A WAKE UP CALL TO STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND ADMINISTRATORS:
Are New Mexico State garments made in
sweatshops? by David
M. Boje, Professor of Management, NMSU. September 13, 2000
(Revised February 22, 2001).
ARE items you are wearing at New Mexico State made in a third world sweatshop? We are a global village and Honduras, China and Sri Lanka are as close as the clothes on our backs.
I propose that NMSU become a leader in the effort to end the use of sweatshop labor in the manufacturing of university licensed apparel. It is time to establish a student/faculty chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) as well as a Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) group. There is a growing movement among students to persuade their universities to take responsibility for the way that clothing with their logo is produced by adopting Codes of Conduct. Two Steps
STEP ONE Please Join a UNITED STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS club on your campus, or start one. See NMSU USAS
STEP TWO Please adopt this resolution I am proposing for NMSU campus apparel contracting.
At present NMSU belongs to Fair Labor Association (FLA), a group financed and dominated by the apparel industry. The difference between WRC and FLA, is FLA's code of conduct does not require apparel manufacturers to pay a living wage, and WRC organizes faculty and students to work with country NGOs to monitor practices to insure a living wages and adequate working conditions are in effect in subcontract factories. If a subcontract factory stitching the logo onto goods refuses to pay living wage or operate non-sweatshop conditions, the university has the right to cancel its contact until they clean up their act.
New Mexico State University apparel on University Bookstore racks is purchased from companies that possibly make clothing in Third-World country sweatshops. Two have a weak relationship to a corporate back monitoring firm, Fair Labor Association (FLA) which does not conduct fully independent monitoring or publish results. As Cameron Jahn, CA Aggie News writer put it "the FLA is a corporate rubber stamp that allows businesses to appear as if they are attempting to remedy the situation" (Source November 24, 1999). One company seems to have no monitoring whatsoever. It is recommended that NMSU adopt a Code of Ethics for its clothing providers and join the Workers' Rights Consortium which has more rigorous monitoring standards.
So, the problem is many Third World countries have very bad labor conditions and ALL corporations say they regularly monitor their subcontract factories, but many independent audits reveal such claims to be exaggerations.
Please note, many NMSU bookstore garments are made in the USA. Sweatshops are not only located in Third World countries. In Los Angeles, NY and other metropolitan areas, there are sweatshops. For example, Los Angeles hosts more than 140,000 sweatshop workers, according to a 1998 Labor Department study. They arrive illegally from Mexico, Southeast Asia, China and Central America. "Out of all garment factories, 61 percent violated wage laws," according to the study (Source Daily Bruin, April 7, 2000).
Note: There is a major research project on Nike Corporation being submitted to Nike by Boje -- see http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/nike/call_for_nike_research.html
The items listed in Table One are sold at the NMSU Campus bookstore (as of September 13, 2000). A survey I conducted at the campus bookstore reveals that 90% of the garment items are made mostly in the Third World by two firms, Gear For Sports and The Game. A third firm Jansport also provides apparel from the Third World. At issue, is the extent to which these companies making garments in Mexico, China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Honduras, Guatemala, and elsewhere are operating factories in sweatshop conditions.
If our university logo is being sewn by young women and children working at poverty level wages without overtime pay in squalor and abusive conditions that risk health and safety, then this is a situation that calls for placing global citizenship ahead of consumer thrift. At the present time, we do not have adequate reporting information from the licensees and manufacturers of NMSU garments to know with certainty if there are sweatshops or model factories making what we wear.
Yet, universities have a right to know detailed information about where the products carrying their logo are produced. Students, faculty, staff and administrators have united around several principles that are essential for an effective code of conduct for garment manufacturers. They include:
full public disclosure of factory addresses
freedom of association and collective bargaining
safe working conditions
no forced labor
no child labor
A growing collective of college and university student and faculty groups around the globe are questioning the origin of their school's licensed apparel. This is the biggest groundswell of student social consciousness the US, Canada and Europe has seen since the Vietnam campus demonstrations of the 1960s and 1970s and the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s. The New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and other major publications have written articles about it. Duke University was home to the first student anti-sweatshop protest in 1998 (winning an agreement in March after 31-hour take-over of their President's office). "Students held demonstrations at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and dozens of other colleges and universities, demanding that universities force companies making apparel with school logos to disclose the names and addresses of their factories" (Greenhouse New York Times, October 8, 1999). Since then, students at hundreds of campuses - linked by the group United Students Against Sweatshops - have promoted such activism. What is the level of student concern at NMSU? It appears that some, but not all book store apparel manufactures belong to FLA, as does NMSU. But many manufacturers have no monitoring (than their own staff) and the FLA is being widely questioned for being non-independent of the corporations providing apparel.
