Retail executives keep quiet as government tightens grip on fashion industry

Baseball stories can be as exciting as retail interactions. The best ball players take the field, make the right choices, play with inspiration, and lead their teams to victory.

To better describe this scenario:Who“He was a baseball player on first base.”whatwas the second player.Do not know” is the player in charge of third base, tomorrow was a pitcher. Lou Costello then said: Whoso far The man runs second because it drops the ball. Who pick up the ball and throw it what. what throw to do not know. do not know toss back to tomorrow – triple play by the famous Abbott and Costello routine”.

Unfortunately for the fashion retail industry, many industry executives have opted for a quieter approach to the game of baseball. I let Instead of fighting back, most of these retail fashion leaders tend to talk about being good corporate citizens or how their respective companies are responding to new laws that clearly disrupt their day-to-day operations. I have. They will also discuss future legislation that may point in their direction by making the fait accompli (for everyone paying attention). Perhaps you are afraid of criticism. Responsible companies already know their mission and are deeply embedded in their corporate culture.

May 12th A proclamation from the fashion capital of the world this year – New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dropped the original fabric act (debtashoning aaccountability and B.make Meinstitutional C.Hange) had considerable publicity and little parliamentary support. To date, he has been the originator of this bill. Three liberal Democrats – Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-Ca) and one very liberal independent – Bernie Sanders (I -Vt). To make the bill great, they included incentives to revive the apparel assembly business. It authorizes fines of up to $50 million for violations related to paying factories below the federal minimum wage.It also creates a new position within the Department of Labor called “Undersecretary of the Garment Industry.”

If Senator Gillibrand’s bill doesn’t get the attention of the retail industry, the US House of Representatives announced its own bill in July. fabric act As suggested by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Debbie Dingell (D-Mi), and Deborah Ross (D-North Carolina). Rep. Maloney says he has favored New York’s Garment Center in the past and is currently in a bitter battle with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) for a single reconstituted Congressional seat in New York. It’s no exaggeration to say that Congressmen may have pushed this bill to get on Senator Gillibrand’s good side. The bill could easily get strong support from the unions who vote in the primary.

Legislation like this always seems exciting on the surface (especially with the help of well-crafted media releases), but when people in the industry dig into the details, these new bills are golden. It’s easy to see how easy it is to kill a goose. egg. Data shows that there are about 100,000 garment assembly jobs in the United States, with most jobs located in California and New York. Both states have high minimum wage laws (about $15 an hour). Traditionally, the key to garment manufacturing is the “piece of work” (units per worker day) that allows for higher productivity. Federal legislation mandated a switch to hourly wages (from piecework), so production could move from states with higher minimum wages to states with lower federal minimum wages ($7.25 per hour). I have. Surprisingly, under the California and Gillibrand bills, if collective bargaining agreements are in place, you can (actually) pay for a fee (and that’s a lot about the power to push legislation). will tell you).

In addition to federal law, New York State miraculously came up with its own version of the fashion industry, called the “Fashion Act,” proposed by Senator Alessandra Biaggi. It is interesting to note that the current Congressman, Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and his (re-districted) seat are in fierce political competition. The Biaggi bill called for companies operating in New York with sales above her $100 million to survey, map her 50% of their supply chain, and report a list of the materials they produce. It’s especially bad because It also mandates listing the average wages of workers on the preferred supplier list and mandates wage comparisons between local minimum wages and living wages. To make matters worse, any citizen can file a civil lawsuit against a person or company “alleged” to violate this law, with hefty fines.

It’s clear that the U.S. government wants fashion retailers to stop buying products from China since Trump’s tariffs started. With 37% still arriving from China, it remains difficult for retailers to quickly exit the supply chain. In August 2019, former President Trump tweeted: Our great American companies are hereby ordered to bring your company home and immediately begin looking for an alternative home to China, including manufacturing your products in America. ”

With the former president’s reference to the home front, there’s another issue that the Federal Reserve consistently ignores (or forgets) when talking about private sector apparel wage legislation. By law, all clothing manufactured for the U.S. military must be manufactured entirely in the United States. But the federal government quietly maintains an independent company called UNICOR, which is often employed by the military and pays workers (prison inmates) wages of $0.23 to $1.15 an hour. His 2021 sales (defined as clothing and textiles) in the region were listed as $127,956,000. UNICOR is part of the Federal Prison Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The reality of UNICOR begs the question of what’s good for gander — it should be equally good for geese. Unless, of course, geese dictate wage regulation.

When the Biden team took over in 2020, the industry expected the new administration to be reasonable about the world of the fashion industry. is getting worse. Initially, the administration decided to “investigate” all tariffs. After that, they failed to get Congress to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. They then targeted “hot spot” countries where they feared losing trade gains (as a tool for dispute resolution). Team He Biden then withdrew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from Ethiopia and threatened Nicaragua by scrapping the China-US Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). There is a military takeover in Myanmar and GSP may also be lost. U.S. ports are still in turmoil, contract negotiations are not yet complete, and some rail terminals are not doing so well. Under the recently passed Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), containers arriving from China will be seized or returned within 30 days if the importer cannot prove that the goods were not manufactured with forced labor.

Apparel retailers and brands are constantly working to protect the environment, protect national and international garment workers, and remain aware of manufacturing in “hot spots” around the world. The problem now is that so many new laws continue to be proposed that retail executives are clearly numb to the attack. Perhaps you feel that everything will eventually settle down and perhaps the situation will improve.

For every inch the retail industry yields to the government, there is another 2 inches of disruption and 3 inches of inflation. At this point the entire fashion industry needs to unite and summon the forces that are trying to over-regulate.

Howard Beale, the fictional Anchorman (in the 1976 film Communication network) – Everyone was encouraged to stick their heads out the window and shout.I’m so mad, I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Howard Beale also said:Things have to change. But first, don’t get mad!

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