Forced overtime, cheated of wages, constant harassment, trapped in abject poverty in a Salvadoran sweatshop.
Chi Fung, S.A. de C.V.
Carretera Troncal del Norte Km. 12 ½
Apopa, San Salvador
Phone: (503) 2216-1060
Fax: (503) 2216-6048
Taiwanese-owned: Mr. Wen Ling Tsao
Workforce: Approximately 550 workers, 80 percent of whom are women.
NFL jerseys have been sewn under illegal sweatshop conditions at the Chi Fung factory in San Salvador for at least the last four years. In 2006 and 2007, it appears that the NFL jerseys being sewn at Chi Fung were a subcontract order from another garment factory called Partex. In 2008 and 2009, it is unclear if Reebok placed the orders for its exclusive line of NFL jerseys with Chi Fung directly, or whether production continued under subcontract agreements. At any rate, according to Chi Fung’s website, they are an “approved Reebok producer.”
In the year 2000, Reebok agreed to pay the NFL $250 million over the next ten years to be the exclusive apparel distributor for the National Football League. However, the NFL-Reebok mega-deal has done nothing to lift workers across the developing world who sew NFL jerseys out of poverty.
In 2008 and 2009, two production lines at Chi Fung were dedicated to NFL jerseys. The workers could easily rattle off the names of the team jerseys they have sewn—Colts, Vikings, Cowboys, Patriots, Ravens, Jets, Steelers, Giants, Green Bay Packers, Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Panthers and Raiders. Most of the jerseys they sewed carried the names and numbers of NFL star players such as Peyton Manning, Number 18, of the Superbowl-bound Indianapolis Colts.
In fact, the workers did not have much time to think about the players whose jerseys they were sewing. An assembly line of 28 workers had a mandatory production goal of completing 2,300 NFL jerseys in the regular nine-hour shift—from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with an hour off (a 20-minute morning break and 40 minutes for lunch). The production goal was 255 jerseys per hour, which meant that each of the 28 workers, in effect, had to sew nine jerseys per hour, or one jersey every 6.6 minutes. The workers were paid just 10 cents for each $80 Peyton Manning NFL jersey they sewed. This means that their wages amounted to just a little more than one-tenth of one percent of the jerseys’ retail price!