Donald Trump and his offspring—now that they’re in and around the White House—like to say they’re champions of the American worker, preferably coal. This sleight of hand from the Trump gene pool comes despite having lived lives, over the course of decades, relentlessly focused on enriching themselves at the expense of others—often workers, contractors, investors, taxpayers, you name it. The latest example of the family’s me-first priorities, reported Tuesday by the Washington Post, is that the fashion line of Ivanka Trump—self-styled champion of working women—is manufactured in China at a factory where workers are forced to work beyond the legal limit of allowable overtime in the country for what could be less than minimum wage. (The location of the factory was not disclosed in the audit, so it is not clear if local minimum wage laws were broken.)
“Workers at a factory in China used by the company that makes clothing for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line and other brands worked nearly 60 hours a week to earn wages of little more than $62 a week, according to a factory audit released Monday,” the Post reports. “The factory’s 80 workers knit clothes for the contractor, G-III Apparel Group, which has held the exclusive license to make the Ivanka Trump brand’s $158 dresses, $79 blouses and other clothes since 2012.”
The October 2016 inspection of the G-III factory—carried out by an industry self-monitoring collective, the Fair Labor Association, which includes companies like Nike—found two-dozen violations of international labor standards as determined by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization. The G-III factory also produces clothing for other brands, including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
From the Post:
Workers at the G-III factory in China were required to work 57 hours a week “on a regular basis” to hit production targets, inspectors found. Though Chinese law sets the limit for overtime at 36 hours per month, workers in all of the factory’s departments exceeded that limit, working up to 82 hours of overtime a month between September 2015 and August 2016. The factory’s workers made between 1,879 and 2,088 yuan a month, or roughly $255 to $283, which would be below minimum wage in some parts of China. The average manufacturing employee in urban China made twice as much money as the factory’s workers, or roughly 4,280 yuan a month, according to national data from 2014.
Fewer than a third of the factory’s workers were offered legally mandated coverage under China’s “social insurance” benefits, including a pension and medical, maternity, unemployment and work-related injury insurance, inspectors found. The factory also did not contribute, as legally required, to a fund designed to help workers afford housing, inspectors said. Workers earned five days of leave a year, though a small fraction of experienced employees were eligible for more …
Inspectors also cited the factory for a number of workplace safety concerns.
G-III has been the exclusive supplier of Ivanka’s clothing line since 2012 and contracts out the production of the products mostly in China. “The factory pledged to make some progress to improve training, assess hazards, hire more workers and reduce overtime demands,” according to the Post. “But it did not commit to increasing worker pay and at times pushed back against recommendations that could improve workplace safety.”