For example, another state university on April 30, 1999 constructed a "Nonexclusive Merchandising Agreement Code of Conduct" covering Gear For Sports.
The Student Association has requested Foundation action on a Code of Conduct for the Foundation's Trademark Licensees. The issue deals with sweatshop labor and the Student Association's concern that no Oswego State University emblematic item or material be produced in sweatshops.
Table One: Survey of garments sold at NMSU campus by Three Firms
FOR SPORTS - NMSU PRODUCTS - A collegiate licensed
NOTE: I recorded many of the Gxxxx identification numbers which can be entered at GEAR FOR SPORTS web site to obtain factory address info.
GAME - NMSU PRODUCTS - A collegiate licensed apparel
There is no independent verification of whether or not this company purchases NMSU logo products from sweatshops.
JANSPORT - A collegiate licensed apparel company**
It is not clear if Jansport corporate lists locations of its garment manufacturers on just its backpacks.
Assembled in Mexico of US components $18.95 G2121850700
Made in China $10.95
|NMSU Shirt Assembled in Mexico $35.95|
Made in Taiwan $15.95 G2571893
Made in Sri Lanka $14.95
Made in Honduras $42.95
Made in Guatemala $30.95
|NMSU T-Shirt Alumni $13.95 Assembled In Mexico|
|NMSU Pullover Made in Taiwan $35.95 501326 and another for $32.95 501555|
Made in Guatemala $40.95 G1092711
|NMSU Sip Up Jacket $36.95 502583|
|NMSU Polo Shirt Made in Malaysia $36.95 G1227998 and another G1227999|
|NMSU Polo Shirt Made in Peru $36.95 G1227960 and another for $30.95 G1225000|
|NMSU Polo Shirt Made in Taiwan G1223190|
|NMSU Polo Shirt Made in Singapore $41.95 G1200080 and G1221999|
|NMSU Polo Shirt Made in Hauritus 41.95 G1226999|
|NMSU Polo Shirt Made in Thailand $30.95 G122599 and another G122589|
|NMSU Sweatshirt Made in Honduras $33.95 G1001580 and another G1095990|
|NMSU Sweatshirt Made in Honduras $30.95 G1092950|
|NMSU Sweater with Genuine Aggie NMSU sewn
label. Does not indicate where Gear For Sports had
it made $47.95
However, one exactly like it without Genuine Aggie NMSU label also selling ofr $47.95 is made in Hong Kong G1776251
**Collegiate Licensing Corporation, based in Atlanta, Georgia, represents 180 colleges and universities (including New Mexico State University) in their negotiations with manufacturers.
NMSU is one of 142 universities affiliated with the Fair Labor Association (as of August 29, 2000). Gear For Sports and The Game are two vendors supplying most of the garments to the NMSU bookstore. Yet only Gear For Sports and Jansport are corporate affiliates of the Fair Labor Association (they joined June 19, 2000). THE GAME is not affiliated with any monitoring organization. And as you shall see, being affiliated with FLA does not amount to the same kind of accountability as the WRC (Workers' Rights Consortium) which is truly independent monitoring (See below for explanation).
Table Two compares the three companies providing garments to NMSU. In looking at the relevant chronology of events, Gear For Sports, Jansport (along with Nike, Reebok) and others who license and sell garments bearing university logos at major universities have been the target of a wave of student protest. Most of this protest was focused on Nike (and Reebok). "After intense pressure from student groups at Duke, Georgetown, University of Michigan, University of Arizona and University of North Carolina, Nike has disclosed factory names and locations for its apparel made for each of those five campuses" (Pearson, 1999, The Daily Trojan). When Nike published a list of 41 factories in 11 countries on its web site (www.nikebiz.com), Champion, Russell, Gear for Sports and Jansport agreed to disclose factory locations by January 1, 2000 (Sweatshop News, 1999; Steven Greenhouse New York Times, October 8, 1999). Gear for Sports then joined the FLA on June 19, 2000 and Jansport disclosed its locations November, 1999. However, disclosure of locations is not the same thing as having a monitoring report in the hands of the university administration and students. All it means, in the case of FLA is that monitoring of some factories will happen in the future. When we do not know and who gets the reports is also not known. But for now knowing where a product is made is a step toward accountability.
