The Made in USA label doesn’t always mean made under fair and legal labor conditions.
The Labor and Workforce Development Agency announced that Economic Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) investigators issued 42 citations for labor law violations with fines totaling $457,000 in a recent sweep of 22 garment manufacturers in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The coalition said its enforcement actions uncovered serious violations in the industry that included failure to register, pay the minimum wage, maintain worker’s comp insurance, pay overtime, provide itemized deductions to employees, and keep records and post labor notices as mandated by law. In addition, clothing was confiscated at six locations.
“Many of these garment manufacturers failed to comply with the law as we found multiple labor law violations at many locations,” said EEEC Director David Dorame. “Their illegal actions cannot be allowed to continue. By targeting enforcement against these illegal operators, we help level the playing field for law abiding businesses.”
I first learned about the industry in LA at the 2006 Sweat-Free conference in Minnesota. Making below minimum wage in LA is a level of poverty not so different from being paid $50 per month in Cambodia. An economist should compare the two.
The garments may not be exported, but the people who make them are often imported from China, Vietnam, Mexico, etc. Which is better, shipping products around the world or people?
Not all factories in LA are guilty of cutting corners. American Apparel, the largest US-based garment manufacturer, is widely praised for its good pay and benefits, so much in fact, that there is a year long waiting list to get a manufacturing job there.