Pendleton Woolen Mills launches US-made clothing line

PORTLAND, Oregon — Decades after most apparel companies abandoned U.S. manufacturing to chase cheaper labor overseas, Portland-headquartered Pendleton Woolen Mills is launching a new made-in-the-USA clothing line. Its “Portland Collection” debuted Sept. 8 at a fashion show in downtown Director Park.

The clothing won’t be union-made, but some of it will be made of union-made fabric — from the company’s mill in Washougal, Washington. The 141 workers there (and 20 at the company’s Pendleton, Oregon, plant) are members of Workers United (formerly UNITE), a division of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and are represented by Portland-headquartered SEIU Local 49.

Under the union contract that runs through October 2013, wages at the Washougal mill range from $12.91 to $15.87 an hour, with overtime pay on weekends or after 8 hours in a day. Other benefits include full-family health coverage, a defined-benefit pension plan, paid vacation, and eight paid holidays a year.

The company is a 140-year-old family-owned business.

Pendleton blankets are union-made in Washougal and Pendleton, but Pendleton Woolen Mills’ previous apparel lines have been manufactured overseas. A large tote bag in the new Portland Collection is foreign-made, but all the clothing is U.S. made, said Pendleton spokesperson Linda Parker. Pendleton’s production manager did not return Labor Press calls seeking further details.

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