IR #98-8
Friday, March 20, 1998

Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835


SAN FRANCISCO --John C. Duncan, Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations today presented a donation of new clothing to COPES (Child or Parental Emergency Services), an organization serving the needs of abused and neglected children in Orange County. The clothing was made by those who worked for underground garment manufacturers, confiscated during enforcement actions by labor investigators at the illegal garment shops.

"I am very pleased to be able to make this donation of clothing to an organization performing such important work here in Orange County," Duncan said. "Our labor investigators have the often thankless task of enforcing laws that result in the confiscation of apparel such as this and it is rewarding to know that COPES will provide a positive result to their efforts by providing this clothing to the young people under their care."

The clothing came to the Department as a result of inspections of underground sweatshops, primarily in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas by investigators of the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, a Division of the Department of Industrial Relations.

"The confiscation law is intended to deter those shops which seek to undercut their legitimate competition by avoiding their obligations to pay taxes, cover their employees for workers' compensation insurance or even pay the minimum wage," said Duncan. The merchandise cannot be resold, but must either be donated for noncommercial use, or destroyed.

"It is on behalf of our state labor investigators and the victims of the underground economy for whom they provide their services, that this donation is made," Duncan said.

COPES was founded 20 years ago to work with abused children and their families to enable each child to become a trusting individual with the potential to develop into a caring, responsible and productive member of society. COPES provides group homes equipped to keep siblings together and provides diagnostic assessment, counseling and therapy for children who need it most.

"The children served by COPES carry the hopes and dreams of California's future," Duncan added. "The enforcement actions taken that made this clothing available will help secure a strong and vibrant economy in which these children and others like them may some day excel."

# # #