Table Two: The Three Companies that make garments sold at NMSU bookstore with subcontract factories.
|GEAR FOR SPORTS NMSU PRODUCTS - A
collegiate licensed apparel company
GEAR For Sports® operates in 14 countries;
instituted our first written code of conduct detailing
our standards in 1995; established our office of
Global Human Rights Compliance in
|THE GAME NMSU PRODUCTS - A
collegiate licensed apparel company
(Full Corporate Name -- Kudzu and The Game -Jeff Stillwell does contracting for merchandise, Phoenix City, Alabama) 1-877-840-4547
They sell caps to NMSU. Not much else is known about this company. They were kind enough to send me their audit reports.
|JANSPORT NMSU PRODUCTS - A
collegiate licensed apparel company.
|June 19, 2000 - GEAR
For Sports Joins Fair Labor Association (FLA) -
For Further Information : Jennifer Sanborn, Parris
Communications, 816-931-8900 - John Joerger, GEAR For
Sports, 913-693-3314 GEAR FOR SPORTS JOINS FAIR LABOR
ASSOCIATION (FLA). Move Reinforces Strong Commitment
to Human Rights Issues. Lenexa, Kan: GEAR For Sports,
one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of
sportswear apparel for the collegiate bookstore
market, announced today its decision to join the Fair
Labor Association (FLA), reinforcing its commitment to
human rights issues worldwide. This step makes GEAR
the first collegiate licensed apparel company to join
the organization since its founding in November
"Discussions between John Menghini, President and CEO of GEAR For Sports, and FLA Executive Director Sam Brown, led both sides to the quick conclusion that they share a common goal of improving working conditions in factories in the United States and abroad.
According to Menghini, "The decision to join the FLA was based upon our company’s long-standing corporate strategy to eliminate sweatshops and improve working conditions in our contract factories. Our new partnership with FLA ensures that GEAR For Sports will be proactive and aggressive in evaluating our factories and improving factory conditions wherever our products are made." GEAR’s first public step in addressing complex human rights issues took place in January 2000 when the company initiated a disclosure program, publishing a complete list of its factories manufacturing collegiate apparel.
Bob Durkee, Vice President of Public Affairs at Princeton University, feels GEAR’s decision to join FLA is a significant development. "A large number of the 137 schools involved in the FLA have licenses with GEAR For Sports.
|Not finding any information on this
company other than their web site, I call and spoke to
Jeff Stillwell who does the contracting for
merchandising for the company. Jeff is sending me a
list of all factory locations, which he does for any
schools that ask.
Jeff Stillwell says, "We took the strictest standard we can find. We adopted Notre Dame's standards. I personally visit factories twice a year. Wages are above standard for the area. I have seen people who have had nothing actually have some things. They are driving mopeds... I am not saying there are no problems. I canceled out of company where I walked in and would not business do business for them. We also have inspectors in each of the countries" 4:05 P.M. September 13, 2000).
The licensing person for THE GAME is Keely Floyd. Jeff did not know whether they are affiliated with FLA, WRC or not. Keely will call me back.
Here is some background on Notre Dame's Standards.
|JanSport Discloses Manufacturing Sites
Equipment and Apparel Production Locations Now Available
on Company Website
November 5, 1999
.-- JanSport, Inc., the world's largest backpack brand and
a major producer of apparel for the collegiate market, has disclosed the names
and locations of all of its domestic and overseas manufacturing locations.
