Quietly growing like a cancer on the distant northern fringes of Portland, locally-owned Columbia Sportswear has made good in the sweatshop-manufactured sporting-goods distribution business. Huge profits and a bright future have not trickled down to even their American workers, who labor on the banks of the Columbia River much as if they were sweatshop workers themselves. Meanwhile, the company has been very careful to keep the roots of their successful business model out of the press, and have generally avoided any association with the word "sweatshop".
When I replied to a job announcement posted on the progressive-friendly Craig's List internet bulletin board, I was pretty desperate for work of any kind. Working in a warehouse didn't sound half bad, compared to developing global strategy for Exxon-Mobil or deciding where to drop the bombs in the current so-called "War on Terror", and I've known people who have worked in similar places as an agreeable way to pass the lulls in between more desirable jobs. When I showed up for an interview, I felt a little deceived...