While the new American Apparel website promises “globally-sourced” apparel that’s “ethically-made and sweatshop free,” according to a recent story at The Guardian, that’s likely not the case.
“In the eyes of the [Workers Rights Consortium], and other labour organizations both in the US and abroad, there is no independent documented evidence to suggest that any Gildan facility in Honduras can be termed ethically made and sweatshop free,” the story says. What’s more, the company is still finding itself embroiled in workers’ rights controversies.
Just last November, for instance, “five women came to CODEMUH’s offices in Choloma, Honduras, claiming they were fired for developing health problems incurred while on the job at Gildan’s San Miguel facility.” The story also mentions another case in which one woman was required to inspect 6,000 garments a day, was only given 10 minute lunch breaks, and was then unceremoniously fired after four years for her efforts.
“The list of complaints [also] included mandatory work shifts longer than the legal maximum limit, illegal dismissals of employees involved in unions – including the dismissal of a pregnant woman, as well as consistent harassment and verbal abuse targeted at employees.”
Gildan, for its part, claims to have a “strong labour compliance program” and says that it “has steadily worked with labor unions to address any issue brought to its attention.”
But their VP of communications, Gary Bell also thought it was a good idea to say, “Obviously with 50,000 employees it would be erroneous on my part to say that every single one of these employees loved every minute of their jobs every single day of the year,” which doesn’t exactly resonate as an apology, or a denial of practice.
Either way, as Scott Nova, executive director of the Workers Rights Consortium said, “Using terms like ethically-made and sweatshop free – there is no way that that doesn’t make a misleading impression on consumers looking at the American Apparel website.”
You can read more about it at The Guardian.