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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


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OPA Press Release: Too Many Garment Assembly Firms Break Labor Laws According to New Report Released By Labor Secretary [08/23/1996]

For more information call: 202/219-8211


New York continues to lead the nation in the number of garment worker wage and hour violations and in the total amount of back wages collected on behalf of garment workers by the U.S. Department of Labor, according to a new report released by Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich. This is the second quarterly report issued by the department to track garment industry investigations.

According to the Third Quarter Garment Enforcement Report, compiled by the department's Wage and Hour Division, 91 investigations were conducted in New York between April 1 and June 30, which found 56 violations and recovered $310,347 in back wages. California follows closely behind with 72 investigations conducted, 49 violations and $67,771 recovered in back wages. With the addition of wage and hour enforcement activity in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, the grand total of investigations conducted over the 3-month period is 223, with 131 violations and $699,323 in back wages recovered.

A total of 2,486 garment workers have received back wages in the three-month period and $148,867 in civil fines have been imposed on manufacturers.

"For the second time in a row, the Garment Enforcement Report shows that far too many garment assembly firms are routinely violating our nation's labor laws. More importantly, too many garment workers are being exploited," Reich said.

Ninety-five manufacturers are listed in the report, compared to 209 that were listed in the department's first report issued last May. Today's report includes investigations conducted during a three-month period. The first report covered six months.

The contractor with the most back wages recovered for its employees was Truong Sewing of Garland, Texas with $113,457. Truong manufactures garments for de corp of Carrollton, Texas. Nearly $90,000 in back wages were recovered for employees at Hardstyle International of Los Angeles, which manufactures apparel for Made in the Shade, Paris Blues, BeBop and NKL apparel, all of Los Angeles. Eighty thousand dollars in back wages was recovered for employees at Chum's Casuals, a manufacturer in Los Angeles, Calif.

Reich said that "many of the manufacturers on this list are working with the Labor Department to improve labor law compliance in the garment industry." Footnotes next to names of manufacturers in the report indicate that these companies are working with the department to remove the sweatshop stain from the American garment industry.

According to Reich, these quarterly reports will "help retailers as well as consumers identify garment manufacturing firms that repeatedly violate minimum wage and overtime laws. Since the report identifies which manufacturers among those notified of contractor violations have agreed to inspect their cutting and sewing contractors, people will be able to see exactly who takes the law seriously and who doesn't."

He added that any concerned citizen, retailer or manufacturer can access this information immediately through the department's internet home page at The Garment Enforcement Reports are available by clicking the "No Sweat" hot button.

The quarterly Garment Enforcement Report was initiated at the request of the nation's retailers who met with the Secretary last year as part of his ongoing effort to solicit their help in improving industry labor law compliance. Retail executives told Reich they needed more information about manufacturers and contractors violating labor laws in order to help improve compliance.

Reich's "No Sweat" campaign against sweatshops began stepping up garment enforcement in 1993. The Wage and Hour Division adopted an aggressive strategy intended to encourage manufacturers and retailers to assist in enforcement efforts.

"This report shows that our garment initiative is really paying off--for retailers, manufacturers, garment workers and the general public, " Reich said. Since 1993 the department has recovered more than $ 8.4 million in wages for some 29,000 garment workers.


Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.