American Apparel layoffs

Attempts to salvage jobs at American Apparel by two Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the workforce development agency did little to stop Monday’s mass layoffs at the company.

Letters from supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, along with the county’s Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services director Cynthia Banks were sent to bankruptcy court judge Brendan Shannon, and officially docketed Tuesday. The letters, dated a day ahead of the Jan. 12 auction, show three attempts requesting the court create a stipulation that would keep as many of the company’s jobs in Southern California.

All three letters, worded similarly, point out the company’s average hourly wage of $18 to $20 for sewers and cutters, along with salaries of between $50,000 and $70,000 on average for administrative and management positions. Hahn’s letter pointed out the reality that “many ‘made-in-the-USA’ jobs are disappearing due to mergers, acquisitions, automation, globalization and cost-cutting, especially jobs in the lower-skilled rung of the economic spectrum, leaving these workers with little to no possibility of finding similar jobs. And so, it would be cruel and coldhearted, dare I say: inhumane, to throw these laid-off workers in the ranks of the chronically unemployed and underemployed.”

American Apparel received court approval last week on the $103 million sale of its intellectual property and some of its equipment to T-shirt firm Gildan Activewear Inc. Other, smaller deals include two retail store leases and the sale of the company’s Garden Grove knit and dye house to Broncs Inc. Terms of the Broncs deal were still being worked out at the time of the hearing, but it was estimated the sale could yield at least $200,000 and as much as $250,000.

None of the deals included the retention of any jobs — something that had been made clear when the company notified the California Employment Development Department in November that 3,457 jobs were on the line with its pending sale. Gildan Activewear has maintained all along that its interest in American Apparel had always been about the intellectual property and equipment.

The approved deals set off a wave of layoffs at the company throughout the day Monday as workers lined up outside of the company’s factory store on the ground floor of its headquarters, beginning in the early-morning hours, to pick up their final checks. The company confirmed that same day it was laying off roughly 2,400 people.