Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1,800 Job Openings in LA

American Apparel, in downtown Los Angeles, is firing about 1,800 immigrant employees -- more than a quarter of its workforce -- after a federal investigation turned up irregularities in the identity documents they had presented at hiring (i.e., Social Security and/or immigration documents) — probably because the documents were fake.

So will American Apparel be able to replace those workers?  Are American citizens interested in working for a company that "has been lauded by city officials and business leaders for paying well above the garment industry standard, offering health benefits and not long ago giving $18 million in stock to its workers"?  The company also has masseuses and massage chairs on the factory floor, dispensing 20-minute massages to sewing staff who needed them.

The pay is decent, there are benefits and bonuses, and occasional perks.  But one soon-to-be-terminated employee -- a top supervisor, said, “I think the Americans think that garment sewing is demeaning work.”

Geez, I don't!  If it weren't 3,000 miles away, I'd definitely take a job there over one at Wal-Mart, Old Navy or Starbucks. Wouldn't you?  If Americans (born here or born elsewhere but citizens now) need work, and a good company needs workers, will they apply for work in a garment factory?  What would that be like?

It might go like this:  American company offers decent, skilled labor jobs, with training, to Americans.  More Americans work, more Americans experience the satisfaction of making, more Americans respect the skills, craftsmanship and time that go into making, more Americans are willing to pay a little more for well-made goods (American, hopefully), and more American factories are created.  More American jobs.  And perhaps a new, respectful era begins for American industry.

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