The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Sweatshops in Los Angeles Pay $6 to Workers

Oct 2, 2017

Garment workers in Los Angeles are paid an hourly average wage of $7 for sewing clothes for giant apparel companies, including Forever 21, Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx; according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some workers got as little as $4 an hour. Most garment workers are paid by the piece.

Considering that there are around 45,000 garment workers in Los Angeles, these clothing giants are enormously profiting by exploiting this labor force.

One garment worker, Norma Ulloa, spends 11 hours a day to produce 700 shirts for giant apparel company Forever 21, according to Los Angeles Times. These shirts are priced $13 to $25 at stores, which can generate anywhere between $9,100 and $17,500 from each worker as daily revenue for Forever 21. But, Ulloa earned $6 an hour, which totals $66 as daily income for her.

The current hourly minimum wage in Los Angeles is $12. Ulloa therefore filed a wage claim with the State of California to recover lost wages. Workers like Ulloa have been filing similar claims since 2007 demanding back pay for producing Forever 21 clothing. Forever 21 has not paid one cent since then.

The minimum wage law violations have been ongoing for at least a decade. The minimum wage law was just window dressing.