Alexander Wang Sued for Sweatshop Conditions | Handbag Designer Accused of Violating Labor Laws

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Alexander Wang

Alexander WangThe term sweat shop conjures images of children slaving away under poor conditions in third-world countries. But if 30 Alexander Wang employees are to be believed, sweat shops are operating right here in New York City.

The workers are suing Alexander Wang for violating New York State labor laws with his Chinatown production premises. The $450 million lawsuit, lodged with the Queens County Supreme Court, alleges the designer didn’t pay minimum wages or offer adequate compensation for overtime. They also claim they were required to work 16-hour days with 15 others in a hot, windowless room measuring just 200 square feet. The plaintiffs are demanding $50 million for each of the nine cited charges.

Unsurprisingly Wang’s representatives deny there’s any truth to the explosive claims, and say the company takes its responsibility to comply with labor laws seriously.

At this point it’s impossible to say whether the workers have a case, or whether it’s simply a matter of sour grapes. The lead plaintiff Wenyu Lu was fired in February, allegedly for complaining about the poor working conditions and demanding compensation for illnesses he developed on the job. But that’s the line of his lawyer, so it’s impossible to know whether other factors were really behind his dismissal.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out, but the bad press can’t be doing Alexander Wang’s business any favors.

[Source: Ecouterre]
[Image Source: Ed Kavishe/Wikipedia Commons]