By Dave Jamieson
The leading federation for organized labor has sent a stern cease-and-desist letter to “Unionmade,” the trendy apparel maker whose products, it turns out, are often not union-made.
The letter from the AFL-CIO calls out the San Francisco-based clothing company for “misleading” its customers with its name and also for potentially violating the AFL-CIO’s trademark handshake logo.
“The AFL-CIO finds your use of the UNIONMADE mark highly misleading as the dictionary definition and understanding amongst the public is that ‘union-made’ means ‘produced by workers belonging to a labor union,'” the letter reads.
The letter, which was dated Nov. 29 and sent by the AFL-CIO’s outside legal counsel, urges Unionmade company officials to “see Dictionary.com” for more details.
The AFL-CIO’s request comes on the heels of an expose earlier this month at Gawker, where Hamilton Nolan reported that most of the company’s vintage-style t-shirts, jeans and other hipster getup are in fact not made by unionized workers. As the piece noted, in an era when organized labor’s numbers are on the decline, plenty of socially conscious consumers are happy to pay a premium for goods they believe to be made in the U.S. by decently paid employees.
“We would never have heard of them, except for the fact that twice in the past few months we have gotten emails from people who were excited to finally go out and shop at a store that supports unions, only to have those illusions shattered,” Nolan wrote.