Dec 19 2012

LA Times: Feds say L.A. ‘sweatshop’ sweep finds widespread violations

Federal and state labor authorities Thursday announced the discovery of “widespread” labor violations by downtown garment manufacturers that help supply retailers like Aldo, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, among others.

During an August sweep of a building at 830 S. Hill St., the U.S. Department of Labor and the California Labor Standards Enforcement division found that 10 garment businesses paid workers an average of $6.50 an hour, significantly below the federal standard of $7.25 an hour and the state minimum of $8 an hour. Workers weren’t paid hourly but instead earned a small amount per garment sewn or cut.

Authorities also found evidence of falsified time cards, recordkeeping violations and a failure to pay overtime wages. And three of the businesses were not registered as garment contractors, authorities said.

“We are intent on making sure that sweatshop practices are eliminated so that consumers can proudly purchase garments made in L.A., honest companies can compete and garment workers can thrive,” California Labor Commissioner Julie Su said in a release.

The garments were being produced for 30 retailers nationwide, including Aldo, Burlington Coat Factory, Charlotte Russe, Dillard’s, Forever 21, Home Shopping Network, Urban Outfitters and West Seal.

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