Clothing manufacturing is a very tough job, but we've always tried to do things differently. In the early days we talked about "sweatshop free" now we talk less, however we continue to provide the same benefits (and more) to our workers.
For us "sweatshop free" was never about criticizing other business models; it was about attempting something new. It comes down to this: not blindly outsourcing, but rather knowing the faces of our workers and providing them the opportunity to make a fair wage.
The average sewer with experience at American Apparel is making about $25,000/yr, or $12 an hour, almost twice the federal minimum. This can be higher in some cases. We also offer parking, subsidized public transport, subsidized lunches, free onsite massages, a bike lending program, a program of paid days off, ESL classes and much more. Most importantly we guarantee job security and full-time employment; this is an anomaly in the garment industry, which has historically been dominated by seasonal work.
We also continue to provide all of our employees and their families with company-subsidized, affordable health insurance ($8/week, $1-3/week for children). And we just made everyone's lives a little easier by opening an onsite medical clinic. This facility, which is the first of its kind, offers primary care services along with pediatric, urgent and preventative health care.
As our company continues to grow, we will further improve the work environment. Now a public company, we're very excited about introducing an unprecedented stock program that will make our garment workers shareholders. Learn more about it here.
Made in Downtown LA—Vertically Integrated Manufacturing