A complete list of all plants manufacturing merchandise for the company was
posted on the company website at www.jansport.com under the heading
Corporate. These include both independent contractor facilities as well as those
owned and operated by JanSport's parent company, VF Corporation (source Jansport Press Release).
|PRESS RELEASE FROM GEAR FOR SPORTS (POSTED
AT SWEATSHOP WATCH)
GEARnosweat.com WEB SITE LAUNCHED BY GEAR FOR SPORTS
January 10, 2000
Contact: Jill Steiner, GEAR For Sports 913/693-2605
Lenexa, KS: GEAR For Sports, a major supplier of sportswear apparel to the college bookstore market, announces the opening of its www.GEARnosweat.com web site. This web site launches on January 10, 2000 after a decision by the Company in October of 1999 to reveal a complete list of manufacturers that supply product to the collegiate market.
|September 15, 2000 I heard back form The
Game (Kudzu Corporation owns The Game
They enclosed a copy of their Code of Conduct for Kudzu/The Game. The use of child labor is not permissible, working weeks are to less than 48 hours, and wages and benefits must "match or exceed the prevailing local manufacturing industry practices."
Four factory locations were disclosed
Tony Headware Mfg Co. Ltd in Guangdong China; Young An Hat Co, LTD in Bucheon City, Korea; The Trustland Co, LTD in Taipei, Taiwan, and Asian Sourcing International LTD in Shanghai.
A factory profile questionnaire was filed out by each of the factory managers. The survey responses indicate that manager's view that factories are in legal and environmental compliance with local laws,and pay the legal minimum wages.
In violation of THE GAME code of conduct, one Asian Sourcing factory in Shanghai reports their work week is 55 hours and on average employees work an additional 10 hours. The Korea factory works 49.5 hours with .5 weekday overtime and 2.5 weekend overtime.
|Jansport Apparel Factory Locations. The problem with this is we do not know if this is where apparel is made of just the backpacks. The corporate site seems to only list information about its backpacks.|
We, the management, employees and agents of GEAR For Sports® are opposed to the use of sweatshops and all abusive labor practices. We are committed to the ongoing improvement of working conditions, compensation rates and benefits for all workers engaged in the manufacture of our products.
|The problem with Kudzu with
self-reported questionnaire monitoring is that it is
not an independent monitoring. The Game is
relying upon factory managers to self-monitor. Studies
consistently report that self-monitoring
is about as good as no monitoring.
There are no provisions in The Game Code of Conduct to pay living wages. Each country pays the legal minimum wage, which is far below living standards.
|Slave Trade vs. Free Trade and Jansport in China|
SWEATSHOPS NEWS 1999
College students fighting against sweatshops continue to score victories as the giant apparel companies that make university logo T-shirts and sweatshirts give in to student demands and promise to list factory locations. After Nike published a list of 40 factories on its web site (www.nikebiz.com), Champion, Russell, Gear for Sports and Jansport agreed to disclose factory locations by January 1, 2000.
|Further investigation is needed. The Game is not a member of FLA or WRC. Its self-report monitoring practices are in my opinion, less than adequate.||US
activists condemn 'brutal' factory conditions
REUTERS in Washington --From the South China Morning
Post Wednesday, May 10, 2000
Charles Kernaghan, the committee's executive
director, said he spent months with Chinese human
rights activists researching the report inside China's
Guangdong and Shandong provinces, where they
interviewed workers and infiltrated some factories and
|October 20, 1999, Wednesday, Late Edition
SECTION: Section A; Page 23; Column 1; National Desk
LENGTH: 510 words
BYLINE: By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
|Nike, Adidas and Jansport Backpacks are
produced at: Keng Tau Handbag
Company Keng Tau Industrial Zone, Panyu Village, Guangdong Province, China (Check UNITE, and press here, and press here)– e.g. Workers are instructed not to punch their time cards for evening or Sunday work. So any company records shown to Nike, Adidas or Jansport are fabrications, seriously underreporting the
actual number of hours worked… Ninety-eight rmb a month, or $11.81 U.S. (which for low wage workers comes to one week’s wages) is deducted by the factory from the workers’ wages each
month in return for dorm accommodations
and food. Workers are housed 16 to a crowded room and fed two poor quality meals a day. The workers must take care
of and pay for their own breakfasts…
Upon entering the Keng Tau factories the workers
are illegally charged a 60 rmb job deposit and their
first month’s wages are
Chronicle of Higher Education
The 137 universities of the Fair Labor
Anti-Sweatshop Movement By Paul Street
For nearly three years now, American campuses have been experiencing a resurgence of student activism.
