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American Apparel caught with unauthorized employees
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Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

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b. dolan
FBI agent


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 5698
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this thread is a mess. haha.

the company knew they were hiring 'illegal' workers. they did it on purpose.

it was company policy not to do anything to verify a worker's documents. as long as they presented those easily forgable documents, the company turned a blind eye.

this was not done in the name of exploiting workers. it was done in the name of helping out 'illegal' immigrants and giving them a good job.

the company consciously employed them, displays a banner on the side of the factory that says "legalize L.A.", gives workers time off to attend immigrant rights protests in the city, and generally kicks ass in this department.

when i spoke to them they knew they could face a raid like this, but were taking the chance because they believed in what they were doing.

this isn't one of the areas i would fault them on.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:45 am
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Shinigami



Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 275
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redball wrote:
1) Despite living on the other side of a river, imaginary line, or fence, Mexicans are still human.

2) As one of our nearest neighbors their economy directly influences ours.

3) The more we ignore their economy and allow them to suffer the more likely they are to try to flee to our economy, because for someone with virtually no standard of living almost anything is an improvement.

4) They are poised to become the American working class, as the standard of living that most Americans desire or expect is increasingly unattainable with blue-collar salaries.


see i guess this is where i'm still a little confused. why do we need to help Mexico at all? i mean they're their own country and if they don't like the way things are in Mexico can't they try to change them for the better themselves instead of running away to another country? i mean a lot of people think (myself included) that we shouldn't get involved in the whole Iran election scandal because they have to work it out for themselves as a country but then why do we need to hold Mexico's hand while we cross the street and make sure they have jobs and can support their families on our dime? i mean i'm all for people coming to this country from all over the world to try for a better life but they gotta go through the proper procedures like anyone else. none of us could just move to a European country and just assume we should be allowed to work and be treated as equals there, just ain't happening.


also, i'll take a blue-collar salary any day.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:54 am
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Scottie



Joined: 18 Jul 2003
Posts: 2829
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b. dolan wrote:
this thread is a mess. haha.

the company knew they were hiring 'illegal' workers. they did it on purpose.

it was company policy not to do anything to verify a worker's documents. as long as they presented those easily forgable documents, the company turned a blind eye.

this was not done in the name of exploiting workers. it was done in the name of helping out 'illegal' immigrants and giving them a good job.

the company consciously employed them, displays a banner on the side of the factory that says "legalize L.A.", gives workers time off to attend immigrant rights protests in the city, and generally kicks ass in this department.

when i spoke to them they knew they could face a raid like this, but were taking the chance because they believed in what they were doing.

this isn't one of the areas i would fault them on.


Thanks for the insight. I can find fault in a lot with AA but this was my gut instinct when reading the OP.

I support them 100% in efforts to expose the impraticality of our current immigration laws.


The argument for the jobs going to American's is ridiculous, AA I am sure is hiring the best people they can find regardless of status. I am pretty positive there are not a ton of the "american" unemployed knocking down AA's door to be seamstress and such.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:01 pm
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laurapalmer



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
Posts: 1473
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I guess I am confused by the Scottie, Redball, Stumbleweed viewpoint.

Why would AA expose themselves to productivity issues with losing workforce (especially 1600-1800 employees in one shot), possible fines, and certainly future scrutiny? Just to give undocumented workers a break? As civil disobedience? That is really farfetched. I have never seen Dov as altruistic, and really, have simply seen AA's policies as an ad campaign. Sweatshop free is just one way they sell merch.

If it is civil disobedience, then I would think they wouldn't let themselves get nearly a third of their workforce tied up in possible issues, killing productivity. There is civil disobedience and there is fiscal suicide.

More realistically, you need to think about the question, especially Scottie as to what a fair wage is. Are they getting a better wage than laborers in other countries, most certainly. Are they getting a fair wage? The question is nebulous. Numbers thrown out have ranged around 10-15 bucks an hour (with a few reports of 9.50). However, for all the benefits that people get, AA didn't pay people sick days, vacations, or personal time off. No work, no pay. They do have other perks like subsidized health care, free long distance calls (say...to family back home), bike share, and free english classes. Which sounds great. Just like when I worked for a joint in Chicago and they would offer free lunch during gospel hour, which was when outbound phone reps would pour on extra effort for 90 minutes to pump up outbound calls. While the free lunch seems nice, the company realized that by cutting out two lunches company wide per month, productivity outweighed food costs. Similar situation, different company, I worked for an employer that had a happy hour on Friday afternoons at 5:00...because they realized that they could keep people more productive later on Fridays if they had a carrot. Another place I worked put in a Ping pong table and sponsored casino nights with food once a month...realizing that those perks were less expensive than increasing vacation time or putting in raises by building company culture.

The theme is that the bullshit window dressing and nice perks are there for the company to maximize profit. In this case, AA gets to hold on to a transient worker population (and thus keep training costs low) by handing out a handful of perks. If you look at any factory, productivity loss due to turnover is the number one killer, and they avoid it by keeping employees with low cost perks. No company gives food out for free to be nice (including Google), they do it to keep people on site and working more, thus cutting out time people take ot travel to food and eat, whereas the lunch hour becomes 90 minutes or more.

I mean, i guess it could be sunshine and kittens, but for a company that almost lost solvency and had to take an 80m line of credit to stay floating, I just don't think they would perk themselves out of business or take a stand unless it made fiscal sense.

Call me a jaded, pessimistic fucker.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:01 pm
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
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Uh, we're not holding their hands. We're merely employing some of their workers. If we were to legalize these actions then we could better monitor them and encourage some form of documentation that would allow the workers to demand some basic rights, allowing the government to crackdown on abusive employers more effectively.

