Reports

December, 01 2000 |  Share

Unmasking Starvation Wages

Bugle Boy Cargo Jeans for Sale in Kohl's

  • Women in Nicaragua paid 31 cents for each pair of jeans they sew;

  • Wages amount to less than one percent of the retail price for the jeans.

Internal company production control sheets show that 36,290 pairs of Bugle Boy Cargo jeans--carrying the style number 9177--were sewn on Line 1 at the Chentex factory in Nicaragua. This style number, 9177, then allowed us to track down the labor cost.

Other company documents smuggled out of the Chentex factory show that there are 54 steps required to complete style no. 9177 Cargo jeans. These would be the most complicated jeans sewn at Chentex: six-pocket jeans with button flaps on the two back and two side pockets. This is why it takes 54 steps rather than the more usual 38 steps required to complete a standard 5-pocket pair of jeans.

The company assigns a piece rate value to each specific operation, breaking the pay rate down to one-thousandths of a cent.

The total piece rate paid for all 54 operations comes to 3.984 cordobas, or just 31 U.S. cents. ($1.00 = 12.9 cordobas)

Given that these Bugle Boy Cargo Millenium Series jeans retail for at least $34, the wages paid to the sewers in Nicaragua amounted to just 9/10ths of one percent of the retail price.

 

 

 

 

 

Cherokee Jeans for Sale in Target

 

  • Women in Nicaragua paid just 20 cents for each pair of jeans they sew;
  • Wages amount to less than one percent of retail price for the jeans;
  • Cherokee jeans marked up 172 percent.

Internal company documents show that 44,094 pairs of Cherokee jeans sewn on lines 5 and 4 at the Chentex factory in Nicaragua.

Other company production documents smuggled out of the Chentex factory show that there are 38 sewing operations required to complete the standard five-pocket piar of full length

Cherokee jeans. The company assigns a piece rate value to each operation, which is broken down to the thousandth of a cent.

The total piece rate paid for all 38 operations comes to 2.574 cordobas, or just 20 cents. (2.574 cordobas div. by 12.9 exchange rate = $0.19953.)

Given that these Cherokee jeans retail at Target for $21.99, the sewers wages in Nicaragua amount to only 9/10ths of one percent of the retail price of the jeans.

Shipping documents show 3024 pairs of Cherokee jeans made at the Chentex factory being shipped to Target arriving on June 25, 2000 at Port Everglades in Florida, carrying a landed Customs value of $24,444--$8.08 per pair of jeans.

Given that the retail price for these blue jeans is $21.99, this represents a mark-up of 172 percent.

Note: The legally required RN number on the jeans, RN 17730, identifies Target as the manufacturer.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.C. Penney's Arizona Jeans

  • Women in Nicaragua paid just 19 cents for each pair of jeans they sew;

  • Wages come to less than one percent of the retail price of the jeans.

 

Internal company production documents smuggled out of the Chentex factory in Nicaragua show that there are 39 steps, or sewing operations, required to complete a full-length, 5-pocket pair of Arizona blue jeans. The company assigns each operation a piece rate value which is broken down to the thousandth of a cent.

The total piece rate paid for all 39 operations comes to 2.3975 cordobas, or just 18 ½ cents, ($1.00 U.S. = 12.9 cordobas.)

Given that the J.C. Penney Arizona jeans retail for $19.99 in the U.S., the wages paid to the sewers in Nicaragua amounts to just 9/10ths of one percent of the retail price of the jeans.

 

 

 

 

 

J.C. Penney's Arizona Shorts

  • Nicaraguan women paid just 17 cents for each pair of shorts they sew

 

Internal company production documents smuggled out of the Chentex factory in Nicaragua show that there are 36 operations necessary to complete a pair of J.C. Penney Arizona jean shorts. Each operation is assigned a piece rate value by the company, broken down to thousandths of a cent.

The total piece rate paid for all 36 operations comes to 2.2115 cordobas, or just 17 U.S. cents. ($1.00 U.S. = 12.9 cordobas.)