A labor rights group alleged Tuesday that crucifixes sold in religious gift shops in the U.S. are produced under “horrific” conditions in a Chinese factory with more than 15-hour work days and inadequate food.
“It’s a throwback to the worst of the garment sweatshops 10, 20 years ago,” said Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee.
Kernaghan held a news conference in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to call attention to conditions at a factory in Dongguan, a southern Chinese city near Hong Kong, where he said crosses sold at the historic church and elsewhere are made.
Kernaghan said the factory’s mostly young, female employees work from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week and are paid 26 cents an hour with no sick days or vacation. Workers live in filthy dormitories and are fed a watery “slop.”
Trinity spokeswoman Diane Reed said her church had been “under the impression that these were mass-produced in Italy.”
Dongguan lies at the center of China’s export manufacturing industry, which relies heavily on low wages to remain competitive. Factories there have been accused in the past of labor abuses, including those making products for McDonald’s, Disney, Mattel and the Beijing Olympics.
National Labor Committee: http://www.nlcnet.org/