NY Sweatshops

ÁÎ×Ó¹â Henry C.K.Liu ¹ù¤l¥ú hliu at SPAMmindspring.com
Thu Jun 8 11:26:06 MDT 2000

This is happening under the US Democrat Administration, not in China
under CPC leadership.

Henry C.K. Liu

SCMP   Thursday, June 8, 2000

                    Chinese 'sweatshop' workers sue DKNY

                   AGENCIES in New York

                   Updated at 11am:
                   A group of immigrant garment workers has
                   sued Donna Karan International in US
                   Federal Court on Wednesday, saying the
                   designer's chic clothing was made under
                   sweatshop conditions in New York's fashion

                   The suit was filed on behalf of some 300
                   employees, mostly ethnic-Chinese women who
                   do not speak English, who sewed clothes
                   sold under Donna Karan's labels. The
                   plaintiffs said they were forced to work
                   long hours with no overtime pay, and some
                   alleged they were paid less than minimum

                   ''Donna Karan has been treating workers
                   like slaves,'' Sau Kwan Yu of the Chinese
                   Staff and Workers' Association told
                   reporters. ''We want to see a 40-hour
                   workweek and a living wage.''

                   Five plaintiffs filed the class-action
                   lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court
                   alleging abuses in at least two New York
                   fashion-district factories, but lawyer Ken
                   Kimerling said he believed there were
                   several more factories involved.

                   The factories were run by companies
                   working on contracts for Donna Karan
                   International, but Mr Kimerling said the
                   designer's representatives knew about the
                   long hours and lack of overtime pay.

                   ''They have people in those factories
                   every day,'' said Mr Kimerling, legal
                   director at the Asian-American Legal
                   Defense and Education Fund. ''They know
                   how much they're paying for those

                   Donna Karan International issued a
                   statement saying ''we believe the claims
                   against the company are without merit and
                   to defensd against them vigously.'' It
                   said the company felt it ''should not be
                   held responsible for another company's
                   business practices over which we have no
                   control, particularly where we understand
                   the workers are represented by a union.''

                   ''As a company founded by a woman and an
                   employer of a great many women at all
                   levels, we are always working toward the
                   advancement and further empowerment of
                   women - both inside and outside our
                   organization,'' the statement read.

                   Donna Karan was among five clothing
                   retailers who agreed in October to settle
                   a lawsuit in Hawaii over working
                   conditions at factories in Saipan, an
                   island in the western Pacific.

                   Zeng Liu, 47, a plaintiff who worked for
                   2-1/2 years making Donna Karan garments at
                   an Eighth Avenue factory called Jen Chu,
                   said the company retaliated against
                   workers who complained by shutting down
                   several weeks ago and leaving them
                   jobless. An affiliated company, Jen Jen
                   fashions, continues to produce Donna Karan
                   garments, Mr Kimerling said.

                   Mr Zeng said he often worked more than 70
                   hours a week for $8.50 (HK$66.13) an hour,
                   but was not given overtime pay.

                   All five plaintiffs worked at one time for
                   Jen Chu or Jen Jen. A phone number listed
                   for Jen Chu was disconnected and Jen Jen
                   was unlisted. Both companies were named as
                   defendants, as were the owners, Carvin
                   Chen and Winnie Young Chen, whose phone
                   numbers were also unlisted.

                   The lawsuit is part of an effort by labor
                   advocates to hold retail companies
                   responsible for working conditions even
                   when production is contracted out,

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