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Garment Workers Campaign Against Sweatshops

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Jeff Hermanson, Organizing Director of UNITE (Union of Needle Trades, Industrial and Textile Employees), is currently involved in a campaign against major national retailers, such as Macy’s, Sears, JC Penney, Wal-Mart and Kmart, which profit from sweatshop labor. Hermanson says that these retailers are well aware that many of the factories supplying their stores are in violation of labor laws that regulate minimum wage, overtime, health and safety. Dan Yun Feng, Director of the Brooklyn-based Campaign for Justice, says there are about 150 sweatshops currently operating in the Sunset Park neighborhood alone. These shops mainly employ Asian women, teens and even children, who are made to work long hours in unsafe conditions for minimum wage or less, without overtime pay. The shops take advantage of immigrants who know little English, are unaware of workers rights, and may fear deportation if they speak out.

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