A New Source for Ethically Produced Merchandise (Video Release)

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In partnership with Ethix Ventures, WorX has produced a new documentary-style video sharing the story of the garment industry, globalization and the movement against sweatshops in favor of ethical sourcing. This video is launching in the midst of two events that draw co-op members, developers and people from the labor movement across the country here in Massachusetts - the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy and the Association for Cooperative Educators Conference.

WorX Printing Cooperative, Rosie the Riveter, Union Strong
What we’ve witnessed in the United States is a resurgence of people wanting to know how their clothing and products are made, particularly knowing that they were made with good conscience and by people who are being treated well.

Kevin O’Brien got his start in the mainstream of the American apparel industry in the early 1990’s just as the last good manufacturing jobs were moving offshore. He facilitated some of that “off-shoring” for New York City based designers and manufacturers who had largely turned the page on USA production. What he saw on the ground in far off countries where his work took him made him stop short. He decided that he could not continue to be part of a process that placed so little value on the contribution of workers and that seemed indifferent about the loss of American jobs.

Shortly after taking his leave from the mainstream Kevin learned of an ambitious effort by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s and Pierre Ferrari of the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors to prove that people-based, ethical apparel production was possible under a brand name called SweatX, a brand that explicitly aimed to eliminate sweatshops. He joined the SweatX effort mid-way through its journey to take on huge challenges of serving as a “high-road”, “high wage” alternative in an industry headed elsewhere. The SweatX brand factory in Los Angeles ultimately proved unsuccessful but O’Brien refused to let the dream of SweatX die. With help from Pierre Ferrari and Christopher Mackin in 2006 he launched a general ethical merchandise distribution platform, Ethix Ventures. In 2014 he extended these efforts back into actual production by launching WorX Printing Co-op in Sutton, MA: a unionized, employee-owned company adding momentum to the growing cooperative movement.

“What we’ve witnessed in the United States is a resurgence of people wanting to know how their clothing and products are made, particularly knowing that they were made with good conscience and by people who are being treated well,” says Kevin O’Brien, Co-Founder of WorX. The WorX Printing Co-op gives people an ethical alternative to sweatshop-made and printed textile products, including custom printed T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bags and more.

In partnership with Ethix Ventures, WorX has produced a new documentary-style video sharing the story of the garment industry, globalization and the movement against sweatshops in favor of ethical sourcing. This video is launching in the midst of two events that draw co-op members, developers and people from the labor movement across the country here in Massachusetts - the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy and the Association for Cooperative Educators Conference.

The technology WorX has invested in allows the co-op to print direct-to-garment, creating printed T-shirts and products with as many colors as you can imagine in a quick turnaround time frame. The co-op uses only non-toxic inks that are safe for you, your family, the environment and your business.

The labor model WorX uses is a combined Mondragon Worker Cooperative model in conjunction with United Steelworkers. The video and more information can be found at WorX Printing Cooperative.

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Kevin O'Brien, Founder
WorX Printing Cooperative
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