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St. Patrick`s, Trinity Church sell sweatshop crucifixes, group claims

NY Daily News  |  November 21, 2007  |  Share

BY EDGAR SANDOVAL and BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Wednesday, November 21st 2007

Two of the city's iconic religious institutions - St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity Church - were slammed Tuesday for selling crucifixes allegedly manufactured in Chinese sweatshops.

The National Labor Committee claimed crosses sold in the churches' gift shops were made by women and children working under deplorable conditions for as little as 26 cents an hour.

Outside St. Pat's, the committee's director Charles Kernaghan held up a crucifixand said it was made by a girl forced to work 151/2 hours a day, seven days a week for 9 cents an hour.

Officials at St. Patrick's and Trinity Church said they were unaware of the allegations and removed the items from the gift shops.

Joe Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said an investigation is underway but blasted Kernaghan for not contacting the archdiocese before using St. Patrick's "as a prop."

"He's trying to exploit the cathedral, quite frankly," he said.

The crucifixes for both gift shops were supplied by the Singer Co. of Long Island City, Queens. Owner Gerald Singer said the items were manufactured by Full Start Ltd., a Chinese company that promised not to use child labor.

"If it turns out that they were made in a sweatshop then that's the end of our relationship," he told The News.

Click here for the NLC's November 2007 report on sweatshop crucifixes

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