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Labor Rights Activists Picket in Garment District

by A Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2006 at 8:29 AM

LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2006 – The colorful Santee Alley in the downtown fashion district where small storeowners compete for business and shoppers hunt for bargains is always a lively scene on weekends. But, this weekend it got a little more lively as activists for workers rights picketed one of the small shops on Santee Alley.

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The store, Yessi Fashion, has a history of ill treatment towards its employees, which until now has gone largely unchallenged. Workers have been tolerating long shifts without breaks, unpaid overtime and poor working conditions for years, but the breaking point came last Saturday when one worker who has worked there faithfully for the last nine months was fired for calling in sick.

After one week of organizing and getting the word out. The Progressive Alliance along with members of World Can’t Wait and oversight from the National Lawyers Guild picketed the store this Sunday afternoon. They are demanding that Yessi Fashion give all their employees the two 15 minute breaks and 30 minutes lunch break during their 8 hour shift as is required by law, that all workers are fully compensated for overtime pay and for improved working conditions.

The picket line was peaceful except for some aggressive intimidation tactics from the undercover security units that patrol the alley. The quick action of an observer from the National Lawyers Guild enabled the protest to continue despite the threats of the security guards. The police were called yet unconvinced of the security guards assertion that the alley was private property. The police allowed the protest to continue, however they did confiscate the protesters bullhorn, it was later returned after the protest.

This was the first of a number of planned actions to achieve justice for the employees of Yessi Fashion as well as the garment district at large

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