In a decision 10 years in the making, a federal jury on Wednesday awarded 25 garment workers almost $600,000 and found New York-based clothing maker Liberty Apparel Co. Inc. liable for wage and labor violations by its subcontractors.
The case is believed to be the first in which the question of whether a manufacturer is responsible for conditions at its subcontractors’ facilities was put to a jury.
The workers, all of whom worked at Manhattan factories used by Liberty, filed the complaint in 1999. They alleged that Liberty and their subcontractor employers failed to comply with minimum wage laws and did not provide overtime for working, in some cases, more than 94 hours a week.
Liberty argued that it shouldn’t be held solely responsible because company representatives spent little time in the factories and the laborers also did work for other manufacturers.
“The victory in this case was not only the amount of money but also that this case is going to affect every single shop in the garment industry,” Ling Nan Zheng, one of the workers who brought the suit, said through a translator.
The workers and their supporters appeared at a news conference at the Chinatown offices of the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association on Thursday, a day after a jury awarded $598,333 to be divided between Zheng and her co-plaintiffs.
“My client has serious concerns as to how a decision in this case could affect the garment industry in the entire country,” said Vano Haroutunian, an attorney for Liberty Apparel, its owner Albert Nigri and the other defendants. He said his clients were withholding further comment until a judge ruled on post-trial motions.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, James Reif, commended his clients for sticking with the case through the years. In 2002, a federal judge sided with Liberty Apparel. The workers won an appeal in 2004 but the case did not go to trial until last month.
@moncler unveiled its latest project, #MonclerGenius, yesterday at Milan Fashion Week. The Italian outwear maker gave show-goers a preview of the monthly collections – which were created by eight designers and creative talents including Pierpaolo Piccioli, Simone Rocha, Craig Green and more – that will start rolling out in the summer.
In honor of Rihanna’s 30th birthday, we took a look back at an interview with the Barbados-native when she was just 18 years old. Here, she talked about her second album, “A Girl Like Me” in 2006. “I want to be me. I want people to fall in love with who Rihanna is, and that’s why I want the album to be about me so people can really find out who this girl Rihanna is, because they only know the ‘Pon de Replay’ girl.” Fast forward 12 years, and she’s released six more albums and has become a powerhouse in both the fashion and music industries. Happy birthday, @badgalriri 🎈(📷: Pavel Antonov) #wwdarchive