WRC Factory Investigation

Kin Tai Garment

Factory: Kin Tai Garment

Key Buyers: 5.11 Tactical, Armani Jeans, Giorgio Armani, Mark's Work Wearhouse, Nyguard International, s.p.a.

Year: 2014

Case Summary

Kin Tai is a Taiwanese-owned garment manufacturer employing approximately 800 workers and is a supplier of 5.11 Tactical apparel purchased by the City of Los Angeles. The WRC’s assessment of Kin Tai, initiated in March 2013, identified a number of serious labor rights violations in the areas of: (1) employment contracts, including illegal employment of workers on short-term contracts and as casual labor; (2) wages and benefits, including failure to properly provide legally required bonuses and paid leaves; and (3) occupational health and safety, including failing to provide employees with necessary protective equipment.

Following the investigation, the WRC sent both Kin Tai and 5.11 a copy of the findings and recommendations concerning these violations and over the following three months, the WRC provided Kin Tai with both a corrective action plan based on these recommendations, and further explanation of its findings regarding the company’s use of employment contracts. Subsequent communications with factory workers indicate that, while the company has implemented partial remedial measures with respect to some of these violations, outstanding instances of noncompliance remain in all three areas of concern. Moreover, in January 2014, the WRC received additional complaints, which it subsequently investigated and found valid, concerning the alleged retaliatory and illegal discharge of two workers who were activists in the factory union, one of whom served as its elected president. The WRC concluded that these terminations were retaliatory in nature and violated workers’ rights to freedom of association, as protected under Cambodian law. The WRC communicated to Kin Tai about these terminations, as well as its previous findings of violations in February 2014. The company did not respond directly to the WRC, but, on March 24, 2014, the Cambodian NGO, Community Legal Education Center, informed the WRC that it had learned from the two workers that Kin Tai had offered them both reinstatement to their jobs at the factory and back pay. One worker, the union president, reportedly accepted reinstatement and back pay, while the second worker declined to return to the factory, but received her terminal benefits and back pay.

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