If you're feeling warm and cozy about that sweater you're giving your girlfriend for the holidays, beware the following information:
Federal and state authorities say that workers were underpaid at L.A. clothing manufacturers that engaged in "sweatshop practices" as they made goods for some of the biggest names in fashion retailing, including Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, HSN, Wet Seal, Aldo, Burlington Coat Factory, Charlotte Russe, Dillard's Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall's.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division announced this today:
... Investigators found widespread violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions, resulting in the recovery of more than $326,200 in back wages for 185 employees.
The clothing in question was all made in a large building at 830 S. Hill St., say the feds. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement ID'd the targeted manufacturers (who make stuff for the aforementioned brands and retailers) for the Weekly:
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Apple Style Inc., ID Fashion Inc., Dan Ji Collection Inc., J & S Clothing Inc., Nagoya Inc., Galilee Fashion LLC, Ambos Inc., Joy Always, Sarri Fashion Inc., and Cui Sewing Inc.
Here's how feds allege workers have been underpaid:
Investigators found many garment employees were paid a piece rate -- that is, paid for each piece they sewed or cut -- without regard to minimum wage or overtime pay requirements. On average, workers' wages amounted to less than $6.50 per hour -- well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and the California minimum wage of $8 per hour. None of these employees received the overtime premium of time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 per week, as required under the FLSA. Significant record-keeping violations also were disclosed, including falsified time cards and under-reporting or failing to maintain accurate records of actual hours worked by garment employees.
Shipment of the clothing in question was held until back pay was executed, and some of it was, federal authorities said. In fact, $326,200 in back wages went to 185 affected employees, according to the federal statement.
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Three of those clothing makers were cited for failing to register as garment contractors, according to the Department of Labor.
Julie Su, California's labor commissioner:
We are intent on making sure that sweatshop practices are eliminated so that consumers can proudly purchase garments made in L.A ...