He had spent his latest 45-hour workweek hunched over a sewing machine, attaching labels and stitching collars and tightening black and gold blouses that would soon sell at bargain prices at a popular retailer. But now it was Saturday afternoon, paycheck time, when Pedro felt the full sting of that bargain: It was his own salary that helped keep the prices down for consumers. His manager gathered the 30-some workers from their stations in the unmarked brick building and passed out payslips. For the week, he said, he’d been paid $225. Or $5 per hour. “There’s nothing to do but take it,” Pedro said in an interview earlier this month, recalling his workweek. While immigrants often face criticism for stealing jobs, they are the ones being increasingly undercut in America’s clothing industry, forced to accept wages below the legal minimum as retailers fight to pass on bargain prices to consumers. According to the recent Labor Department report, clothing prices at many retailers would have to rise nearly 40 percent for workers to be paid the minimum wage. The garments made by underpaid workers most often get sold at fast fashion or discount retailers like Forever 21, TJ Maxx, and Ross Dress for Less, according to the Labor Department. The typical garment worker is somebody like Pedro, a Mexican who slipped over the hills around Tijuana in 1986, spent his first American night in the back of the trunk, arrived in Los Angeles the next morning, found a garment job soon after, and only now, at age 48, was wondering why things had gotten so hard. Pedro, who is still undocumented, requested that his last name not be used out of fear of deportation. Read more at The Washington Post.