.”

It looks like the SSC also has their sights set on pushing their Fair Trade University campaign to not only be UC-wide, but also to be a national one.

Interested in turning your school into a Fair Trade one? Let the United Students for Fair Trade be your guide.

Gooo Fair Traaaade!

A final congratulations goes out to my fellow Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition buddies in Berkeley as they successfully became the 19th Fair Trade Town just yesterday.

The Fair Trade Berkeley steering committee had been working with the City Manager’s office to craft a “Best-in-Class” Fair Trade Town Resolution and City Ordinance. According to the resolution, the city would

“commit to purchasing fair trade products when they’re readily available, city-standard compliant, and competitively priced.”

The city would also be part of ongoing Fair Trade education efforts and take an active role in weighing in on Fair Trade issues.

In the first Berkeley City Council meeting where the Fair Trade Berkeley steering committee presented the resolution, Global Exchange’s own Carolyn Gravely at the GX Fair Trade Berkeley Store prepared testimony to the City Council on Berkeley’s strong interest in being a Fair Trade Town. In typical Bay Area fashion, a celebration will be taking place in August to mark this tremendous victory.

Feeling inspired? Turn your town into the next Fair Trade Town.

Congratulations to the all the Fair Traders and SweatFree Communities out there for pushing the movements even further!