BERLIN — Swedish furniture giant Ikea says it "deeply regrets" the fact that some of its suppliers used forced prison labor in communist East Germany more than two decades ago.
The company says it never condoned the use of forced labor but an independent report shows it failed to properly vet how its suppliers were manufacturing furniture for the company at the time.
Ikea commissioned auditors Ernst & Young to look into allegations that it benefited from the use of forced labor by East German prisoners, some of whom were political dissidents.
The report released in Berlin on Friday concludes that Ikea managers "were aware of the possibility that political prisoners would be used in the production of Ikea products in the former GDR" but that measures to prevent this were insufficient.
Also on HuffPost:
Child Labor Prohibitions Will Ruin Us
"The new child labor law making the willful employment of children under the age of fourteen years a misdemeanor.. will be fought both in and out of the courts by the glass manufacturers..who claim the glass industry will be ruined by the measure." To Fight Child Labor Law: New Jersey's Statute Will Be Opposed Bitterly by Glass Manufacturers, August 10, 1903
Without Slavery We'd Have No Cotton
"The first and most obvious effect, would be to put an end to the cultivation of our great Southern staple... Imagine an extensive rice or cotton plantation cultivated by free laborers, who might perhaps strike for an increase of wages, at a season when the neglect of a few days would insure the destruction of the whole crop. Even if it were possible to procure laborers at all, what planter would venture to carry on his operations under such circumstances?" <a href="http://www1.assumption.edu/users/lknoles/douglassproslaveryargs.html">"Slavery in the Light of Social Ethics"</a> by Chancelor Harper
8 Hour Work Days Doom The Railroads
"The railroads have estimated that it would cost them $50,000,000 a year to give the members of the four brotherhoods the eight-hour day, and they are by no means assured that other workers, such as telegraphers and switchmen will not try to come in under its benefits, thus increasing the cost still further." <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10F14FD3E5412738FDDAF0994D9415B868DF1D3">Railroads United In General Attack On the 8-Hour Act</a>, The New York Times, November 16, 1916
Social Security Will Kill American Prosperity
"One employer tells me this law will increase his costs between 10 and 15 percent. If this is added to selling prices, what will it do to sales, and hence employment? If it is taken out of the labor fund, what will it do to the purchasing power of all who work for a living, and hence to national prosperity?" <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F60B1FF63555147B93C5A8178AD95F418385F9">Social Security: Effect of Tax on Payrolls Viewed With Alarm</a>, by R.P. Ellis, The New York Times, November 17, 1935
Ban On Cigarette Ads Is Silly!
"The Tobacco Advisory Committee, representing the manufacturers, called the ban unjustified and said it would not solve the question of smoking and health. A spokesman said that all cigarette advertising was brand advertising and that there was little or not evidence that this had increased the consumption of individual smokers." <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F30A1FF935541B7B93C6A9178ED85F4D8685F9">The Cigarette Companies Would Rather Fight Than Switch</a> by Elizabeth B. Drew, The New York Times, May 4, 1969
Cigarette Taxes Will Kill Small Business Owners
"Re-enactment of the city's 1-cent-a-package tax on cigarettes will defeat its own purpose by driving thousands of small retailers out of business, the finance committee of the City Council was told yesterday at a public hearing." <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F20E17FE3E54107A93C4A8178DD85F4D8385F9">City Urged To Drop Its Cigarette Tax</a>, The New York Times, June 16, 1939
Minimum Wage Laws Will Hurt Old People
"The first ill effect of raising the minimum wage to the standard of the average wage would be to cause the weak, slow, and the aged--and especially unskilled young women and girls--to fall by the wayside. These classes of workers are always a drain upon the employer, for the overhead charges of a factory are just as great whether the places be occupied by good, quick workers or poor, slow ones, therefore a smaller output of the latter causes a loss by raising the percentage of these overhead charges. An advance in wages... adds to this loss and forces the employer to discharge the sub-average, giving preference to strong workers who already earn the minimum." <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F20811F83B5813738DDDAF0A94DB405B838DF1D3">The Minimum Wage: Should Worthy Laborers Be Sacrificed to Establish It?</a> by Marcus M. Marks, The New York Times, March 25, 1913
Seatbelts Laws Shouldn't Be Legislated
"The auto industry's Big Three told congress today that the public should be educated to use auto safety seat belts and not forced into it by legislation." <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F60D17FF3E55137A93C5A91783D85F438585F9">Car Makers Oppose Law On Seat Belts</a>, The New York Times, August 8, 1957