Earlier this week, a National Labor Committee report claimed that crosses sold at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity Church and other churches were made in Chinese sweatshops. The NLC said that the Singer Company employed young women at 26 cents an hour and forced them to work a 100 hours a week; plus, the woman are docked pay for food and boarding, leaving them with pay of just 9 cents an hour. You can read the report, complete with photographs of factory conditions, at the National Labor Committee website.

After the report - and a NLC press conference outside St. Patrick's - both St. Patrick's and Trinity removed the crucifixes from their stores. An archdiocese spokesman said they were investigating the charges but also noted the NLC "did not contact us prior to using the cathedral as a stage for a press conference." The NLC's executive director Charles Kernaghan admitted that the information about sweatshop conditions was "anecdotal" but said it came straight from the workers.

Singer, which is based in Mount Vernon, said that they had asked their Chinese manufacturer, Full Start, to sign papers saying goods were not made in sweatshop conditions, and Full Start called the NLC's claims "totally incorrect," saying that employees worked an 8-hour shift and given overtime if asked to work more hours. Singer's co-owner Gerard Singer told amNew York they were looking into the allegations, "We are not a Nike or a big corporation that can inspect every single factory. My God, making religious objects in a sweatshop, that's the last thing we need."