WRC Factory Investigation

Can Man Garment

Factory: Can Man Garment Co. Ltd.

Key Buyers: Aiden Health, Covered California

Last Updated: 2022

Case Summary

In November 2020 through January 2021 the WRC was retained by Covered California to assess compliance with sweat-free procurement standards at Can Man Garment, a factory in Vietnam, and monitor distribution of a “living wage supplement” to employees sewing protective face masks for Covered California’s 1.5 million subscribers. Covered California contracted with Aiden Health to supply the masks, which Can Man produced.

The WRC worked with Aiden to monitor the distribution to nearly 500 workers at Can Man of the supplement from Covered California (via a 10 cent per mask premium) to ensure workers received a living wage while producing the masks. The 483 workers, on average, each received, in addition to their regular wages, an extra US$868—more than four months’ legal minimum wages. The WRC verified that the total compensation employees received during the period in which the masks were produced provided them with a true living wage (a first for a garment factory in Vietnam).

However, the WRC’s assessment of Can Man, which included offsite worker interviews and an onsite inspection, also found extensive violations at the factory. The WRC found these violations in the areas of wages and hours (subminimum wages, illegal deductions, mandatory and excessive overtime, non-provision of rest breaks), benefits (non-provision of social insurance and statutory leaves), terms of employment (illegal short-term contracts, underage workers), and health and safety (fire hazards, lack of guarding and personal protective equipment (PPE)).

The WRC engaged with Can Man, Aiden, and Covered California to secure the maximum remediation possible while the masks were being produced (and while maximum leverage with the factory existed). Major improvements in working conditions were secured in many areas noted above, including minimum wage compliance for the first time (with significant back pay), and a fire sprinkler system (extremely rare in Vietnamese garment factories).

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