The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has called her a “rock star” and has pinned its hope on her turning a House seat blue in 2018.
“She’s just like a rock star,” a DCCC staffer told PhillyMag.com. “The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee is talking about her as the strongest challenger in the entire country!”
But a report has surfaced that alleges Chrissy Houlahan’s tenure with an athletic apparel company included overseeing operations in Chines shoe factories that had sweatshop-like conditions.
The City and State PA reported:
Houlahan had worked for years as an executive at AND1, an athletic apparel company, serving as chief operating officer until the company’s sale in 2005. Findings from a 2004 report by the pro-union Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights outlined financial ties between the sneaker company and factories owned by the Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group that allegedly engaged in “abusive working conditions.”
The 2004 “China Labor Watch” report said that forced overtime, subsistence wages, and repressive management tactics were routine at Pou Chen plants in Dongguan, China, including a factory that produced And1 sneakers.
Houlahan touts her business experience as a candidate and her husband Bart — who also was an executive with AND1 — wrote about the importance of corporate responsibility.
“(At AND1), we made our shoes in China, just like Nike and Reebok, but we paid the workers a living wage and made sure they were in a safe environment,” Bart Houlahan wrote, in a 2012 essay about corporate social responsibility.
But the 2004 “China Labor Watch” report said that forced overtime, subsistence wages and repressive management tactics were routine at Pou Chen plants in Dongguan, China, including a factory that produced And1 sneakers, according to City and State PA.
And according to interviews with former laborers, workers were forced to work up to 100 hours a week for 35 cents an hour. They lived in primitive dorm-like house, ate “pig slop” and were forced to do exercises while reciting brand slogans.
Houlahan has said she had no memory of the report, even if an old work bio states that she oversaw production, distribution, and logistics for AND1’s footwear unit, according to City and State PA.
Houlahan is running against Republican Rep. Ryan Costello in Pennsylvania’s 6th District.
And the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is eager to spread the word.
“In case you missed it, a bombshell report from City and State Pennsylvania reveals Greedy Chrissy Houlahan made millions while her company exploited and abused Chinese laborers for years,” the NRCC website said.
“Chrissy Houlahan lined her pockets while her company exploited and abused Chinese laborers,” NRCC Spokesman Chris Martin said in the City and State PA report. “Her history of personally profiting from sweatshop labor should alarm Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds and political affiliations.”