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UNITE HERE criticizes apparel industry over sweatshop scandal
25
Jul '08
UNITE HERE calls upon the apparel industry to recognize that their corporate social responsibility programs are failing to solve the systemic problem of sweatshops among their contractors.

Yesterday, the New York State Department of Labor cited an apparel contractor for over $5 million dollars in unpaid wages, showing that the sweatshop system continues unabated.

"This latest investigation shows that horrible sweatshop working conditions are still present in New York City and that the apparel industry is still not taking this issue seriously," said Bruce Raynor, General President of UNITE HERE, the apparel and textile workers union.

"The major apparel brands that were using this factory all have social responsibility systems that have failed to detect this major sweatshop operation."

The factory that was recently cited, Jin Shun in Long Island City, NY, has operated under a number of different names, and was found to have underpaid more than 100 workers over several years.

The Department of Labor stated that the contractor kept false records and coached its workers to lie to inspectors. The investigation also revealed that workers routinely worked twelve-hour days, six to seven days-a-week.

UNITE HERE calls upon the apparel industry to recognize that sweatshops will continue to exist as long as the major apparel brands pressure their contractors relentlessly for the lowest prices and unless workers are a central part of the solution.

"Workers should have the right to organize unions to fight for better working conditions, and the major apparel brands and contractors should respect this," said Raynor.

UNITE HERE


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