One of the reasons I like fashion is it’s supposed to be pretty, creative, fun and over all very pleasant but sometimes the business of fashion is very very ugly. Too many people are always trying to get the most for the least amount of money and everyone else thinks they’re just good business people but really they’re just greedy. I always hope that what goes around comes around.
Sometimes a brand knows that their workers are being exploited and sometimes they don’t. It’s all about numbers; if you know your factory can make 150 000 garments per week with overtime but you are asking them for 200 000 it’s evident that some of those 50 000 garments will be outsourced – your demands are greater than your factory’s capacity.
According to the New York Times and New York State Department of Labor a factory in New York, Queens – Jin Shun Incorporated, operating under the name Garlee NY Inc cheated it’s 100+ employees out of $5.3 million USD. The factory had signed the retailer codes of conduct to comply with the law but they coached their employees to lie to inspectors, had more then one time card per employee and falsify records. Some Employees worked 120 days in a row and were paid $250 for a typical 66-hour, six day work week, amounting to $3.79 an hour, $7.15-an-hour is the state minimum wage. Many of the employees were Chinese immigrants.
It’s hard to know where one’s responsibility starts and ends. Is it the retailers job to enforce the codes of conducts, or is it the Labour Department. Who should do the monitoring? Is anyone ultimately responsible?
You don’t have to go to a developing country to be exploited and live in poverty.
Source: Fashion Lawyer, New York Times, New York State Department of Labor