State inspectors say that the Jin Shun factory, located in Queens, NYC, is one of the worst sweatshops they’ve seen in awhile. The factory apparently handed out instructions to its workers telling them to give false answers about working conditions when government inspectors visited. The Jin Shun factory makes women’s apparel for companies like Banana Republic, The Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, and Urban Apparel. The Jin Shun factory is located at 47-51 33rd Street, in Long Island City, New York.
Wage violations were so widespread that factory workers were cheated of $5.3 million. The case made by the State Labor Department against Jin Shun is one of the biggest involving back pay that it has ever brought.
Location of Jin Shun factory? (guessed from Google Map, Street View):
According to state officials, most employees, almost all Chinese immigrants, were paid just $250 when they worked 66 hour, six-day weeks. This works out to about $3.79 an hour (the state minimum wage is $7.15/hr). Two immigrants who worked at the factory said that once they worked for 120 days straight. One former employee stated that after she took off Sunday because she was sick, she was fired.
Calls to the Jin Shun factory went unanswered.
The New York Times reported that the Labor department put tags on thousands of items of apparel produced in the factory. These tags state that the items were produced under unlawful conditions. Soon after, Urban Apparel paid $60,000 to officials to remove the tags. (The money being equal to the amount of wage violations).
State officials said that some of the wage violations (measuring in the millions of dollars) happened while the factory was operating under a previous name, called Venture 47. The factory’s owners recently changed its name to Garlee NY.
As said by the Queens Crap Blog:
Wow – In the past week Queens has seen stories about slavery, forced prostitution, sweatshops…what year are we in?