Ivanka Trump, for all of her dad’s fist-pumping in favour of American workers over foreign labour, apparently uses a factory in China that is in serious violation of labour standards.
The Fair Labor Association, an industry monitoring group, found that in 2016 [pdf], one of the Chinese factories from the G-III Apparel Group made its workers stay beyond the legal overtime limit. They were paid just over $1 per hour.
G-III has the exclusive rights to make Trump’s eponymous clothing line, and has factories in China, India and Indonesia. The American firm also makes clothes for other brands such as Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, and Tommy Hilfiger.
Its Chinese factory that is highlighted in the report employs 80 workers, and some made as little as $63 a week.
On average, the factory required workers to work 57 hours a week, which works out to a grand total of $1.1 per hour.
The factory’s monthly overtime hours ranged from 42 to 82 hours per month, far exceeding the national legal overtime limit of 36 hours a month.
Trump’s dresses retail for an average of $128, with a pair of jeans averaging $160.
Ivanka Trump promotes herself as a champion of workplace fairness.
G-III’s website claims it’s “committed to legal compliance and ethical business practices.” It also says it’s committed to providing a “safe and healthy workplaces”, and that “employees must be compensated fairly for all hours worked.”
A spokesperson for G-III told Mashable did not deny the violation of labour standards, but said that they were “working diligently” to correct them.
“The report issued by the [Fair Labor Association] this week detailed several situations that we either corrected or are working diligently to correct. Our goal is to always attain and maintain the best labor conditions possible in these factories,” the spokesperson said.
Cheap labour is not new to the world of fast fashion, though it doesn’t quite seem to fit in with Trump promoting herself as a champion of workplace equality and Donald Trump pledging to “Buy and Hire American” workers.
Trump’s clothing website says the brand is “dedicated to the mission of inspiring and empowering women to create the lives they want to lead.”
Some people were quick to pick up on the irony.
@Slate She doesn’t view this as contradictory because “those” women are over “there.” Don’t count, don’t matter. Everything can be justified.
— Sally Benner (@SallyBenner) April 26, 2017
But this is not new — G-III’s factories have had a poor track record when it comes to workers’ rights.
In 2015, G-III was found to have been paying 15 percent of workers at a Chinese facility less than the minimum wage of $9.42 a day. Instead, some workers were then being paid an average of $3.30 per day.
It’s not clear if this was the same facility as the one it highlighted for 2016.
This report comes to light months after another Chinese factory, Xuankai Footware — which produces shoes for the Trump brand — was found also to have made its workers work lengthy shifts, and at illegally low overtime rates.
The G-III Group said net sales for the Ivanka Trump collection increased by $17.9 million last year. Trump’s brand also noted that revenues shot up 21 percent last year.
UPDATE: April 27, 2017, 3:09 p.m. SGT Updated with G-III spokesperson’s quotes