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March 15, 2012  | by: Martha Adjei

Alexander Wang

A lot of Americans think that the sweatshop issue is worlds away. But if you live in the Philadelphia area like I do, the nearest controversy is not even two hours away because last week, renowned designer Alexander Wang was accused of abusing workers at his factory at 386 Broadway.

The telegraph says that a former worker in the factory by the name of Wenyu Lu brought forth a $450 million lawsuit saying that the workers had “16-hour days with overtime in an unventilated, windowless 200-ft square room.”

Wenyu Lu was fired from his job after complaining about the sour working conditions and attempting to apply for worker’s compensation after working 84 hours in one week. The telegraph article says that thirty of Wang’s co-workers have since joined the suing frenzy.

Ecouterre says that Asian immigrants in Chinatown where the factory is are often targets for this type of work, since they are new immigrants and don’t speak a lot of English. Lu also describes working 25-hours straight without break.

But Wang and his corporate friends deny the claims of poor working condition and long hours.

“The company takes its obligations to comply with the law very seriously, including the relevant wage and hour regulations, the payment of overtime to eligible employees and having a safe working environment for all of our employees,” said Wang’s spokeswoman. “We will vehemently defend any allegations to the contrary.”

I can’t believe Wang went so long without being busted by anyone! It makes me wonder who else has a sweatshop running in a place where we say that everyone is “free.” It really is a scary thought. If these allegations are true, I hope the workers get the compensation they deserve.

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