* Sweatshop Watch and the Garment Worker Center
, which work to eliminate sweatshop conditions in the United States and worldwide, need San Francisco and Los Angeles area volunteers to do research, translation, office work, video editing, Web site support, and outreach to workers and the media.
They describe such aspects as organizing workers along ethnic lines at the Pilipino Workers' Center, building power for noncitizen citizenship at the Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network, progressive lawyering and the Los Angeles car wash campaign, the Garment Worker Center
and the Forever 21 campaign, black community leaders and SEIU's Los Angeles security unionization campaign, and the janitorial industry and the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund.
The first case study is a recent boycott organizing campaign by a group of garment workers in Los Angeles--the Garment Worker Center Forever 21 Boycott Campaign of 2001-2004.
The Garment Worker Center ("Garment Worker Center" or "Center") was created in 2001 by a coalition of garment worker advocates from several immigrant rights groups who have been helping garment workers for many years--Sweatshop Watch, (38) Asian Pacific American Legal Center ("APALC"), (39) Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles ("CHIRLA"), (40) and Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates ("KIWA").
Through a series of dialogue with Chinese and Latino garment workers, these advocates created the blueprint for the Garment Worker Center. These four organizations would comprise the steering committee for the Center.
Within a few months after the Garment Worker Center opened its doors in April 2001, nineteen Latina garment workers from six factories who sewed for the popular women's clothing line Forever 2146 came to the Center with complaints of labor violations.
Before the Garment Worker Center launched the boycott campaign, the organizers and the nineteen workers offered to negotiate a settlement with the representatives of Forever 21 regarding the wage and hour violations.
On March 6, 2002, in response to the district court's ruling, Forever 21 filed a defamation lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against each of the workers, the Garment Worker Center, Sweatshop Watch, CHIRLA and certain staff members.
(67) They came to the Garment Worker Center with complaints similar to the nineteen workers who filed the original lawsuit.
According to the Garment Worker Center, which organized the boycott, employees at six Forever 21 subcontractor factories work for subminimum wages, with no paid overtime, and in dirty, dangerous conditions.
Find more information by contacting the Garment Worker Center at (213) 380-8813, or online at www.sweatshopwatch.org.
Organizers at Los Angeles's Garment Worker Center
, which opened this January, advocate on behalf of garment employees in six languages.