Dov Charney, who still owns 43% of American Apparel, the company he founded and from which he was ousted, is encouraging the company’s textile workers to organize, according to Buzzfeed.
Charney, gave a speech to 300 factory workers in South Central Los Angeles. Judging by the speech, it seems like he was trying to echo John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
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Charney’s version: “Don’t ask what you can do for me. Don’t ask what you can do for yourselves. Ask what you can do for the company, ” he said according to Buzzfeed, and the listeners applauded.
They listened with sympathy about the saga of Charney’s downfall. According to Charney, he needed Standard General’s help and they turned on him and encouraged the board to betray him. Standard General promised Charney he would get his job back, but instead they used pushed him further and further away from the company. Although he owns a sizeable number of shares, he is not allowed to sell them, due to a lockup.
He then enumerated the incompetence of the current management, claimed they didn’t know what to produce, were laying people off and mistreating their workers because they don’t know how to run American Apparel. “What’s more, they don’t have a connection to the history of the company, and it is dangerous.” Charney says the workers were paid $30, 000 while he was still CEO, but under new management, their wages are being cut drastically. He feels that the culture of fair treatment for his workers is being threatened by the change of the guard at American Apparel, which seems to care about profits more than the company’s principles.
While a spokesperson for management said the company supports the workers right to free speech, new American Apparel CEO Paula Schneider sent a company-wide memo that someone from outside the company was trying to sabotage management. According to Retail Dive, Schneider wrote, “I encourage you not to be influence by unfounded personal attacks or baseless threats about job security sent by outsiders who do not have the company’s best interests at heart.”