Adding to recent allegations that Ikea used East German prisoners to manufacture sofas in the 1970s, six Cuban-American Congresspeople have sent a letter to Ikea North America president Mike Ward requesting "a meeting to discuss recent reports alleging that IKEA has knowingly benefitted or sought to benefit from the use of Cuban prison labor to manufacture its products." According to the Huffington Post, the retailer struck a deal with Cuba in 1987 that enlisted Castro-era inmates to produce tens of thousands of dining tables, children's furniture, and other products. The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which first broke the story, reported that Ikea factories were actually incorporated into certain Cuban prisons.
Anyway, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has this to say about the matter: "Multinational corporations have a moral obligation to assure their businesses are not violating human rights. We look forward to getting answers from IKEA on our multiple concerns stemming from these accusations.” Meanwhile, Ikea has added this brouhaha to the internal investigation it launched when the East Germany situation presented itself. Any other countries wanna get in on the deal?
· Did Ikea Once Force Political Prisoners to Make its Furniture? [Curbed National]
· Ikea Criticized For Alleged Use Of Cuban Political Prisoners [Huffington Post]
· Cuban Americans in Congress want meeting with IKEA over Cuban prisoners [Miami Herald]