After the dust-up about American Apparel in some of the radical independent media last year (2006), I’m surprised that there wasn’t more coverage of the sale of American Apparel last month.
As you’ll recall, American Apparel is the successful anti-sweatshop, anti-union, pro-sexual harassment clothing company with the creepy, near-softcore-porn ads. For a long time, they were the clothing company of choice for lefty groups that wanted to sell t-shirts but didn’t want to support sweatshops. Over time, the company’s opposition to the unionization of their workforce and sexist advertising turned them off, and many looked for alternatives.
In late December, AA was purchased by Endeavor Acquisition Corp, one of these mysterious consortiums that seem to serve no purpose but taking huge sums of money from investors, and buying companies and stocks to make them more money.
All along, AA CEO Dov Charney has said that his workers don’t need unions because he treats them so well. But this sale shows why that was always a ridiculous argument. What happens if Endeavor’s clients decide that AA isn’t making enough profit and that it should cut labor costs? Granted, part of AA’s brand identity is their positive treatment of workers. But what if Endeavor decides to screw that and try to cash in? What if they decide to fire the “benevolent” Charney and replace him? Who will treat the workers then?
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