“Factories in El Salvador, one of the largest suppliers of clothing to the United States, are part of a global competition in which cutting costs and corners can mean the difference between winning and losing contracts with major clothing brands. Some factories are resorting to underhanded and illegal practices to suppress workers in order to compete, according to the researchers. Workers have even been physically threatened for attempting to exert their rights.
“The researchers suggest that if major apparel brands that operate in El Salvador, such as Hanes and Nike, could increase the value of their contracts, even slightly, workers and workers’ rights groups could benefit.”
Gangs are involved in intimidation of workers and factory owners because the factories are often located in gang territories.
“Despite a government that is more sympathetic to workers than previous administrations, officials have done little to stop violations of workers’ rights. The laws are out-of-date and full of loopholes, according to the researchers. There are only a few factory inspectors to enforce current laws and, because of low pay, the inspectors are susceptible to bribes and intimidation.”