The coalition is looking to advocate their rights before the new corporate management of American Apparel

The coalition is looking to advocate their rights before the new corporate management of American Apparel

American Apparel workers are demanding an end to intimidation and harassment through the formation of a coalition with immigration advocacy group Hermandad Mexicana.

Hundreds of workers gathered last week to form the group, named Coalition of American Apparel Factory Workers United to Save American Apparel, as it looks to advocate their rights before the new corporate management.

The company is controlled by New York-based financial hedge fund Standard General, which took control of the company from founder Dov Charney after his ousting last year.

Among the demands raised by the coalition are to: “Stop using 'Sweatshop Free' in company advertising; stop the blind reduction of production hours and the furloughing of workers; and stop the incessant intimidation of workers by security guards and supervisors merely for seeking to meet and organise themselves to address workplace issues.”

Spokesperson Maria Luisa Salgado believes current intimidation by “large and gruff” security guards directed at workers for having a flyer calling for meetings, and interrogating them about meetings, is a violation of the US Constitution and the National Labor Relations Board Act.

“We are involved in protected activity, and such harassment needs to stop immediately. The current corporate management is estranged from the cultural spirit that existed at American Apparel under the leadership of its founder, Dov Charney. Under the new management, we do not feel safe or dignified,” she said.

The coalition says it has active plans to hold additional meetings and activities with the goal of “saving American Apparel”, and the 4,500 local manufacturing jobs, which it says are at risk from the new corporate management.

A spokesperson for American Apparel said the company will investigate the allegations to determine the actual facts.

"If anyone is found to have been intimidating employees, we will take the appropriate action to remedy the situation. Core principles of American Apparel are workers’ rights and respect for our employees. This is clear from our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which reflects our efforts to ensure that American Apparel’s workplaces are free from harassment, bullying and intimidation and which promotes fair treatment of employees and compliance with labour and employment laws. We remain dedicated to a culture of free speech and social commentary.”  

Click here to view just-style's timeline on the events that occurred following the ousting of Charney.