Gear for Sports, a huge corporation that supplies many other universities, produces NIU goods in such countries as Guatemala, Honduras, Malaysia, and Pakistan, all havens of sweatshop labor.
|Kimi Clothing Factory - Campaign for Labor Rights Alert|
26, 1999 Vol. 138 #40
Sweatshops focus of USC organization
16, 2000 The Campus Online
Students call for alliance with sweatshop monitor
NOTE: Gear for Sports is the apparel provider to Middlebury College.
|Gear for Sports make some of DePauw
Figure One: COST ANALYSIS: Workers receive $2.00 for making the $40.00 sweatshirt made in TAIWAN sold at the NMSU bookstore
Table Three: Locations and Conditions in Factories making New Mexico State University Garments
for Sports in Honduras.
Fax: (504) 669-0036 Chuy@netsys.hn
|ECOTEX is not ELCATEX,
but the following give the reader some idea of the
difference between fashion
PR and actually visiting a factory site to see for
yourself what is happening. Guess, Axis, David Dart,
Action Wear and Eileen Fisher have their duds made at
ECOTEX factories. The ECOTEX factory in Honduras is
Ecotex factory, Choloma:
"The workers at Ecotex had sewn Wal-Mart clothing, recognizing and pointing out the McKids, White Stag, In Design and Simply Basic labels. Current production is for J.C. Penney. (Wal-Mart and other company labels pass in and out of these factories depending on the season, the style and the size of the run.)" There are 250 workers in the plant. http://www.nlcnet.org/walmart/honwal.htm
WORKING CONDITIONS - Forced overtime--11-hour
shifts Monday through Friday, and either a 3 ½ or an
8 ½-hour shift on Saturday, which means the workers
were at the factory 53 ½ to 57 ½ hours a week. All
overtime was obligatory.
ABUSE - The garments the workers are working on are
sometimes grabbed by the supervisors and thrown in the
workers' faces, while they are screamed at for any
"mistake," such as a loose thread hanging
Statement of Jay Mazur, President Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees Before the Subcommittee on Trade Committee on Ways and Means U.S. House of Representatives On H.R. 984 The Caribbean and Central American Relief and Economic Stabilization Act March 23, 1999 (Congressional Source).
"Four Wal-Mart contractors in Honduras—Evergreen, Ecotex, Seolim Baracoa, Uniwear Embroiders—employ over 1200 workers, many of them teenage girls, working shifts of 12 hours or more, paid 43 cents an hour base wage, or about half the cost of survival. They are not allowed to talk and must ask permission to go to the bathroom; there are factories with fire exits blocked, the air hot and thick with dust; complaints or attempts to organize a union result in immediate dismissal."
Behind Closed Doors - A delegation of eight students from Duke, Columbia, SUNY, Brown, Georgetown, Georgia State, UCLA and Grinnell College visited Ecotex workers in in Choloma, Honduras to verify first hand the working conditions (October 1998). http://www.nlcnet.org/behindclosed/honduras.htm
The student delegation met with
workers outside the
WORKING CONDITIONS - The workers told us
that despite the intense heat, there was no air
conditioning. To make matters
HEALTH and SAFETY CONDITIONS - Some workers complained that the factory failed to provide masks to protect them from the lint that fills the factory air-a result of production. When we asked if the factory provided dust extractors to clear the lint from the air, the workers shook their heads no. The only piece of "protective" gear they were provided with was a thin sweater vest which did little to protect them from lint but did add to the already intense heat on the factory floor. As a result, workers complained that the lint gave them lung problems and skin rashes. Furthermore, when workers get sick at work they are often denied time to go to the clinic. At times, supervisors will give pregnant women permission to be absent from work only to take away that permission later and refuse to pay them their seventh day pay.
WAGES - For a 59-63 hour work week, they must earn good money, right? Wrong. Workers told us that the base pay was approximately $20 per week. However, most operators earned around $26 per week. That means that for a 59-hour work week, workers received approximately 44 cents an hour! However, when we asked workers whether this wage was enough to survive they emphatically said no. After the cost of transportation each week and the cost for rent each month, workers were left with not enough to pay for many of the basic necessities of life. One man told us that he saw the price tag for a shirt he was sewing for the company Knitworks. The shirt cost $28.00-more than an entire week's salary! The Ecotex workers, and many others like them, cannot afford to buy their children new clothing let alone the clothing they produce.