Who the fuck cares what Europe does or doesn't do as far as equality? We shouldn't set the bar by how low others do, but how high we can go.

Also, don't presume that the US has no interest in Mexican politics and economy. We influence their shit probably more than they do ours.

Fucking imaginary lines, man.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:02 pm
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note1



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
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Location: providence
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Quote:

the company consciously employed them, displays a banner on the side of the factory that says "legalize L.A.", gives workers time off to attend immigrant rights protests in the city, and generally kicks ass in this department.



Thanks I know you know tons more about this company than I do...but isn't AA and all the other business interests in this country that are for "legalizing" these workers..doing so out of their own bottom line self interest? Yeah they're for legalizing the people, but isn't that so they can go back to using them as cheap labor without the government breathing down their back?
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:03 pm
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note1



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Quote:

I am pretty positive there are not a ton of the "american" unemployed knocking down AA's door to be seamstress and such.


Yeah but why? Cause the pay is shit. There's not "jobs Americans won't do" theres just a bunch of jobs that Americans won't do at current wages. Those wages are brought about by companies bringing in cheaper, foreign labor.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:07 pm
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redball



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No, most businesses that employ undocumented immigrants don't want to legalize them. If you legalize them then you have to pay taxes on them and pay them at least minimum wage. Most companies that hire these people do so to exploit their "illegal" status and violate worker's rights laws with impunity.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:07 pm
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note1



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
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Quote:

No, most businesses that employ undocumented immigrants don't want to legalize them. If you legalize them then you have to pay taxes on them and pay them at least minimum wage. Most companies that hire these people do so to exploit their "illegal" status and violate worker's rights laws with impunity.



I get what your saying, but why is the big business wing of the repubs so in favor of some kind of immigration reform? What's the angle, they don't want to interupt the stream of cheap labor. I'm not sure exactly whats been proposed but all those 'guest worker' programs have to end up with something short of full blown citizenship status for it to be in their self interest.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:11 pm
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Scottie



Joined: 18 Jul 2003
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Laura,

I am more in agreement with you than it would seem. I would think the main motivation behind hiring undocumented along with documented would be profit motivated. To be competitive in the clothing field at the level AA is at they need a large skilled workforce. It is US immigration policy that is restrictive and it sounds as if AA simply circumvented it to get the best work force possible. I do not fault them for that, it is the dirty secret of getting things done in the US.

All the other things you said about AA I tend to agree with this is just one thing I do not fault them for.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:14 pm
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Scottie



Joined: 18 Jul 2003
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note1 wrote:

Quote:

I am pretty positive there are not a ton of the "american" unemployed knocking down AA's door to be seamstress and such.


Yeah but why? Cause the pay is shit. There's not "jobs Americans won't do" theres just a bunch of jobs that Americans won't do at current wages. Those wages are brought about by companies bringing in cheaper, foreign labor.


I am talking about the balance of pay and skill. To have that specialized a skill set for little pay keeps most "americans" away.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:16 pm
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Stumbleweed



Joined: 09 Mar 2005
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note1 wrote:

I get what your saying, but why is the big business wing of the repubs so in favor of some kind of immigration reform? What's the angle, they don't want to interupt the stream of cheap labor. I'm not sure exactly whats been proposed but all those 'guest worker' programs have to end up with something short of full blown citizenship status for it to be in their self interest.

That's exactly it... they want them to exist in some kind of legal grey area much like the "enemy combatants" where they are not getting full citizenship rights (opening up Social Security benefits, welfare, etc.) but can still do the important job of providing millions of capable working-age employees. They basically want to weed out any "undesirables" who would otherwise be on the path to citizenship while still benefiting from their work until they do something that gets them removed from the guest worker program.

In the DREAM Act example (Wiki it if you're not aware of what it is), the requirements for eligibility are EXTREMELY strict and eliminates a large number of recent immigrants. The only people eligible for those programs (the state regulations vary slightly, but this is the jist of it):

Must have graduated from a US high school
The must have been continuously in the country for 5 years since arrival
Had to reside in the US before Age 16
Must be between 12-35 at the time of the bill's enactment (which counters the argument that it will give incentive for further illegal immigration)
"good Moral Character" (which basically means no crimes of any kind, though it's pretty nebulous: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_moral_character)

Anyway, point is that any concessions being made on "behalf" of undocumented workers are still incredibly restrictive. The guest worker programs are similar in that the US can use almost any excuse to expel them from the program and they would then face deportation... whenever we decide that the labor isn't necessary, we can send them packing.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:21 pm
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note1



Joined: 10 Jul 2002
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Quote:

To have that specialized a skill set for little pay keeps most "americans" away.



So there's plenty of american citizens who have the sewing skills to be working there, but choose not too because the pay is low? Where are they using and gaining these skills then? If not AA what other garment manufactuer in this country A) still exists, or b) pays well enough to turn your noses up at AA?


EDIT I'll promise i'll stop bombing the thread with my nonsense, just wanted to state that while I support letting those who want to come to this country to provide a better life for themselves and their families, their presence and willingness to work for much, much less has a negative impact on wages for American citizens.

This I believe is another less discussed reason big business loves cheap labor coming here, not only do they benefit from paying them less. Their impact on the job market depresses wages for the american worker.


Last edited by note1 on Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:22 pm
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C.R.A.Z.Y



Joined: 18 Feb 2008
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i'ma have to say "NAFTA" shinigami
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:26 pm
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Scottie



Joined: 18 Jul 2003
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American Apparel would not hire me is more to my point along with most of the 10% unemployed in this country.

Edit:

I do not disagree with you on it being profitable for Big Business to keep them undocumented. I was just stating what a falsehood it is to say "americans" would take up the jobs that "illegals" left vacant if they were not here.
Post Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:28 pm
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