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Democrats applaud Gap for wage hikes, but company uses sweatshop labor

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is the latest in a line of Democrats praising the Gap’s wage hike initiative.

Quinn applauded the store for setting a precedent for other large companies that currently employ minimum wage workers.

“Gap Inc. is leading the pack in raising the minimum wage to build an economy that works for everyone,” he said. “Hardworking men and women in Gap stores all over Illinois will benefit from this increase. Illinois and the rest of the nation should follow Gap’s good example.”

As part of the White House’s initiative to raise the federal minimum wage from $9.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, President Obama also touted Gap for plans to hike its wages when he visited one of the store’s locations earlier this month in New York City.

While in the store, Obama told reporters “I want to congratulate the Gap for doing the right thing.”

By 2015, Gap plans to bump wages up to $10 for 65,000 workers across the United States, but workers across the sea will still be enduring 100 hour weeks, making 20 to 24 cents per hour.

Although the pink sweaters Obama bought for his daughters were made in China, much of Gap’s clothing is made in sweatshops in Bangladesh.

According to a report conducted by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, Next Collection factory in Ashulia, Bangladesh, where 70 percent of production is for Gap and Old Navy, workers are forced to pull 14-to 17-plus-hou shifts, seven days a week.

Gap has put immense resources in creating an idealistic image for itself, Liana Foxvog of the International Labor Rights Forum, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

When asked whether or not she thought the president’s and Quinn’s endorsement of the clothing company was ill-considered, she responded, “I think it is important to take a deeper look at a company and not paint an overly rosy picture.”

The report also noted that for the last two-and-a-half years, Gap has been complicit with Next Collections in a scam to defraud the workers of their legal wages and benefits. It claims that factory management has been handing out phony pay slips in a scheme to make it appear that Gap is in compliance with legal hours and wages.

But in reality, the report suggests, Gap garment workers are paid in cash, off the books and cheated 15 percent of their overtime hours.

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