SOURCE: Hermandad Mexicana

Hermandad Mexicana

March 12, 2015 10:00 ET

Hermandad Mexicana's American Apparel Workers Against Sweatshops Gains Backing of LA City Councilman Gil Cedillo

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 12, 2015) - With LA City Councilman Gil Cedillo demonstrating solidarity at a rally held on March 5, 2015, Hermandad Mexicana's grassroots organization, American Apparel Workers Against Sweatshops (AAWAS), has emerged as a legitimate and powerful force advocating the return to the fair and generous working conditions that American Apparel employees benefited from under Dov Charney's leadership. Now in its fourth week of providing a growing voice for the employees of American Apparel, AAWAS' supporters have swelled to more than 1,000 since its formation on February 28, 2015, and include American Apparel current and former employees, as well as members of the community. AAWAS has active plans to hold additional meetings and events with the goal of saving American Apparel and the 4,500 local manufacturing jobs that are at risk.

A legendary advocate for the working poor and marginalized communities, Councilman Gil Cedillo's support underscores the possible risk American Apparel faces with a destabilizing workforce that is at the core of its iconic brand.

"I have known the workers of American Apparel since the company's beginnings in Los Angeles," said Councilman Cedillo. "I was there when it was a small factory under the 10 freeway, when it grew and went public, when the workers became shareholders, when the immigration status of many workers was challenged, and I'm here now. American Apparel is a very special place with a history of fighting for immigration rights, fair pay and health care for all. Now the workers are in a place where they need to fight for their future. We always say, 'If we fight, we win.' Si peleamos, ganamos."

Factory workers are reeling from American Apparel's new management's actions to boost cash reserves by abruptly cutting their work hours by 20-50% and implementing bi-weekly furloughs instead of first cutting back on non-critical expenses. AAWAS is seeking an immediate reversal of these decisions they feel not only cause financial hardship to the factory workers, but are also exploitative and undermine American Apparel's ability to meet demand in the peak seasons of Spring and Summer.

"Many of these employees are long-term shareholders who understand the business and have a legitimate stake in the future of a company they passionately care about and depend upon for their livelihoods. They need to be valued and taken seriously," said Nativo Lopez, Senior Advisor to Hermandad Mexicana. "Reverting to leadership that places employees at the forefront might be the best course for the future of American Apparel."

About Hermandad Mexicana
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Hermandad Mexicana was founded in 1951 and is a community-based membership organization whose mission is to struggle for, defend, and advocate for the rights and interests of Mexican and Latino immigrant workers and to seek their complete integration as equals into civil society and institutions of the United States.

About American Apparel Workers Against Sweatshops
Established on February 28, 2015, American Apparel Workers Against Sweatshops (AAWAS) was formed to advocate for American Apparel factory workers' rights before the new corporate management controlled by New York based financial hedge fund Standard General. The demands raised by AAWAS include asking the company to restore all workers' hours before any other non-critical expenses are incurred; keep workers fully in the loop regarding the company's strategic direction; remove "Sweatshop-Free" from all marketing materials; and, hold an equitable election of the board of directors that employees who are shareholders can participate in.

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