• Home
  • News
  • Podcast
  • Podcast: The struggle of a garment worker in the US

Podcast: The struggle of a garment worker in the US

By FashionUnited


Scroll down to read more


Kledingarbeiders in Bangladesh Credits: Sumit Suryawanshi voor FashionUnited

Hear the true story of Lorena (not her real name), a garment worker in Los Angeles' Fashion District in this podcast. She goes to work every day and sews about 30 t-shirt collars or 50 backpack zips, depending on the day's assignment. She gets paid a few cents a piece. This is now illegal under California's 2022 Garment Workers Protection Act, which banned piece-work and required workers to be paid by the hour.

But in Lorena's factory, nothing changed. Until she decided to take a stand against low wages and harsh working conditions: ‘Tú crees que está bien, lo que no está pagando el patrón, verdad no?’ she asked her colleagues. ‘Do you think it's fair what the owner pays us?’

Podcast host Alice Wilder recounts Lorena's struggle for a fair wage and its impact on her life. There are over 40,000 garment workers in Los Angeles, producing huge amounts of trendy clothes at high speed at low prices. Like Lorena, many of them are paid a so-called piece rate, meaning they are paid per piece they sew, which is sometimes lower than the minimum wage, and that is illegal.

In the podcast, Alice talks to labour studies professor Alfredo Carlos about the people trying to change the garment industry. "We don't have the enforcement capabilities," Prof Carlos explains, "and that's a political choice."

Fast fashion