April 28, 2011 |
A global federation of labor unions is taking on Ikea over its treatment of workers at the Swedish company's first U.S. factory. Workers at the Danville, Va., plant, which opened in 2008, say they are subject to mandatory overtime, racial discrimination and an aggressive effort by the company to keep out a union. Run by Ikea's manufacturing subsidiary, Swedwood, the factory was the subject of a Times article this month. After a meeting this week in Washington, the International Trade Union Confederation released a statement saying it "has allocated substantial financial resources to make sure that this company acts responsibly in the USA. " The labor group, which says it represents 175 million workers in 151 countries, criticized the difference between Swedwood's treatment of its workers in Europe and those in the United States, where wages and benefits are less generous.
October 1, 2012 |
If a Saudi company were advertising its home goods in the United States, we would expect its marketing materials to include photos of both men and women, and we would expect most of the women not to have their bodies and hair hidden in the photos. Though there is plenty of diversity in this country, those are the cultural norms. And chances are that because this is a country of ethnic diversity as well, we'd expect the company's catalogs and so forth to show some of that as well. So I am puzzled about the criticism of furniture giant IKEA . If the criticism were for replacement parts that aren't available when pieces break, as they almost inevitably do, or the lightweight quality of the furniture that accompanies its lightweight prices, it would be understandable -- even if it seems almost impossible to furnish a college student's room without a stop at the giant warehouse to consider whether the GAVIK or FILLSTA would make a better table lamp.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 2, 2012 |
Those labyrinthine IKEA showrooms full of dirt-cheap shelving units have to come from somewhere. According to a report released May 16 by the Global Forest Coalition, some of them are clear-cut from old-growth forests in Western Russia. According to the report, the Swedish nongovernmental organization Protect the Forest and the Russian environmental organization SPOK conducted a field inspection in the Russian Karelia, an area along the border with Finland, and found IKEA's wholly owned subsidiary Swedwood was clear-cutting virgin trees 200 to 600 years old and in areas of “high conservation value.” The Global Forest Coalition, an alliance of NGOs with members in more than 40 countries, is also supporting a petition drive by Protect the Forest aiming to persuade IKEA to reform the company's logging practices.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 2012 |
In response to accusations by European NGOs that IKEA and its wholly owned subsidiary, Swedwood, were engaging in some questionable logging practices in Russia, Ikea is arguing that it has been cutting according to international standards that the company itself helped create. Last week in Greenspace , Swedish group Protect the Forest and Russian group the Karelian Regional Nature Conservancy (which goes by the acronym SPOK) repeated claims that Swedwood is logging old-growth trees and is logging some High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF)
February 25, 2013 |
Horse meat in Ikea's meatballs? Sorry, Charlie (wait, that's tuna), but apparently the Swedish furniture giant is jockeying for position with Burger King, Nestle and Tesco in the tainted-meat derby. My colleague Tiffany Hsu reported Monday that inspectors in the Czech Republic had “found equine evidence in the chain's frozen meatballs. The affected product was sold as a packaged beef and pork item in more than a dozen European countries but not in the U.S.” Nay, you say?
November 29, 1998
It will be interesting to see whether IKEA ["A Retail Revolution Built on Furniture for the Masses," Nov. 8] can strike the right balance between offering cheaper products and retaining consumer interest in self-assembly furniture. Of my first two recent purchases of furniture at IKEA, one had 30 locknuts missing from the package and the other had ill-fitting drawers. The issues of assembly time, potential quality-control problems and a labyrinth-like store layout that makes quick trips to obtain particular items next to impossible may become unpopular with increasingly time-conscious American and European consumers.