Consumer Goods & Textiles
A growing group of chain-store corporations that cater to America's poor with cheap goods are classifying workers as managers. By categorizing employees as salaried managers these dollar stores avoid paying overtime wages that the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates for hourly workers.
Shoes labeled "Made in Europe" are often assembled in poor East European countries for 'starvation wages' according to a new research report from the Change Your Shoes campaign. The companies whose labor practices were examined include Ara, Bata, Deichmann, Geox, Leder & Schuh AG, Lowa and Zara.
Clothing chain retailer Forever 21 has been sued by the U.S. government for ignoring a subpoena requesting information on how much the company's suppliers pays the workers who make its clothes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the salaries are well under the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, faces a 250 million real ($109) million fine for working condition violations at a plant in the free trade zone of Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state in Brazil.
One thousand law enforcement officers staged an early morning raid on dozens of businesses in Los Angeles fashion district to seize $65 million allegedly derived from drug trafficking. QT Fashion, a company that imports wholesale maternity wear from China to Mexico, provided a key to the money laundering scheme.
A new report on garment factories in Burma issued by Action Labor Rights (ALR) estimates that nearly a third of workers were required to work 60 hours or more a week, with almost two thirds reporting that they had no choice in the matter.
A decision by the Indian government to allow foreign multinationals to invest in the country's $500 billion retail market is expected to spell the death knell for thousands of small, family-owned shops and even threatens street hawkers, who have supplied local neighborhoods for generations.
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), a major Swedish "fast fashion" retailer, led 30 international companies this week to commit to a new $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh. Watchdog organizations say the companies acted only because of external pressure by activists and workers.
Some 2,000 German employees of Amazon, the internet retail giant, walked off their jobs this week at four sites - Bad Hersfeld, Graben, Leipzig and Rheinberg. The strike action was coordinated by Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (United Services Union), a Berlin trade union commonly known as Ver.di.