January 01, 1999 12:00 AM

Three years after TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford pledged to help end labor abuse in the apparel industry, her own inspectors are looking into claims that thousands of Salvadoran women currently produce clothing for her label by working 11-hour, six-day work weeks in sweltering conditions for a base wage of 60 cents an hour. Two former factory employees said they were fired after speaking up for workers’ rights. “We would like to meet with Kathie Lee, to tell her about conditions under which we produce her clothing,” Blanca Ruth Palacios, 43, said at a New York news conference Tuesday.

  • Gifford released a statement to the Associated Press expressing concern over the allegations. If they prove to be true, she said, “we will not allow that facility to continue manufacturing goods bearing my name.” In 1996 Gifford spoke before Congress and called sweatshop owners “cockroaches” after revelations that her clothing line had been produced under intolerable employee conditions.

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