Ivanka's clothes come with more than just a high price tag.
Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand has made a fortune on empowering their target demographic of working women to “have it all”. However, this certainly does not extend to the women who work in factories overseas producing the brand’s clothing.
A recent exposé by the Guardian reveals the exploitive practices at PT Buma Apparel Industry, a factory in Indonesia that supplies clothing to G-III Apparel Group, the wholesale manufacturer for the Ivanka Trump label.
The working conditions described by long-time employees at Buma include being routinely subject to verbal abuse (called “animals, moron, and monkey”) and cheated into working unpaid overtime to keep up with unrealistic demands for high production.
The factory is in a province in Indonesia with one of the lowest national minimum wages— 2.3 million rupiah or $173 USD. Around 2,700 people are employed there, and nearly three-quarters are women. These women would probably never dream of paying the high price tags associated with the Ivanka Trump label.
The brand projects Ivanka as the clean, idyllic modern feminist, and touts “inspiring and empowering women to create the lives they want to lead.” Although Ivanka Trump stepped down from running the brand earlier this year, all products still carry the weight of her signature.
Employees making the clothing aren’t ignorant about the Trump family and Trump Administration policies. One woman interviewed by the Guardian laughed when hearing about the recent book Ivanka Trump authored about “work-life balance”.
Work-life balance, said the woman, would be if she could afford to see her kids more than once a month. Her husband agreed, referring to the so-called Muslim-ban, “We don’t like Donald Trump’s policies…But we’re not in a position to make employment decisions based on our principles.”
Many of the workers are Muslim, in fact. Toto Sunarto, leader of the SPSI union explained that the company often fired hundreds of employees right before Ramadan, to avoid paying a “religious holiday bonus” mandated by the Indonesian government. Last month in May, 290 people were fired before Ramadan, said Sunarto.
The benefits offered to permanent female employees of the Buma factory include: “three months’ paid maternity leave, mandatory federal health insurance and a monthly bonus of $10.50 if they don’t take a day off for menstruation.”
American labor rights activist Jim Keady has worked extensively in Indonesia. He says “These poverty wages — and I would call it that — just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it is moral… The buck stops with [Ivanka Trump]. It’s her name that’s on the dress. Without her there is no brand.”