Ivanka Trump spent time in Berlin Tuesday talking publicly about the need to support families and the role of female entrepreneurs. The same day, a new report revealed employees of a Chinese factory contracted by G-III Apparel Group, the company that exclusively licenses Trump’s branded clothing line, were working extra-long hours for little pay.
The Washington Post first reported that employees at a G-III-contracted factory in China worked nearly 60 hours per week to make little more than $62 per week, according to an October audit by the watchdog group Fair Labor Association. That’s about half the salary of the average Chinese manufacturing worker, according to Newsweek.
The FLA cited the factory for two dozen violations of international labor standards after inspecting its operations.
It’s not known if employees at the Chinese factory were manufacturing Ivanka Trump products specifically during the audit, and the Ivanka Trump company declined to comment on the report. Though G-III also uses factories in other nations, the majority of Trump’s product line is made in China. Over 53 metric tons of Ivanka Trump merchandise was sailing to the U.S. from China during Donald Trump’s “hire American, buy American” inaugural address alone, according to documents obtained by Agence France-Presse.
Harsh working conditions and low pay at factories abroad is a widespread problem that’s not unique to G-III’s business partners, but it is notable the report about the factory’s violations comes as Trump tries to position herself as a champion of working women and workplace empowerment. As the Post reports:
Though Chinese law sets the limit for overtime at 36 hours per month, workers in all of the factory’s departments exceeded that limit, working up to 82 hours of overtime a month between September 2015 and August 2016.
...Fewer than a third of the factory’s workers were offered legally mandated coverage under China’s “social insurance” benefits, including a pension and medical, maternity, unemployment and work-related injury insurance, inspectors found. The factory also did not contribute, as legally required, to a fund designed to help workers afford housing, inspectors said.
Workers earned five days of leave a year, though a small fraction of experienced employees were eligible for more.
Management at the unnamed factory told the FLA it would implement steps to legally adhere to overtime laws and provide required insurance, according to the agency’s report.
Trump, meanwhile, continues to make millions as the sole beneficiary of her personal brand, taking only superficial steps to distance herself from the business over conflict of interest concerns. An annual report from G-III shows net sales of Ivanka Trump-licensed merchandise increased by more than $17 million in 2016.
G-III has not responded to an inquiry from HuffPost. Read the entire FLA report above.