WRC Secures $2.9 Million in Back Pay for Workers Who Made University Apparel in Indonesia

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January 20, 2022

Dear Colleagues,
 
Please find here a case brief concerning labor rights violations and remediation at a collegiate factory in Indonesia. Here are the key points:

  • Through three years of work, the WRC has secured $2.9 million in previously unpaid compensation for 1,301 workers at a factory that made university apparel for Gear for Sports.
  • The factory closed without paying severance, back wages, and other legally due compensation, with devastating consequences for workers and their families. The average worker lost the equivalent of more than a year’s wages.
  • Buyers—including Gear for Sports, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kohl’s, and others—failed to prevent or remedy the violations, which began well before the factory’s closure.
  • The WRC documented the violations and determined the amount legally owed to each worker. Because the factory’s owners had fled Indonesia and there was no prospect of compelling them to pay workers, the WRC sought financial contributions from buyers that produced at the factory. These included Gear for Sports and a company called Hansoll Textile which sourced at the factory for Abercrombie & Fitch—and was, by the WRC’s analysis, the largest overall buyer.
  • To the credit of Gear for Sports and Hansoll Textile, both made substantial contributions, at the WRC’s urging, to remedy these labor rights violations. Gear for Sports (via its parent company, Hanesbrands) contributed $400,000. Hansoll Textile contributed $2.5 million. In total, these contributions represent just shy of 80 percent of what workers are owed. The WRC worked with the brands and worker representatives to organize distribution of these funds. The WRC is engaging other buyers in order to secure the remaining money owed to workers.
  • The payments have ameliorated enormous hardship and brightened the prospects of workers and their families. This progress underscores the importance of the WRC’s work in cases of unpaid severance, which involve workers who sewed university logo goods and were then deprived of large sums in legally earned compensation. In these cases, university labor codes and the WRC’s remediation efforts protect workers who would otherwise have no hope of achieving justice.

As always, let us know if you have questions.

Best,

Rola Abimourched and Scott Nova