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION - Workers told us
that they had wanted to form a union, but just last
week all of their union leaders were fired without
severance pay. What about the Minister of Labor? Will
he help? All of the workers shook their heads in
disgust. They claimed
|GEAR FOR SPORTS - Guatemala
|GEAR FOR SPORTS - Mexico
Acabados Guimex SA DE CV
|GEAR FOR SPORTS - Taiwan
Chuan Cheng Hat Co. Ltd.
Honduras Apparel Manufacturer's Directory (source) (second site).
CODE OF CONDUCT OF THE HONDURAN APPAREL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION http://www.ahm-honduras.com/codeeng.html
|JANSPORT Mexico http://www.jansport.com/corporate/manufacturers.html
(for other Factory Locations).
Rey-Mex Bra S.A. De C.V.
Calle Beatriz Velazco
Carretera San Fernando S/N
Reynosa, Tamps Cp 88550 Mexico
Contact: Cameron Bailey
UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Still researching locations.
The Value of Fair Labor Association (FLA). The FLA grew out of White House concern about the issue after the 1996 Kathie Lee Gifford sweatshop scandal. FLA encourages associated corporations to disclose the locations of factories producing garments sold on campus. They provide an approved list of monitoring consultants to audit whether or not subcontracted factories are sweatshops. When the list of factories is disclosed, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) not affiliated with FLA can independently verify whether or not a sweatshop is operating in their locale.
- Students across the US have won public disclosure agreements from their administrations which require licensees to disclose factory locations. This relatively recent demand for public disclosure has been surprisingly successful (and would have not have been predicted even two years ago). Over 30 universities have now pledged to require public disclosure of factory locations by the subcontractors producing their goods. Thus far, five major firms (Nike, Champion, Jansport, Gear for Sports, and Eastpack) have publicly disclosed their subcontractor locations producing university goods and more are likely to follow suit in the coming months. The next challenge is to establish procedures and systems that monitor these far-flung networks of subcontractors (Sabel, O'Rourke, & Fung, 2000).
Problems with FLA. While we all applaud New Mexico State University for becoming an affiliate of FLA along with Gear For Sports, there are some important issues to consider.
First, the FLA was founded by Nike and Reebok (and a few other multinational corporations such as Gap) to be a minimalist way to respond to growing consumer and global citizen demands that factory conditions be monitored in order to eliminate sweatshops. The FLA is dominated (in finances and in direct control) by corporate interests and is therefore not an independent monitoring arm.
Second, the minimalist approach of FLA lets the corporation choose and pay the monitoring consulting firm from an approved list of firms FLA provides. However, this sets up a powerful monetary incentive for that consulting/auditing firm to turn its head the other way. Student leaders around the nation [but not at NMSU] say they are troubled by the structure of the FLA (e.g. USC October 26, 1999)
Third, there is no provision that the reports generated by the approved FLA monitor be disclosed to affiliate universities where garments are sold (www.Nikebiz.com gives carefully edited versions of several monitoring reports that disclose nothing at all about wages, force overtime, health and safety conditions at its model factories) .
Fourth, the FLA consultant does not monitor all factories. This allows the corporation being monitored to select just the model firms to be monitored. And since many of the factories farm out the more sweaty aspects of the production to local sweatshops, then these locations with the most severe sweatshop conditions are essential secret locations that are kept from any FLA surveillance. Fifth, whenever a specific sweatshop (not being monitored) gets major media attention the corporation can cancel its subcontract and the problem moves to some new venue.
- In the fall of 1998, the AIP evolved into the Fair Labor Association (FLA) which is the body now responsible for establishing monitoring criteria, certifying monitors, reviewing audits, granting "sweat-free" labels, and reporting on audit results. FLA members include Nike, Reebok, Liz Claiborne, Patagonia, Levi’s, Adidas, Kathie Lee Gifford, LL Bean, Nicole Miller, Phillips Van-Heusen (Sabel, O'Rourke, & Fung, 2000).
Alternatives to the FLA - There is an alternative sweatshop monitoring organization that works with 139 affiliated universities - the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC). WRC trains non-governmental organizations located near apparel factories to look for harmful labor practices. WRC, unlike FLA, holds corporations and subcontractors providing campus garments accountable to paying a living wage (FLA stays away from wage issues).
- The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) was developed by the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) in cooperation with UNITE, the AFL-CIO, and a number of human rights, labor, and religious NGOs in 1999 (Sabel, O'Rourke, & Fung, 2000).
