L.A. Fashion District A Fire Trap For Garment Workers, Study Finds

by MR Magazine Staff

Garment factories in the Los Angeles Fashion District are dusty, hot, poorly ventilated, vermin-infested and unsafe, according to a new study by researchers at UCLA. They are also fire traps, where managers block or even lock factory exits with employees inside. “I think we knew things were bad, but we didn’t know they were this bad,” says Mariela Martinez, an organizer with the Garment Worker Center, the organization that conducted surveys with 307 garment workers for the study. What most alarmed Martinez was that 42 percent of the workers reported that exits and doors in their shops were regularly blocked. Over the weekend while preparing for the report’s release, Martinez and her colleagues watched the news of the Oakland warehouse fire that claimed the lives of 36 people at the converted artist studio known as the Ghost Ship. Read more at L.A. Weekly.