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The Workers Making Ivanka Brand Clothing

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I’ve said previously that the attention to the sweatshops where Ivanka-brand clothing is produced is valuable because it’s finally bringing attention again to the horrible conditions in which most of the products Americans buy are made. But this very deep dive and wonderful piece of journalism demonstrates that if anything, the Ivanka brand is even worse than the average American apparel manufacturer in caring about conditions in their supply chain. And let’s be clear, the average American apparel manufacturer is far worse than the average European manufacturer, largely because European citizens have put more pressure on their corporations than Americans, who can’t even find Bangladesh on a map. Here’s just one section from this must-read piece.

The dangers to workers who try to seek better labor conditions are especially acute in China, where activists say heavy surveillance and police presences are used to protect company profits and the country’s lucrative reputation as the “factory of the world.”

Ivanka Trump’s products have been made in more than two dozen factories across China since 2010, shipping data show.

Yen Sheng, a Hong Kong-based company with factories in Dongguan where workers are paid between $190 and $289 a month, has shipped thousands of pounds of Ivanka Trump cowhide-leather handbags and other items since 2015, customs records show.

Employees in Dongguan told The Post that the company withholds sick pay unless they are hospitalized and avoids paying overtime by outsourcing work to the unregulated one-room factories that dot Dongguan’s back streets. But pressing for change is not an option, they said.

“If you don’t work, other people will,” one woman at the company’s Dongguan subsidiary Yen Hing Leather Works said. “If you protest, the company will ask the police to handle it. The owner is very rich. He can ask the police to come.”

Trump brand executives said its products are not made at Yen Hing. A manager at the Dongguan factory, Huang Huihong, told The Post that its workers have produced Ivanka Trump goods in the past.

Officials at Yen Hing denied the workers’ allegations, saying they “strictly follow the laws in our business operation.” Mondani, the Trump brand’s handbag supplier, did not respond to requests for comment.

The work conditions at Chinese factories that make Trump’s products have gained public attention in recent weeks after the detentions of three activists from a group called China Labor Watch who were investigating the facilities. The group said it found evidence at one facility of laborers working 18-hour days and enduring verbal abuse from managers, allegations that the Chinese factory denied.

Chinese authorities accused the activists of using illegal surveillance equipment and suggested they might have been selling commercial secrets to foreign entities. They were released on bail in late June. A trial is pending.

The State Department denounced the arrests, saying that labor rights activists “have been instrumental in helping . . . American companies understand the conditions involving their supply chains.”

Li Qiang, the group’s executive director, said it had never faced such police pressure in nearly two decades of experience investigating factories and said he believes this case was handled differently because “this is Ivanka Trump’s factory.”

Hua Haifeng, one of the detained activists, told The Post after his release, “The first question the police asked was to the effect of ‘whether you know it’s Ivanka Trump’s factory and then came here to investigate.’ ” Local police officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Li’s group says it has sent four letters since April to Ivanka Trump at the White House detailing the working conditions in the factory and asking for her to advocate for their colleagues.

Deng Guilian, Hua’s wife, also pleaded with Trump to intervene, telling The Post, “For her, it’s just a matter of a few words, but those few words would save the entire family.”

Of all the Trumps, the only one who matches Donald in being a grifter is Ivanka, unlike her moron brothers who make AJ Soprano look brilliant. Ivanka’s utter bullshit about caring about workers and women is complete garbage and needs to be called out. Moreover, we need to use these stories to advocate for a completely new system within supply chains that hold people like Ivanka Trump legally accountable for what happens in making their products, including giving global workers the right to advocate for themselves in American courts. Maybe I should send Ivanka a copy of Out of Sight. I’m sure it will be well-received!

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  • firefall

    Maybe I should send Ivanka a copy of Out of Sight. I’m sure it will be well-received!

    only if it’s free

  • Joe Paulson

    That’s a good idea. You can post the signed receipt to show the book was received.

    Her brothers might think it is the novelization of the George Clooney movie.

    • wjts

      Well, the authors’ initials are the same, so probably?

  • SomeTreasonBrewing

    You would get a boilerplate letter in return offering to give a back cover blurb for the next edition in consideration for a yearlong membership fee at the Trump golf facility of your choice. Though, it would help if your last name was Loomisov.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    This is a great article. No doubt that Ivanka’s clothing line is worse than most. But Erik do you think that this paragraph is reasonable?

    From big brands such as Adidas and Kenneth Cole to smaller, newer
    players like California-based Everlane, many U.S. clothing companies
    have in recent years made protecting factory workers abroad a priority —
    hiring independent auditors to monitor labor conditions, pressing
    factory owners to make improvements and providing consumers with details
    about the overseas facilities where their goods are produced.

    Ivanka may be worse than most of them, but do the other major apparel lines really deserve this much credit?

    ETA: Consider my comment just a quibble, though, with a small part of the article — this is overall a towering piece of reporting. Thank you Washington Post, more like this please.

  • “Maybe I should send Ivanka a copy of Out of Sight. I’m sure it will be well-received!”

    Maybe she’ll send back a copy of Women Who Work.

    Besides, the only women Ivanka wants to empower are those job creators, not the moochers workers.

  • gocart mozart

    I Googled Trump + windows for the Twitter joke and found this. Is this one of their trademark businesses?
    https://twitter.com/HarryTuttle11/status/885624142451666944

  • drdick52

    All Trump branded merchandise is made like this.

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