American Apparel factory workers announced Wednesday the creation of a coalition to advocate for their rights before the company’s new corporate management, New York-based hedge fund Standard General. Immigrants’ rights advocacy non-profit, Hermandad Mexicana, is supporting the move.
Hundreds of American Apparel workers met on Feb. 28 to form the “Coalition of American Apparel Factory Workers United to Save American Apparel.” The group is demanding that the company stop using “Sweatshop Free” in it’s adverting, to stop the blind reduction of production hours and the furloughing of factory workers.
The coalition is also requesting the end of “incessant intimidation of workers” by American Apparel supervisors and security guards. Maria Luisa Salgado, a spokesperson for the coalition, said “The current situation of intimidation by large and gruff security guards directed at workers for having a flyer calling for meetings, and interrogating them about meetings, is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the National Labor Relations Board Act. We are involved in protected activity, and such harassment needs to stop immediately.”
Salgado added, “The current corporate management is estranged from the cultural spirit that existed at American Apparel under the leadership of its founder, Dov Charney. Under the new management, we do not feel safe or dignified.”
The Coalition of American Apparel Factory Workers United to Save American Apparel has plans to hold additional meetings.
News of the coalition comes just days after Charney held a backyard rally in Los Angeles with more than 300 American Apparel workers. Buzzfeed reported that Charney told the crowd Standard General does not know how to balance between factory and stores and that workers are losing their jobs. A Spanish-language translator was present to communicate Charney’s message.