IR #98-38
Friday, October 30, 1998

Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835

Labor Commissioner Donates Clothing To Sheriff's Toy Drive

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) will be donating over 5,000 pieces of new clothing, made by those who worked for underground garment manufacturers, to the Ninth Annual Sheriff's Department Toy Drive, for holiday distribution to needy children throughout Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in conjunction with KKHJ Radio will be hosting the "First Annual Festival De Estrellas Para Ninos", on Sunday, November 1, 1998 at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena to kick off their holiday toy and clothing drive.

"The hard work by our employees, coupled with the meticulous efforts of many California garment workers, is resulting in multiple benefits," said California Labor Commissioner, Jose Millan. "Not only does this help many of the individuals and families who lack some of life's necessities," he said, "but it occurs at the expense of underground employers who undermine this vital California industry."

The children's garments came to the Department as a result of inspections of underground sweatshops by employees of the Department's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, under the direction of Commissioner Millan.

"Whenever we find an illegally unregistered shop violating state labor codes, the law allows confiscation of the merchandise, so that it is taken out of commerce," Millan said. 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. The merchandise cannot be resold, but must either be donated for noncommercial use, or destroyed.

"Destruction of these garments would not serve the needs of the men, women and children who will be the recipients of these clothes," Millan said. "Anyone who receives one of these items of apparel should wear it proudly," Millan added. "Wear them knowing that by doing so, you are helping to erase the efforts of those who attempt to undermine this valuable California industry and the jobs that it provides."