Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dov Charney; spawn of Satan or business icon?

Or both?

Charney has a very long history of untoward relationships with his employees. When the board at American Apparel finally found their mojo and kicked him out of his own company today, the stock skyrocketed.

While that may be cause for celebration in certain quarters, I would like to inject a note of caution.

Where does this leave the thousands of AA employees who were making a living wage at a US clothing manufacturer?

With Charney side-lined, are we going to see the company fall to some hedgie who comes up with the brilliant idea to keep the brand but off-shore the manufacturing?

After all, you don't have to pay some brown person in LA twelve bucks an hour to sew T-shirts when folks in Cambodia and Bangladesh are clamouring to do the same work for twelve bucks a week.

And only the most naive do-gooder imagines that the twelve-dollar-a-day factories in Asia protect the rights of those young female employees who are most vulnerable.

I don't know Dov Charney and I can't say he's a good guy or a bad guy, but I do know that he built up a clothing manufacturer that is famous far and wide for paying decent wages IN AMERICA in an industry that has absconded lock stock and barrel to low-wage countries.

The jury is out.

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