|We can easily make these American Apparel threads in St. Louis. Can't we?|
But alas, the American Apparel never opened its doors here. The closest store, according to the company's website, is in Kansas City.
That's fine by us. We're practical Midwesterners who still buy our tighty-whities at Kmart for 1/5 the price you'll find them at American Apparel. But given the news today, might we suggest that instead of a store, American Apparel moves its clothing factory to St. Louis.
That's because a U.S. federal probe has found that 1,600 employees (one-third the workforce) at American Apparel's Los Angeles factory are not authorized to work in the United States.
The company, known for its colorful T-shirts and other basics worn by urban hipsters, has made immigration reform a central theme of its corporate message.
Chief Executive Dov Charney has called for the legalization of foreign workers, and the company has used "Legalize LA" as a slogan on billboards and T-shirts.
American Apparel's Los Angeles operations, which employ some 4,500 workers, churn out some 230,000 garments per day in an environment in which workers are paid above minimum wage, enjoy subsidized health care and meals, and take part in free English classes.
Sure, a move to St. Louis wouldn't allow Charney to beat his chest (or other appendages) about immigration reform as we have far fewer foreigners than other cities. But think of the money American Apparel would save! We don't need free English classes. And, hell, we'll work for whatever the company is willing to pay -- especially considering unemployment in the area now stands at 9 percent or 128,000 workers.
So what do you say, Dov? Move production to St. Louis. I know it ain't hip, but we are perfectly center and remarkably connected.