Labor Campaign: Addressing Garment Labor Issues in Los Angeles

 
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The Autumn / Winter 2017 "LABOR CAMPAIGN" is our first cut and sew collection with precise attention to detail

More importantly, the collection highlights the very real, yet often overlooked issue of garment workers' safety and health in Los Angeles, particularly regarding problems with heat, dust, and poor ventilation. We are following California Senate Bill 1167 to truly understand the issue, bring it to you, and ultimately help make a change from a business and consumer standpoint.

 

01. THE ISSUE

LOS ANGELES IS HOME TO THE NATION'S LARGEST GARMENT MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY WITH 45,000+ GARMENT WORKERS AND 600+ RELATED FACILITIES.

Small particles from fabric are often released in the air where workers are exposed to dust containing endotoxins, contaminants, and bacteria which can lead to serious respiratory problems. Many factories do not have proper industrial ventilation and instead use small home-style fans. Workers have complained about burning eyes and weakened vision from long hours of exposure. Warehouse-type factories are prone to extreme heat because of the poor ventilation and temperatures can get into the triple digits when facilities are at full capacity. Workers face high risks of heat stroke and often do not have easy access to clean water.

 
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02. THE LAWS

California is the only state that does not have heat prevention standards for indoor workplaces. October 2016: Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 1167 which mandates Cal/OSHA (California/Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to draft and propose an indoor heat regulation by January 1, 2019.

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE DRAFT IS TOO COMPLEX FOR INDOOR FACILITY OWNERS TO CONSISTENTLY ENFORCE. THIS MAKES IT TOO COSTLY FOR EMPLOYERS TO COMPLY WITH AS THEY WOULD HAVE TO HIRE EXPERTS TO DECODE THE REGULATION. 

Its current language is too broad and contains one-size- fits-all vocabulary. For instance, indoor workplaces where no hazard is present should not be required to implement policies and procedures as it would not pertain to them. Cal/OSHA hosts board meetings for the public, non- profits, and other organizations to attend and weigh in on throughout the drafting process. There, Cal/OSHA can address concerns of assorted industries.

Through input of accumulated data and other important findings from external sources and industries, Cal/OSHA can create a final draft that will appeal to a wider amount of people.

 
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03. HOW WE'RE HELPING

On the front end, we are educating and raising awareness of LA garment worker issues through our garments and at related events. To truly establish ourselves as The streetwear brand for social justice and change, we go beyond talking about issues and actually play a proactive role in resolving them.

ON THE BACK END, WE ARE CONNECTING WITH NON-PROFITS, PROFESSIONALS, AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS TO SEE HOW WE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR CURRENT EFFORTS AND COLLABORATE ON INITIATIVES. 

We also will be attending the upcoming Cal/OSHA indoor heat policy-drafting meetings.

 

04. HOW YOU CAN HELP

PEOPLE LIKE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TALK ABOUT.

THE MORE CONVERSATIONS THERE ARE AROUND THESE ISSUES, THE MORE LIKELY THE MESSAGE WILL RESONATE WITH SOMEONE TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY WILL WANT TO TAKE ACTION. 

Keep in mind that not everybody will care, and that is okay. The mere fact that you are now more educated and care (hopefully), makes a hell of a lot more difference. Demand transparency from brands and stores you shop at, understanding how and where your items were made, and by whom. Support other responsible brands that ethically produce products to truly live a more conscious-lifestyle. Destroy the “cheaper is better” mantra and instead, develop the “less is more” mindset through higher quality, staple pieces that last longer and can fit through various outfit combinations.