- January 20, 2000. Sweatshop News - Now that universities across the country have bent to student demands and adopted strong codes of conduct, the big issue on campus this semester will be the enforcement of those codes. Students at Georgetown, Michigan, Indiana, and Penn have set a February 1 deadline for their schools to sign on to the Workers Rights Consortium, an enforcement plan developed by students, unions, and human rights groups... Last semester Penn students occupied the president's office for five hours to demand that the university join the Workers Rights Consortium... University of California system announced that it would adopt a code of conduct that includes full disclosure, living wage, and a provision prohibiting "harassment, intimidation or retaliation" in union organizing campaigns." The UC system alone has $52 million in apparel sales.
- In March , Notre Dame became the first university to hire an independent firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to monitor conditions at licensed factories. It also created a task force to study the issue and recommend a policy to deal with labor abuses. This latest request was a recommendation of that Task Force. Student activists praised the move, calling it a reversal of the administration's previous position (Logan, 1999).
What other Universities such as University of Iowa are Doing
February 2, 2001 – by D. Boje
In late 1999, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) began a chapter on the University of Iowa campus and began to pressure to eradicate use of sweatshop labor for all official university apparel. USAS demanded University of Iowa join the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) to monitor factory conditions. Like, New Mexico State University (NMSU), the University of Iowa was a member of the corporate-sponsored Fair Labor Association (FLA).
On February 28, 2000 the USAS - WRC group led a vote to withdraw from the FLA in favor of the more rigorous WRC Code of Conduct.
The USAS – WRC at University of Iowa demanded that the university turn over the factory locations of all its 561 licensees by Thursday. 327 sites were then disclosed by the university. The WRC student chapter then contacted factories and asked them to sign a living wage agreement and WRC Code of Conduct. And of these, 304 signed the WRC code of conduct requiring them to pay a living wage (Press here for an example of how this code looks)..
The University of Iowa then canceled 153 contracts (worth $24,305 in FY 2000) with companies that manufactured Iowa apparel because they did not disclose whether they use sweatshop labor. University of Iowa made half a million in royalties in the last budget year (ending June 30, 2000).
“The university's Human Rights Commission is working on recommendations to the central administration about how to deal with those companies, such as Nike and Champion, that have disclosed the location of their factories but have not signed the code of conduct” (AP February 2, 2001).
In fiscal 1999, the university earned $14,739 in licensing royalties from Nike and $8,529 from Champion.
"It's unfortunate the revenue is going to be lost," said James Tracy, a graduate student and member of Students Against Sweatshops, referring to the canceled contracts. "But you have to be steadfast." (AP February 2, 2001).
The University of Iowa is working with 16 companies that said they still plan to respond (before terminating their contracts).
February 2, 2001 - The Associated Press. “University cancels contracts of apparel makers.” Iowa City, Iowa.
February 28, 2000 RESOLUTION ON UI POLICY TOWARD SWEATSHOP LABOR, ADOPTED WITHOUT DISSENTING VOTE, 28 FEBRUARY 2000, BY THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE UI CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS http://www.uichr.org/news/00_jan_jun/sweatshop.shtml
University of Iowa - House Resolution 124 Bill History
This is How Organizing on Sweatshop Issues has happened on other campuses:
This throwback to 1960s does not have to happen at NMSU. We can begin to take positive steps to work with the administration, faculty, and students to propose monitoring standards to insure our logo is not being stitched on by workers making less than a living wage in a sweatshop subcontracted to this university.
POSITIVE - NEXT STEPS FOR NMSU
1. Adopt a Code of Conduct for Apparel Manufacturers.
2. Join the WRC. The FLA is not a high enough standard of ethical accountability.
3. Form a student chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops.
4. Calculate the Working Living Wage of works making NMSU garments (See Methodology for Calculating Living Wage).
5. Petition for a sweat-free campus - Please sign on to the
Attn: Students, Faculty, Staff, and Administration of New Mexico State University
RESOLUTION ON NMSU POLICY TOWARD SWEATSHOP LABOR
- proposed by Professor David Boje February 22,
BE IT RESOLVED:
4. I urge NMSU to make licensees publicly disclose the names and addresses of all factories or contractors they used to make NMSU licensed apparel. These factories will be contacted and asked to sign the above Code of Conduct.
