Our shoe manufacturer pays above market wages and factory workers have a good working environment.
As a bonus, they’re in the midst of getting certified for being a corporation that follows social responsibility standards. This includes requirements such as: social security benefits, overtime pay, holiday minimums, safety and hygiene guarantees, and of course no forced/minor labor.
Anecdotally, during my visits, the mood here was noticeably happier than the Wisconsin factory I last worked with. We’ve never seen miserable-looking factory workers in any of our visits in the past 4 years of working with them. We do multiple walkthroughs of the factories during our visits and they’ve always looked and felt safe as well.
We think this is because the owner, Miguel, deliberately tries to do the right thing and treat his employees/partners well.
Finally, there’s also a lot of job security for factory workers in Mexico. You must have just cause to fire someone in Mexico, or else you owe them a minimum of 3 months severance pay. Here in the US, employment is “at will”, so you can be fired for no reason at all.