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Guatemalan plant agrees to follow labor laws

09
Jul '07
A Guatemalan factory that makes some of Hispanic television personality Daisy Fuentes' clothing line for the Kohl's Corp. department store chain has agreed to make changes following allegations it was a sweatshop, a workers' rights group said Thursday.

The National Labor Committee issued a report on the Fribo clothing factory last month, saying workers told a related group that they are humiliated and forced to work unpaid overtime.

Kohl's pulled certain items from Fuentes' line from its stores and online marketer after learning of the allegations. P.A. Group LLC, the company that contracted the factory to make Fuentes' clothing, had said changes needed to be made before it would do business with it again.

After that, the factory in rural Santa Maria Cauque de Sacatepequez agreed to comply with labor laws, the NLC said. P.A. Group will renew its business with the factory and possibly add more once the changes are made, it said.

Fuentes' line of clothing, shoes and sleepwear is sold exclusively by Kohl's.

Kohl's, based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, had stressed that it does not oversee production. Kohl's spokeswoman Vicki Shamion said Thursday that the Fribo factory was not an approved facility but the company would consider it for future business if it came into compliance.

P.A. Group said it had nothing to add to its earlier comment that the allegations were a concern.

The NLC said the factory owner, a South Korean national, has agreed to weekly inspections by CEADEL, the Center for Studies and Support of Labor Development in Guatemala, which told NLC of the workers' complaints.


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