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1999-09-27

Kathie Lee Gifford Accused of Running Sweatshops in El Salvador

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Three years after talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford pledged to end labor abuses at the maquila factory that makes her brand name apparel, she is once again being charged with running a sweatshop in El Salvador.

Two fired workers from the sweatshop, the Caribbean Apparel factory in Santa Ana, have made these charges in press conferences in New York and Washington, as well as in meetings with members of Congress. They say they were fired after organizing their co-workers for better wages and labor conditions. They also said that conditions at the factory were unbearable, with women being forced to work overtime without pay, suffering from constant harassment and intimidation from factory supervisors.

At a press conference last week in Washington, DC, Gifford’s husband, Frank Gifford, confronted the former workers and Charles Kernaghan, head of the National Labor Committee, a human rights organization that exposes sweatshop conditions in US factories around the world. The teary-eyed Gifford accused Kernaghan and the workers of making his children cry.

Guests:

  • Charles Kernaghan, head of the National Labor Committee. Call: 212.242.3002.
  • Lorena Del Carmen Hernandez Moran, former worker at the Caribbean Apparel factory in Santa Ana, El Salvador, which makes clothing for Kathie Lee Gifford’s label. She was fired September 2 after she began to organize other women to improve working conditions and salaries.
  • Blanca Ruth Palacios, former worker at the Caribbean Apparel factory in Santa Ana, El Salvador. She was also fired from the factory on September 9th for union organizing.
  • Jiovanni Fuentes, Coordinator of the commission of the maquila, at the Federation of Independent Unions and Associations of El Salvador (FEASIES). His life has been threatened for his involvement in union organizing.

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