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HANDOUT 1 Selected Wage Data for Apparel and Footwear Workers

The footwear and apparel industries are some of the low-wage manufacturing industries that have been dramatically affected by the changing patterns of global sourcing and production. The term "living wage" is often used as a synonym for a "fair and decent" level of income that would enable workers to meet their "basic needs." However, there is little agreement on the definition of what exactly constitute "basic needs" or on a methodology to determine the income necessary to meet such needs. While there have been a number of declarations and conventions by regional and international bodies concerning the right of workers to receive an adequate wage, most do not provide a precise definition of how it should be determined. For some, "basic needs" mean mere physical subsistence. For others, "basic needs" include a nutritious diet, safe drinking water, suitable housing, energy, transportation, clothing, health care, child care, education, savings for long term purchases and emergencies, and some discretionary income.

Country

Poverty Threshold

(Converted to US $)

Minimum Wage in Apparel & Footwear Sector (Converted to US $)

Prevailing (Average) Wage in Apparel & Footwear Sector (Converted to US $)

Bangladesh

11.32/mo

12.35-76/mo

36.51-42.51/mo

China

20.50-26.50/mo

12.39/mo

114.67-190.97/mo

Guatemala

11.07/day

3.16/day

6.11/day

Thailand

22.00/mo

93.37-109.01/mo

106.08/mo

United States

16,655/yr(family of 4)

13,000/yr

17,040-17,860

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