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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hanging by a Thread!  Los Angeles Garment Workers' Struggle to Access Quality Care for their Children


With funding support from the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Garment Worker Center, the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education (UCLA Labor Center), and Research Action Design surveyed 82 garment workers in LA’s iconic garment district about their experiences accessing child care. The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of child care demands on low-wage workers in the garment industry, in order to inform policy makers and the public about the needs of low-income working families. Workers’ responses offer a glimpse into the difficult choices working parents, particularly immigrant women, face as they attempt to care for their children and earn a living in the shadows of the 21st century global economy. Survey respondents were employed in the Los Angeles Downtown Fashion District. The district is located around major transportation hubs, apparel wholesalers, and around a readily available pool of recently arrived immigrants, often undocumented workers. Women, predominantly immigrants from Mexico, comprised 80 percent of survey respondents.

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