American Apparel Apparently in Danger of Being Corporatized

This Jezebel article details worker unrest and changes at American Apparel in the wake of CEO and founder Dov Charney being ousted from the company.

Certainly you don’t want to see anyone lose their jobs, that is a reality that too many Americans have already experienced all around them. However, the question can also be,  who loses their job in tough times?

Some change at American Apparel is necessary. The company need to make changes to become profitable, but having models that look like everyone else’s models, by taking out some of the creative folks that gave American Apparel its mojo, and any backing away from the effort to be anti-sweatshop? That would just be wrong, but some signs are strongly there about the company heading in that direction.

I didn’t like the sexy ads that had underage looking models (and told Dov that to his face on several occasions) but that doesn’t mean I think they should change to traditional looking models (who don’t look like traditional looking people…) or certainly not photoshopping the reality out of them.

The article talks about unions at American Apparel. I literally have considered writing a book about that aspect as I was personally the CEO of a union garment factory down the street from American Apparel during the time that UNITE made an unsuccessful and I would say unfair and stupid attempt to unionize American Apparel at that time. That ill advised attempt will unfortunately make it more difficult to do now when such an effort might be a good move.

In the world of worker’s rights there have been very few success stories as corporate America in too many cases grind their workers into the ground. The SEIU union has done some great work organizing service workers, but other stories of success have been few and far between. American Apparel was making sometimes imperfect efforts to treat its workers fairly, but they were certainly both making a real effort and also raising worker’s rights issues to customers and the world in a big way. It would certainly be a terrible shame if they backed away from spearheading those efforts.

You can see a previous long post and video at the Ink Kitchen when we toured American Apparel’s factory a year ago.

Anti-sweatshop Leader and former American Apparel CEO with Yours Truly in a Freight Elevator at American Apparel in January 2014

Anti-sweatshop Leader and former American Apparel CEO with Yours Truly in a Freight Elevator at American Apparel in January 2014

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