This article featured in the Los Angeles Times in April of this year was a rude awakening for many. It's hard to grasp (even for us, who produce our bags here in LA) that sweatshops exist here and we were astonished to read the stories of some of the garment workers in this article.
This pandemic is a crazy, unprecedented time and its effects reach across all industries. With business coming to a halt and many factories closing their doors, what happens to garment workers who suddenly have no work? They’re either laid off without pay (with many unable to apply for government assistance due to “off the books” work) which often means they're suddenly unable to pay rent or even put food on the table. If their factory of employment is remaining open during this time, as the article suggests, many are working around the clock sometimes in unsafe and unsanitary conditions to produce the millions of masks now out there on the market.
Garment Worker Center is an amazing organization that is speaking out for the rights of this vulnerable group of people who make up the backbone of our industry. They created the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for Los Angeles garment workers who are out of work, unable to receive pay and are struggling to provide for their families during this time. This fund will help provide food and financial assistance to those laid off and help create healthy, clean and safe working conditions in factories that are currently in production working so hard to keep everyone else safe. We’re proud to be supporting them by donating 5% of all sales to the Garment Worker Center.