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"Recently her hours grew even more oppressive: To meet the holiday demand for Ghostbutsers, Big Hauler trains, and Mickey Mouse dolls, the girls at the Kader plan were ordered to put in one or two 24-hours shifts, with only two meal breaks, each month. . . ."
Business Week 1988-10-31
"The Herald-Examiner's series, based on reporter Merle Linda Wolin's experiences as an undercover worker in the garment factories, was the jury's unanimous first choice for the award."The board objected to the series partly because the reporter posed as an illegal alien to gain jobs in the sweatshops, according to members of the jury. Other sources said the board did not consider any of the jury's recommendations to be first-rate entries. "Anticipating that Wolin might be accused of deception, the jury submitted a confidential report defending its choice of her series. The jurors said they, too, believed that reporters generally should not misrepresent themselves but said that sweatshop 'conditions' could not have been fully explored in any other way . . . "
Los Angeles Times 1982-04-13
What Herald Examiner staff writer Merle Linda Wolin's "Sweatshop" expose has revealed (aside from sometimes inexcusable working conditions in the Los Angeles garment industry and the seeming governmental impotence in improving them) is one incontestable fact: Just as it took an awful lot of people to get the garment industry into the state of decay it is in, it is going to take an awful lot of people to get it out of trouble. Cleaning up our sweatshops will require that everyone - citizen groups, government agencies, and espeically the industry itself - pitch in as a team and help.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-02-08
Get a pencil and write it down: Without national legislations, there is little hope of cleaning up the California garment industry. Remember it and repeat it often. Few will argue with this conclusion. Not Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. - "it can't go on, this exploitation of the working poor. These people are working and contributing to the wealth of California, and their voice is not being heard. And since we can't seem to get at the heart of the problem in California's garment industry, a more comprehensive national approach must be taken." Not state Labor Commissioner James QUillin - "What we need is recognition at the federal level that the (U.S.) garment industry is a special case. We must develop federal legislation that would require close regulation and hold manufacturers accountable." Not state Sen. Joseph Montoya, D-San Gabriel Valley, the lawmaker who has sponsored the two most successful pieces of legislation affecting the industry since he took office in 1972 - "I would be willing to pursue the idea of federal legislation - it will serve everyone."
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-02-01
As far as Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley is concerned, the violations in the city's garment industry are nothing to get excited about - a belief his critics charge is part of the problem. "The mayor's office does virtually nothing to enforce the laws 0that apply to the garment industry)," said state Sen Joseph B Montoya, D-San Gabriel Valley, the legislator best known in Sacra-mento for his efforts to legally protect the garment worker. "He showed interest only where there was a media event. Why? There's a lot of money involved, a lot of contributions. You don't want to hamper your political campaign fund, That's what it boils down to." "It's kind of lonely out here," said state Labor Commissioner James Quillin who, as head of California's Concentrated Enforcement Program, tries to curb abuses in the garment industry. "The (city) Fire Department and the (city) Building and Safety Department ought to be out here... but Bradley will talk about his reluctance to take any steps that might be construed as punitive agaist the industry. He'll say it is such an economic factor in the city." Surprisingly, even manufactur-ers complain about the mayor, citing his reluctance to impose requirements on contractors beyond a $21 business tax and registration permit. "I asked Mayor Bradley if there would be something these people (garment contractors) could read in five languages that would explain what their obligations are as employers," said Bernie Brown, the spokesman for California's Coalition of Apparel Industries, the most powerful manufacturers' lobby in the state. "I never heard from him. No one has the answer yet."
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-29
The Los Angeles Country Health Department found Felix Mendoza's shop a full month before I knocked on the door looking for work there. Since October 1979, when a county ordinance mandated the Health Department to locate and license the estimated 3,000 sewing shops in Los Angeles County, health officials have been trying to clean up what Richard Dinnerline, L.A. county chief of occupational health, called "the filthiest of all industries." According the the Health Department's Dec. 30 1980 figures, 2,746 garment factories have been found and licenced in the past year. Health officials believe there are hundreds more, especially in outlying areas of the county where immigrant workers often live.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-16
I was beginning my second odyssey into the $35 billion California germent industry, another weekling, nine-hour-a-day journey into the underworld of fancy clothes and high style. I knocked on the wooden door behind the grate at 331 N. Mountain View in Los Angeles. Just when I thought no one would answer, a small, thin, dark-eyed man slowly opened the door. He was Felix Mendoza, a Mexican-born sewing contractor who had been in business for only six months. "I'm looking for work," I said in Spanish through the bars. "Can you sew?" he asked. It was his only question.
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner 1981-01-15