07/09/2014 (press release: KGEmployment) // Eric Grover
Poor working conditions and other labor law violations were the grounds for a protest outside Skechers headquarters by port drivers, who want the company to enforce a code of conduct to address the “sweat-shop”-like working conditions of their contractors and subcontractors, reports California employment lawyer Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
The goal of the May 23, 2014 protest was to stop the abuse from the contracting and subcontracting companies Skechers’ employs, as the footwear company was having its annual shareholders meeting in Manhattan Beach. LAANE, a labor advocacy group, asserts that the working conditions at California distribution centers are routinely unsafe and have inhumane working conditions, where illegal employment terminations and abuse against immigrant workers is commonplace.
The Beach Reporter reported that the Justice for Port Driver’s spokesperson Barb Maynard illustrated the point as follows, “For example, a Green Fleet Systems driver whose wife was being rushed to the hospital due to having a miscarriage and when he requested to have his truckload handled by someone else while he saw to his family emergency, (sic) that if he handed over his truck to another worker and went to the hospital to take care of his wife, that he would be fired,” she said. “It’s time for Skechers to be accountable and responsible.”
Demonstrators collected as many as 25,000 signatures to demand that the footwear company take actions against their contractors to ensure they are following all ethical and legal labor laws and standards.
LAANE compiled a preliminary report, which was given to shareholders at the meeting, that stated, “worker testimony has revealed poor working conditions at both of Skechers’ contractors. At its trucking contractor, port drivers have experienced illegal wage reductions by their employer and described an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion. At its warehouse contractor, state regulators found health and safety violations and workers report unsafe conditions like exposure to extreme heat, blocked exits and inadequate training and protective equipment … As an increasingly successful brand, Skechers must swiftly address these issues and develop polices to ensure they are not the norm though out its supply chain.”
“It is the duty of companies like Skechers to ensure that all their contractors and subcontractors are abiding by all labor laws and ethical standards. They simply cannot turn a blind eye to the alleged ‘sweat shop’ working conditions and unfair treatment of their workers, who ensure their products hit store shelves across the U.S.,” says San Francisco employment lawyer Eric Grover. “I commend these workers for standing up for what they believe is right and fighting for better working conditions. Remember, as a worker, you do have a voice and you have the right to demand better treatment if your employer isn’t meeting labor law standards.
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