Don’t sweat it, clothing for peace

By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Lucky Liyange

Peace in the Middle East is only one of the goals of ambitious businessman Adam Neiman, the founder of the company behind No Sweat Apparel. The company sells everything from shirts and yoga pants to athletic and casual clothing.
His small Boston-based company has been providing jobs to workers in Bethlehem. Neiman hopes to promote peace by giving some of the many unemployed Palestinians jobs with fair wages.
He states that one of the biggest problems in the Middle East is that “young, Palestinian men have guns and no jobs.
The Jewish entrepreneur hopes to combat terrorism by hiring unionized Palestinians. Both Israeli government officials and the Palestinian Authority have praised and assisted Neiman’s work, believing he will help jumpstart the depressed Palestinian textile industry.
Indeed, one of the only things that all parties involved in the recent Middle Eastern peace talks agreed upon was the need for more private sector jobs and foreign direct investment in the West Bank.
Hoping not only to spread awareness but also to positively impact the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Neiman aims to spark a humanitarian revolution in the business sector. For Neiman, No Sweat is about more than just cool looks: it is also about workers’ rights and comfort. No Sweat clothing is union-made and sweatshop free.
Neiman provides complete health coverage to most of his workers while still maximizing profits. He gives paid maternity leaves, compensation for transportation, and, in largely Muslim countries, a Ramadan bonus.
Despite these expenses, and with the addition of their online store at www.NoSweatShop.net, the sales in 2003 jumped to an overwhelming 500 percent. Neiman’s company expanded with sales to 49 states, 22 countries, and six continents.
He has asked for Nike, notorious for its sweatshops, to follow in his footsteps. “Just do it. We did, he told Nike CEO Phillip Knight.
Neiman argues that depriving workers of basic human comforts is not economically efficient.
“It’s not just bad for their souls, it’s bad for their pockets, he said.
He has shown that it is indeed possible for a business to be successful and provide reasonable wages and comfortable working conditions, and hopes that big-name companies will learn from his recent success.
No Sweat Apparel aims to encourage consumers to buy clothing that does not come from sweatshop labor.

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