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Wet Seal Stockholder Meeting in Costa Mesa

by ANTI-SWEATSHOP LABOR Wednesday, May. 26, 2004 at 7:56 AM

Come out and tell The Wet Seal it's time to respect Mexican worker rights in Costa Mesa!

Come out and tell The Wet Seal it's time to respect Mexican worker rights!

Mexican workers from the Tarrant company's Ajalpan denim factory are again asking for support of their campaign for labor justice, this time by protesting outside of The Wet Seal stores in Washington DC, Chicago, and Berkeley, as well as The Wet Seal Shareholder's meeting in Costa Mesa, California on Thursday, May 27th. If you are in any of these cities,
please come out to protest worker rights violations by The Wet Seal's supplier, the Tarrant Apparel Group.

If you don't live in these four areas please send a letter to The Wet Seal asking them stop doing business with the Tarrant Apparel Group until they respect Mexican worker rights. Letters should contain the demands listed below and can be sent to:

Peter Whitford, CEO of The
Wet Seal Inc., 26972
Burbank, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610,
Fax: (949) 699-4046,
E-mail:peter.whitford@wetseal.com,
cc:larry.smith@wetseal.com.

Campaign Background:
Wet Seal is a major client of the Tarrant Apparel Group (TAG), which has continually violated worker rights.  The Tarrant worker justice campaign began in June 2003 when 800 workers from Tarrant's Ajalpan denim factory
in Mexico held a work stoppage to demand payment of their legally-entitled benefits, improved health and safety conditions, and an end to forced overtime. When they formed an independent union, SUITTAR, to address these problems, 8 union leaders and over 250 supporters were fired. Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) [See a US LEAP report and links to the WRC report at http://www.usleap.org/Maquilas/maquilatempnew.htm#Tarrant] and Verité have independently confirmed the workers' allegations. In February 2004, TAG closed the plant and dismissed 450 more workers. Mexican authorities have unfairly denied SUITTAR's legal recognition. The case is being reviewed by the US and Canadian governments citing violations of NAFTA's labor side accord. A public hearing in Canada will be held on May 28. Since these injustices were exposed, Limited Brands, Levi Strauss, and Charming Shoppes have stopped doing business with Tarrant-Mexico, causing a projected $75 million loss in 2004 orders.

The Wet Seal has known about Tarrant Apparel Group's violations of Mexican
law for nine months. Limited Brands, Levi Strauss & Co. and Charming Shoppes have stopped placing orders with Tarrant-Mexico, yet The Wet Seal has failed to adequately address worker rights violations by Tarrant.

Campaign Demands:
Ajalpan workers demand that The Wet Seal join other apparel industry leaders by refusing to do business with Tarrant and businesses affiliated with Tarrant's major shareholders until Tarrant (1) reopens the Ajalpan factory, (2) rehires fired workers, and (3) recognizes the independent union.

TAKE ACTION!
Attend protests in front of The Wet Seal stores at noon (local time) on May 27th in the following cities. Please contact the local point persons for further information.  If you would like general information on actions or the campaign, please contact Alison Paul at US/LEAP, at 773-262-6502 or apaul@usleap.org.

Berkeley
Wet Seal store at 2360 Telegraph Ave, 96705  
May 27th, 12 pm Local point person: United Students Against Sweatshops,  
Rael Silva 510-717-4622, azraelguevara@hotmail.com

Washington DC
Wet Seal store at Georgetown, 1225 Wisconsin Ave NW,  (20007) 12pm, May 27th Local Point Person: Campaign for Labor Rights, Yumiko Locussol or
Kathy Hoyt (202) 544-9355 or yumiko@afgj.org or Kathy@afgj.org

Chicago
Wet Seal store at 7 N. State St.   12pm May 27th
Local Point Person: The U.S./Labor Education in the
Americas Project, Alison Paul 773-262-6502,  apaul@usleap.org

Costa Mesa, CA  If you are in or near Costa Mesa, CA (about an hour south of LA) you can support Ajalpan workers by protesting outside the Wet Seal shareholders meeting at the Westin South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd, also on May 27th at 10am. For further information on the shareholder protests
please contact: Sweatshop Watch ? Los Angeles Office (213) 748 5945
www.sweatshopwatch.org.
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