Gar­ment work­ers rally

Dozens protest ru­mors — de­nied by the firm — of plans to close a med­i­cal clinic.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Shan Li shan.li@la­times.com

Dozens of Amer­i­can Ap­parel em­ploy­ees protest ru­mors — de­nied by the firm — of plans to close a med­i­cal clinic.

Dozens of Amer­i­can Ap­parel work­ers gath­ered in down­town Los An­ge­les on Fri­day to protest the ru­mored closing of the com­pany’s med­i­cal clinic, a ben­e­fit long touted as cen­tral to the firm’s lauded treat­ment of em­ploy­ees.

The Los An­ge­les com­pany, mean­while, said such ru­mors are “cat­e­gor­i­cally false.”

“Amer­i­can Ap­parel has no plans to close its on-site med­i­cal clinic,” the com- pany said in a state­ment.

But Amer­i­can Ap­parel em­ploy­ees, who were af­fected by lay­offs and fur­loughs this year, wanted to pre­emp­tively act to pres­sure man­age­ment to avoid closing the clinic, said Na­tivo Lopez, se­nior ad­vi­sor of Her­man­dad Mex­i­cana, which has been or­ga­niz­ing Amer­i­can Ap­parel work­ers.

Lopez said “man­age­ment sources” at Amer­i­can Ap­parel tipped off the work­ers that the com­pany was plan­ning to close the clinic to slash costs.

Those ru­mors prompted about 75 work­ers to protest out­side the J.W. Mar­riott Ho­tel in down­town Los An­ge­les on Fri­day, where Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paula Sch­nei­der was giv­ing a key­note ad­dress to the Na­tional Assn. of Women Busi­ness Own­ers. Sch­nei­der has said that the com­pany has added ex­tra benefits for work­ers, in­clud­ing paid sick leave and hol­i­days; they also get health in­sur­ance.

Ousted Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Dov Char­ney, who sup­ported fair pay and bet­ter treat­ment of em­ploy­ees, has long pointed to the clinic as a pil­lar of his busi­ness phi­los­o­phy. The board fired Char­ney last year, cit­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct with em­ploy­ees and mis­use of com­pany funds.

Most work­ers “de­pend on the clinic for pri­mary care ser­vices for them­selves and for their chil­dren,” Lopez said. “That’s why we are out here to­day.”

Bar­bara David­son L.A. Times

Bar­bara David­son Los An­ge­les Times

MARIA SAL­GADO joins Amer­i­can Ap­parel work­ers at a protest Fri­day out­side a down­town L.A. ho­tel where Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paula Sch­nei­der was speak­ing.

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