I-"Merlina's Job in Oscar Herrera's Factory" - Merle Linda Wolin - Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

I-"Merlina's Job in Oscar Herrera's Factory" - Merle Linda Wolin - Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

by: Merle Linda Wolin | publication date: January 14, 1981 | Publication: Los Angeles Herald-Examiner | pages: A1 & A10

It was almost 5 P.M. on a Tuesday when I stepped out of the elevator onto the factory room floor.  I stood quietly, looking anxiously to both sides of the now empty sewing shop.  Near the entrance, a dark-haired man in a white t-shirt stood working at a long, wooden table piled high with red cloth.  His name: Oscar Herrera, owner of the shop.  Late afternoon light filtered through the rows of sooty windows that formed one entire wall of the large production room.  He motioned for me.   "Venga venga! Come here!" he said in Spanish.  "What are you looking for?"  "Busco trabajo. I am looking for work," I said nervously.  "Do you know how to sew?" he countered.  I nodded yes, not wanting to lie outright.  He told me they had work and that if I could make this jacket - he walked over to a rack of clothes and held up a white blazer - and this dress - he held up a short-sleeved red one - I could have a job.  

The first in a series of articles about LA sweatshops, based on undercover reporting as a Spanish-speaking worker by Linda Wolin.

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