On April 28, 2015, trade unions in El Salvador filed a Third Party Complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) alleging that the Impression Apparel factory was not in compliance with several benchmarks of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct. Allegations included violations of workers' freedom of association, harsh penalties for infractions as minor as arriving one minute late for work, and the improper use of temporary contracts for permanent work, in order to avoid paying benefits.
As the process for investigating this complaint progressed, the FLA prepared a list of 17 items for assessment at the factory as identified in consultation with union representatives. However, factory management refused to cooperate with the FLA assessor and the FLA was forced to terminate the investigation. Upon learning of the investigation's termination, FLA-affiliated licensee Tailgate Clothing worked to persuade the company to permit the investigation to go forward but ultimately was unsuccessful. Tailgate Clothing informed the FLA on September 23, 2015 that, as of that date, it had ceased to place collegiate apparel orders at Impression Apparel and moreover that it would no longer place any orders at Impression Apparel given the lack of cooperation from the factory.
The FLA remains sensitive to the impact that Tailgate’s departure from Impression Apparel might have on workers at the factory, but notes that the supplier’s refusal to cooperate left Tailgate Clothing with no viable options for continuing the sourcing relationship.