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Is Ikea's U.S. Factory One Big, Fat, Racist, Modern-Day Sweatshop?

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The first American Ikea factory, located in Danville, Va., has recently come under attack for a variety of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things ranging from forcing overtime work upon its 335 employees to mandating when they can take eight of their 12 allotted vacation days. In addition, despite the fact that the furniture chain's Swedwood factories in Sweden are unionized, workers in Virginia have been required attend meetings where they've been scared out of forming a union. Topping it all off are six black workers who have filed discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for being continually assigned overnight shifts in the lowest-paying departments. (Swedwood just settled one for a paltry $2,000.) Still, maintains one of the plant's Sweden-based union leaders, "Ikea is a very strong brand and they lean on some kind of good Swedishness in their business profile. That becomes a complication when they act like they do in the United States." Another spokesperson called the situation "sad." Here's a word of advice, guys: being racist and treating employees without dignity is more than just a "complication," and it's more than just "sad."

· Ikea's U.S. factory churns out unhappy workers [L.A. Times via Boing Boing]