Target: Do Won Chang, Founder and CEO of Forever 21
Goal: Reveal information about Forever 21 employees’ working hours, wages, and overtime compensation.
Forever 21 is refusing to release information regarding working conditions in its Los Angeles based factories as requested by the U.S. Department of Labor. The information was originally requested months ago, but the Department of Labor has now been forced to get a subpoena for the information. Forever 21 is still ignoring requests.
This is not the first time this company has been under investigation by the Department of Labor. Back in 2001, Forever 21 was sued by 19 workers claiming they had worked 10-12 hours a day, six days a week without overtime, and even in dirty and unsafe conditions. The workers also claimed that the contractors altered time cards to reduce hours, and later fired several employees when they complained to the state investigators during a sweep. The case was settled in 2004, in undisclosed terms, where it was also revealed through worker’s testimony that Forever 21 sought out contractors willing to look past minimum wage and overtime laws. Forever 21 also committed to improving conditions for their workers.
In the garment industry, it is often hard to regulate minimum wage; workers are often compensated per each piece they sew, instead of an hourly rate. The investigation of Forever 21 is part of a larger project designed with the hopes of better regulating working conditions in the garment industry of Southern California.
In conjunction with a sordid past of bad working conditions, it is in Forever 21’s best interest to release the information requested by the U.S. Department of Labor. If the store has nothing to hide, it should be willing to release the information, and if the working conditions are in fact not up to standards, that needs to be aired so the public knows what sort of company they are buying their clothes from. Sign the petition below to call for Forever 21 to release information about its working conditions in an attempt to enforce better conditions for workers both at Forever 21 and in the garment industry in general.
Dear Do Won Chang,
Ignoring the multiple requests by the U.S. Department of Labor to release the information pertaining to workers hours, wages, and overtime is damaging to your company. There is no reason to ignore these requests unless you are hiding something. It is in your best interesting to supply the Department of Labor with this information, which could potentially clear your name. Especially since this is not the first time the working conditions of your factories have come into question.
If, in fact, you are not abiding by the laws put into place to protect working from long hours with little pay, it is necessary to amend this immediately. Despite the affordability of your clothing and popularity among consumers, there is no excuse to deny your workers the pay they deserve for the work they do.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: flickr.com