Houlahan’s Former Company Linked to Sweatshops in Report
The report, first detailed by City & State, pointed to financial ties between AND1 and factories owned by the Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group. The report says that forced overtime, subsistence wages and repressive management tactics were part of the routine practice at their plants, including the ones used by AND1.
From City & State:
But, according to interviews with former laborers, 75- to 100-hour workweeks were the norm, with employees earning just 35 cents an hour. The report notes that plant workers lived in “primitive” dormitories and were fed food that resembled “pig slop.” During working hours, employees were prohibited from talking on the factory floor and had to perform mandatory daily calisthenics routines while shouting company slogans.
While the report largely focuses on athletic apparel giant Puma’s links to Chinese sweatshops, one section states that conditions at AND1’s Pou Chen plant were “extremely similar if not exactly the same” to those documented at the Puma plant. A previous report on another Pou Chen facility, issued in the year 2000, included similar findings.
Houlahan responded saying that AND1 “worked very aggressively to have a very rigorous code of conduct for our manufacturers” and they “conducted very rigorous audits of all of our factories” according to City & State.
The National Republican Congressional Committee took issue with the report though.
“Chrissy Houlahan lined her pockets while her company exploited and abused Chinese laborers. Her history of personally profiting from sweatshop labor should alarm Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds and political affiliations,”NRCC spokesman Chris Martin said.
Incumbent Congressman Ryan Costello (R-Chester) did not comment on the report, but Houlahan went on the offensive against him.
“If my opponent is asking me about these things – about a company that was based in his district and employed many of his constituents – I would be frustrated a little bit. You know, one of the things that differentiates me from my opponent is that I actually know how to grow a business,” Houlahan said.