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The United States Method

Exactly how United states Apparel's Dov Charney set a higher standard for their staff members — and his peers.

Impressions Magazine
Wendy Angel
August 2002

"it isn't about American-made, it is about US values."

The words of 32-year-old Dov Charney, senior companion, would be the essence of just what l . a . based United states Apparel strives becoming and is — a kind of rabble-rouser in the revenue driven world of the attire business.

Right from the start significantly more than 10 years ago, this innovative garment manufacturing organization has actually put reasonably limited on some pretty traditional values. Though making clothes in United states is important to Charney (last January he closed United states Apparel's Mexico-based factory and centralized all production, design and management in l . a .) the values he keeps many dear are the ones that regulate just how he treats his employees.

Charney is focused on sweatshop-free doing work circumstances. He seems production in international nations has actually adversely altered workers' lifestyles, and then he's committed to changing his workers' life — the better.

An Enlightened Office
It isn't that Charney is against international manufacturing per se, but he does genuinely believe that many companies' company designs are derived from unjust remedy for their international workers — something he actively fights against. All too often, Charney describes, instead of spending employees a proper wage, producers press production overseas so they really need not consider it.

"i do believe this is an issue, and I believe the industry needs to address it, " he states. "The T-shirt is a symbol of freedom and presents the United states cool, and now the T-shirt is starting to become an agent of exploitation."

Additional Effort
At American Apparel, things are different. The nearly 800 workers enjoy relatively large pay ($10 an hour or so or maybe more for a seasoned sewer) [actual wage by Jan. 2004: $12.50/hour], no-cost English classes four times weekly, 80 hours of education through California's Employee training course, a yoga space and countless other advantages.

However it isn't the money Charney spends on worker benefits that sets his company aside — it's the additional work taken fully to make sure workers are happy and healthy. "a company owner needs to investigate entitlement opportunities for his employees, " says Charney. It is not sufficient that staff members, hourly or salaried, get access to their health-care program. United states Apparel's get to is better — the organization directs an R.V. staffed with registered nurses to your factory weekly for fundamental requirements and referrals. The firm's hr department also teaches its workers how-to lodge statements and register their families in Ca's inexpensive health-care program for young ones.

"the kids of low-wage workers in many cases are entitled to acutely affordable, almost free health insurance, " Charney state. "However, the documents reveal many among these kids aren't getting on these programs." To remedy this shortcoming, United states Apparel surveys employees to discover if their children tend to be covered helping them secure whatever protection they're entitled to receive.

For many with children who will be ineligible for the program, United states Apparel offers an equivalent system for a minimal fee. Your family can even shell out the dough via automatic deduction from a paycheck.

More about the Agenda
Charney's programs feature offering extra staff member support, supplying on-site daycare at organization headquarters, and perchance building subsidized housing. He even desires to give hourly employees weekly of compensated getaway by the end for this 12 months.

Like a real visionary, Charney holds his beliefs far beyond the factory gates, in which he actually afraid to create a stand. He plus some 500 American Apparel workers took part inside May march to Immigration and Naturalization Service building in la to guide immigrant's rights.

And his activities are becoming seen. Before 2 yrs he has got garnered protection in the latest Yorker, Apparel Information, Bobbin, The Counselor, The Book la and Time. He could be scheduled to show up on PBS and has simply already been recognized by Fashion Business, a Los Angeles non-profit that supports neighborhood manufacturers.

Although he constantly obtains e-mails lauding his attempts and today features a honor to boot, Charney feels there is certainly still strive to be performed. "It really is an honor, " he claims, "but it is just a-start — we're not halfway to where we want to be."

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