News from the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees -- UNITE; garment workers picket Guess? Inc. for contractors' violation of workers' rights.
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 28, 1995--Beverly Hills' world-renowned Rodeo Drive is home to countless designer boutiques and exclusive shops. This month it also has been home to a picket line of scores of garment workers gathered outside a Rodeo Drive Guess? boutique to protest the reduction of wages and the firing and harassment of workers in two of Guess's contracting shops. These reductions and violations reveal the weaknesses of federal compliance agreements recently signed with major apparel manufacturers.
About 140 workers have been striking since June 29 against Good Time Fashion and Song of California, two sewing shops contracted by Guess? Inc. The shops, owned by a single contractor, Sang Lee, reduced the workers' piece rates. When workers attempted to organize in protest, Lee threatened to close the shop and retaliated by firing several workers and assigning others to unfamiliar tasks -- effectively lowering their earnings in some cases below minimum wage.
The relationship between Good Time and Guess? is typical of the Los Angeles garment industry, in which manufacturers dictate prices and contractors are forced to respond by lowering wages. The U.S. Department of Labor has tried to uphold basic labor standards by signing compliance agreements with manufacturers. Under these agreements, manufacturers promise to monitor their contractors for compliance with minimum wage, overtime, and child labor laws Federal and state legislation that protects children by restricting the type and hours of work they perform.
The specific purpose of child labor laws is to safeguard children against harm generally associated with child labor, such as exposure to hazardous, unsanitary, or . Unfortunately, as long as these very minimal standards are met, the manufacturers and contractors are free to lower wages and dismiss workers without cause. Labor standards can actually decline after the agreements are signed, as demonstrated in this case.
The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees “UNITE” redirects here. For the UK student accommodation company, see UNITE Group plc.
The Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE -- UNITE -- was contacted by the striking workers to help with the organizing and picketing activities and to undertake negotiations with the contractor and Guess?. The workers picket the Rodeo Drive Guess? store every day.
"While the federal government's intentions are certainly good, it is clear that too much room for abuse exists under these agreements," said UNITE Organizing Director David Young.
"By firing and harassing employees who attempt to organize, the owner of Good Time is in clear violation of the law," Mr. Young continued. "By continuing to do business with this shop owner, Guess? is effectively saying to workers that it condones unfair labor practices Conduct prohibited by federal law regulating relations between employers, employees, and labor organizations.
Before 1935 U.S. labor unions received little protection from the law. and has no interest in upholding workers' rights."
With a membership of 350,000 workers, UNITE is the fourth largest manufacturing union in the nation. It was formed last month through a merger of two of the nation's oldest and most venerable unions -- the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
Former industrial union in the U.S. and Canada that represented workers in the women's clothing industry. When it was formed in 1900, most of its members were Jewish immigrants working in sweatshops. (ILGWU ILGWU
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union ) and the Amalgamated a·mal·ga·mate
v. a·mal·ga·mat·ed, a·mal·ga·mat·ing, a·mal·ga·mates
1. To combine into a unified or integrated whole; unite. See Synonyms at mix.
2. Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (ACTWU ACTWU Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union ).
CONTACT: Los Angeles: David Young, 213/239-6520
New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Karen A. Crowe, Geto & de Milly, 212/686-4551