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So-called 'Obama Jacket' produced in sweatshops
08
Jan '10
The Weatherproof Garment Company has mounted a huge billboard on 7th Avenue in New York City's Times Square advertising the so-called "Obama Jacket." A Weatherproof jacket exactly like the one advertised retails for $250 in Macy's and is currently on sale for half price. The Weatherproof jacket was sewn in Vietnam by workers afforded few human and worker rights protections and paid just 27 cents an hour.

The Weatherproof Garment Company has a history of sweatshop production, including having made jackets in Burma, which remains under military dictatorship. Currently it appears that most Weatherproof garments are made in China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Cambodian garment workers earn just 24 cents an hour and $11.52 a week. In Bangladesh, garment workers earn as little as 11 ½ to 17 cents an hour. In the Shanghai area on China's eastern coastline, where Weatherproof jackets are sewn, conditions and wages are somewhat better than they are in the south of China. Near Shanghai, workers sewing Weatherproof jackets could be earning a minimum wage of 86 to 94 cents an hour.

Shipping records show Weatherproof leather jackets made in China entering the U.S. with a total production cost of $39.28 per leather jacket, which then retails in Macy's for $395 to $450. This means that Weatherproof's mark-up on its leather jackets is anywhere from 900 to 1048 percent!

In order to hide their production sites from independent inspection, Weatherproof refuses to publicly release the names and addresses of the offshore factories they use to make their garments. At this point, the NLC has been able to track just two specific factories:

* Rugao Yiren Dress Co. Ltd.
South End of the Station
Linzi Town, Rugao City
Jiangzu Province, China
(Produces Weatherproof men's jackets)

* San Lei Fung Garment and Woolen Knitting Factory Ltd.
No. 542 Street 02,
Sangkat Chail Angrele
Meinchey District, Cambodia
(Produces Weatherproof sweaters)

National Labor Committee

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