Ivanka Trump is continuing to be criticized for failing to live up to her father’s creedo of “Buy American, Hire American” after an audit revealed the poor conditions present at a Chinese factory that manufactures clothes for her personal fashion line.
The 80 workers at the Chinese factory work nearly 60 hours a week while making only $62 for their efforts, according to a Fair Labor Association report released on Monday that was based on an independent audit of the factory carried out last October, just before Ivanka’s dad won the US Presidential election.
Workers at the factory are contracted to make clothes for the New York-based G-III Apparel Group which has an exclusive license to manufacture Ivanka Trump-branded dresses, blouses and other clothing items. Auditors discovered some two-dozen violations of international labor standards during a two-day tour of the factory.
In order to meet manufacturing targets, workers at the factory worked anywhere from 42 to 82 hours of overtime per month, far exceeding the legal limit in China of 36 overtime hours per month. Meanwhile, workers made between 1,879 to 2,088 yuan a month, which would fall below minimum wage in some parts of China. The report does not state the name of the factory or its location.
In addition, workers were only granted five days of leave a year, and the factory did not have a workers’ union, so that the workers’ only representative was appointed by the factory itself. Meaning that they had little recourse to address the fact that less than one-third of them were offered legally-mandated “social insurance” benefits from the factory, which includes a pension and health insurance.
Unsurprisingly, investigators also cited safety concerns at the factory, stating that workers were not trained in safety protocol and were not given equipment that could help to reduce the chance of workplace injuries.
In response to the report, G-III said that some of the infractions have already been corrected, while others are in the process of being corrected. Meanwhile, the Ivanka Trump brand has not responded to media requests regarding the audit.
Many of the products in Ivanka Trump’s personal collection were made in Chinese factories — though those jobs may be moved to Ethiopia soon. Last April, made-in-China Ivanka Trump scarves were recalled for being a fire hazard.
Of course, Trump is far from the only one guilty of manufacturing products for cheap in China. G-III also has partnerships with other clothing brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. The group is merely part of a trend that has seen numerous international companies transfer their manufacturing operations to low-wage nations where workers work long hours for low pay, sometimes in dangerous environments, in order to make a better life for themselves and their families.
However, Ivanka is viewed a bit differently than Calvin Klein because of who her father is. Donald Trump has continually blasted American companies for manufacturing their products abroad and slammed China for “stealing American jobs” — even as his own clothing line is mostly manufactured in low-wage countries like China. Upon his inauguration, Trump vowed that he would bring in a new era of “Buy American, Hire American.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2017
To help usher in that new (hypocritical) era, the president signed an executive order last week aimed at forcing federal agencies to buy American-made products first.
As her father’s official adviser, moving into an office in the White House after stepping down from all management positions with her own company in March, Ivanka has lent her support to her dad’s nationalistic agenda. Meanwhile, her father has also supported his daughter’s business, taking to Twitter to express his outrage at how Nordstrom had pulled Ivanka’s brand from their shelves back in February. Later, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway was even more direct, telling Fox News viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
The value of Ivanka’s brand has soared along with her father’s political fortunes. The brand’s prospects look especially encouraging in China where it has recently been on a yuge winning streak at the copyright office.
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