4. I urge that New Mexico State University
administration search for and adopt complementary
additional strategies to promote workers rights in the
David M. Boje
Bartolucci, Noah Stronger code Officials, students look to
agreement. Duke University. http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/dial99/code205.htm
Elliott, Jeff Santa's Little Sweatshop http://www.monitor.net/monitor/sweatshop/ss-intro.html
Falla, Ricardo (Father) (1999) Peace and Reconciliation Through Justice National Jesuit News, April 1999 http://www.nlcnet.org/honduras/falla2.htm
Gill, Roger & Meg Kinnard (1999) History of the sweatshop debate at Georgetown. Vol 3(6). http://www.georgetown.edu/publications/independent/issues/99.02-3.6/1a.html
Marklein, Mary Beth (2000) Making them sweat USA TODAY 04/13/00 http://www.usatoday.com/life/lds036.htm
Nobody could have predicted two years ago that college students would get so worked up over the T-shirts and baseball caps that bear school logos.
Marklein, Mary Beth (2000) Making them sweat USA TODAY 04/13/00
Companies' watchdog role disputed http://www.usatoday.com/life/lds039.htm
Rash, Trent (1999) Bookstore might stock sweatshop goods ( October 12). http://www.themaneater.com/1999/10/12/news/sweatshop.html
Saipan update Eight Additional Firms Agree to Settle in Lawsuit Bobbin Magazine. http://www.bobbin.com/BOBBINGROUP/BOBBINMAG/jun00/watch.html
Leading U.S. retailers and manufacturers, including Calvin Klein Inc., Jones Apparel Group, Liz Claiborne Inc., The May Department Stores Co., OshKosh B’Gosh Inc., Sears, Roebuck and Co., Tommy Hilfiger USA Inc. and Warnaco Inc., have agreed to settle claims against them in a federal class-action lawsuit alleging sweatshop conditions in the garment industry on the western Pacific island of Saipan, a U.S. Commonwealth. The announcement, made in late March, brings the total
number of U.S. companies that have settled to 17.
Wetzel, Melanie (2000) Working youth -- an overview of child labor in Honduras Honduras This Week (September 11). Edition 11.
Government institutions work to eradicate child labor in spite of cultural resistance. TEGUCIGALPA -- Honduras' signing of the 1989 U.N. Convention on Children's Rights was the beginning of a new era of child protection in Honduras. The Convention requires signatories to create new legislation and programs to improve the lives of children. Honduras, unlike some of the larger, more powerful countries, can be sanctioned economically for not complying. Full article by MELANIE WETZEL http://www.marrder.com/htw/national.htm
Sabel, Charles, Dara O'Rourke & Archon Fung (2000) Ratcheting Labor Standards: Regulation for Continuous Improvement in the Global Workplace (dated February 23). Accessed from web September 13, 2000: http://www.law.columbia.edu/sabel/papers/ratchPO.html
Van Der Werf, Martin (2000) Sweatshop Issue Escalates With Sit-Ins and Policy Shifts: Bowing to student pressure, several universities join a labor-backed monitoring group. Rutgers March 10. http://ur.rutgers.edu/news/ACLA/chroniclewrc.htm
APPENDIX A - WHO IS Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC)?
William R. Battle, III
Bruce Siegal, General Counsel
The Collegiate Licensing Company
320 Interstate North Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339
"While the students were strengthening their hand, the companies profiting from licensing contracts prepared a retrenchment. Some 160-170 campuses use the services of the CLC (Collegiate Licensing Company). This for-profit business brokers deals for many of the companies seeking licensing contracts. While the CLC has a monopoly on neither the campuses nor the companies with such contracts (Nike, for example, negotiates its own contracts), the CLC was uniquely positioned to act as a counter-force to the student anti-sweatshop movement. To undermine the student movement, the CLC wrote its own, weak and toothless code" (Campaign For Labor Rights Newsletter #12).
Unlike a Duke code released last spring, the CLC code contains no "living wage" provision, does not release factory addresses to university administrations and requires "maximum possible" compliance instead of "full compliance." (December 7, 1998)
Draft of CLC Code.
March 29, 2000- UW-Madison directed CLC to terminate eight licensee contracts for non-disclosure. (3/29/00 Erik Christianson)