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19 Dec 2016

Jessie Kornberg, Bet Tzedek, on Los Angeles Times (USA)

In L.A.’s garment industry, ‘Made in the USA’ can mean being paid $3 an hour

...the U.S. Department of Labor released a bombshell report that might make you suspicious of clothing that’s “Made in the USA.” After a three-year comprehensive study, the Labor Department confirmed what workers’ rights advocates like me have long contended: Worker abuse and wage theft is rampant in the U.S. garment industry. The report revealed that 85% of garment industry employers studied were violating federal minimum wage and record-keeping laws. More than 660 investigations involving 5,158 workers over three years documented $8,098,988 in stolen wages...The idea that “Made in America” could mean made for $3 an hour might come as a shock in 2016...[Bet Tzedek legal nonprofit] have repeatedly sought Ross, TJ Maxx and Forever 21’s help in addressing wage violations committed by their suppliers — but they have chosen instead to fight us in court, withhold information about their suppliers, and do all they can to keep industry labor practices hidden They are unabashed by the latest Labor Department report. In response, they released statements saying they take the findings “seriously.” There was no condemnation of their contractors. No change in business practice...