Port Strike in California
Ends US retailers have welcomed the end to a strike that shut down most of the terminals at the ports of Los
Angeles and Long Beach for the past eight days.
"The retail community is pleased to see a settlement of the strike," said National Retail Federation CEO Matt
Shay. "We are happy both parties came together, with assistance from intermediaries, to reach a new contract
"The nation's largest port facility is now re-opened and operating and will hopefully be able to quickly
recover from the shutdown."
Attention will now shift to the East and Gulf Coast ports, where federal mediators have been locked in
prolonged discussions with labor and management for the past two months.
"We urge the parties to reach a final agreement before their contract extension ends at the end of December.
Retailers, manufacturers and the rest of the business community cannot afford another shutdown," he added.
A previous strike as a result of stalled negotiations in 2002 led to lingering supply chain disruptions and
cost the US economy US$1bn for each day of the lockout, Shay said late last week.
It took the ports a full six months to recover, and had a "profound" impact on the retailers, importers,
manufacturers, agricultural exporters and other affiliated industries that rely on the ports every day.
EU-Japan Free Trade Talks
European Union (EU) clothing and textile federation Euratex has decided to back the launch of free trade
negotiations between the EU and Japan, concluding that an agreement would favour Europe's textile and clothing
Luisa Santos, head of international trade at Euratex, said that the EU exported EUR1.7bn in clothing and
textiles to Japan in 2011, with clothing accounting for EUR1bn.
And with EU having "an overall positive trade balance in textile and clothing meaning we export more to Japan
more than importing from Japan," Santos said an agreement will have a "positive impact" on the EU
If successful, a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan "could deliver around 0.8% of GDP growth for the EU and
more than 400,000 jobs," predicted EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.
He said EU exports to Japan "could increase by 32.7%, while Japanese exports to the EU would increase by
23.5%" following a successful deal.
Ralph Kamphöner, director international trade and wholesale for EuroCommerce, which represents the
retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe, said he was "pleased the process for
negotiations have started," and they should benefit all
trade, including garments.
However the process may not be easy, especially as regards non-tariff barriers such as licensing,
labeling and consumer preferences for local products.
"Japan may sound open in theory but not so in practice," warned Kamphöner.
Fashion Photo Estefania & Montse
wearing AFAP Photo by Jerome Hamilton of Studio Time Photography
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Thousands of garment export containers are being held up in various cities across Pakistan following a strike
by transport workers that has so far lasted for ten days.
The truckers have been protesting against harassment and kidnapping of drivers in the province of Sindh.
Khalid Khan, president of the United Goods Transporters Alliance (UGTA), has threatened that the strike will
continue unless the problems are solved. But the authorities are being to intervene for bring the
protest to an end.
Ahsan Bashir, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), claims that textile and
clothing goods worth US$500m have been held up on their way to Karachi Port since 5 December.
Exporters are already facing serious challenges due to energy shortages and high production costs. The strike
is adding to their costs as cargoes are being sent by air, according to M Javed Bilwani, chairman of the
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA).
Over 75% of Pakistan's textile and clothing industry is located in the northern provinces of Punjab, Azad
Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtun Khwa, which send all export shipments through the southern port at Karachi.
Secrets In Lace Donates $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project On November 30th, Secrets in Lace Co-Founder and President Daniel J. Whitsett presented a $10,000 donation to the
Wounded Warrior Project executives in their Washington, D. C. offices. The donation
was raised through sales of the Secrets in Lace 2012 Collector's Calendar. The Wounded Warrior Project benefits wounded veterans and their families.
"We are truly awed by the work that the Wounded Warrior Project does each year,"
says Mr. Whitsett "and are happy to support our troops and their families. At Secrets In
Lace we believe in the fashion classics, but we also try to maintain values and support
causes that stand the test of time." To raise funds for the donation, Secrets In Lace
donated a portion of every sale of their popular 2012 Collector's Calendar. The calendar
features classic pinup shots that incorporate Secrets In Lace lingerie and classic WWII
aircraft. This year Secrets In Lace plans to donate a portion of each 2013 calendar sale
as well. About Secrets In Lace: Secrets In Lace is the preeminent provider of authentic nylon stockings and vintage
lingerie. The company began with one store in Northern Virginia in 1984 and has grown
into a worldwide mail order business. They recently launched a new site for European
customers to go along with their popular US website.
Secrets in Lace lingerie is worn by famous and influential people worldwide, including
Dita Von Teese. In addition to the Secrets In Lace Brand, they also exclusively design
and sell the Dita Von Teese Stocking Collection and the Bettie Page Lingerie Collection.
www.secretsinlace.com About the Wounded Warrior Project: The Wounded Warrior Project supports injured service members and their families while
raising awareness of the challenges they face as they return home. The Wounded
Warrior Project also runs programs that help with stress reduction, education, job
training, as well as family support and mentoring options.
LA Garment Factories Accused of Labor Violations Ten Los Angeles based garment contractors making clothes for retailers including Dillard's, Forever 21,
Ross Stores and Urban Outfitters have been accused of serious labour violations.
The firms were inspected during a sweep of a single building in the Los Angeles Fashion District earlier
this year by the US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division and the California Division of Labor Standards
Investigators found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) minimum wage, overtime and
record-keeping provisions - including more than $326,200 owed in back wages to 185 employees.
Other retailers who sourced from the firms include Aldo Group, Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse, Charlotte
Russe, Frasier Clothing (Susan Lawrence), HSN (Home Shopping Network), Rainbow Apparel, TJX Cos and Wet
"The extent of the violations discovered by these investigations was disappointing," said Secretary of
Labor Hilda Solis.
"Retailers need to actively ensure that clothes produced in the US for sale to the American public are
made by workers who are paid at least the US minimum wage and proper overtime."
Investigators found many garment employees were paid a piece rate - that is, paid for each piece they sewed or
cut - without regard to minimum wage or overtime pay requirements.
On average, workers' wages amounted to less than $6.50 per hour - well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25
per hour and the California minimum wage of $8 per hour.
None of the workers received the overtime premium of time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours
worked over 40 per week, as required under the FLSA.
Significant record-keeping violations also were disclosed, including falsified time cards and under-reporting or failing to maintain accurate records of
actual hours worked by garment employees.
Happiest Day "Congratulations my boy!" said the groom's uncle. "I'm sure you'll look back and remember today as the happiest day of your life."
"But I'm not getting married until tomorrow," protested his nephew.
"I know," replied the uncle. "That's exactly what I mean."