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

  1. STEP ONE Please Join a UNITED STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS club on your campus, or start one. See NMSU USAS

  2. 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. 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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: 

  1. full public disclosure of factory addresses 

  2. living wages 

  3. independent monitoring 

  4. freedom of association and collective bargaining 

  5. safe working conditions 

  6. no forced labor 

  7. no child labor 

  8. women's rights 

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

GEAR FOR SPORTS - NMSU PRODUCTS - A collegiate licensed apparel company**

NOTE:  I recorded many of the Gxxxx identification numbers which can be entered at GEAR FOR SPORTS web site to obtain factory address info. 

THE GAME - NMSU PRODUCTS - A collegiate licensed apparel company**

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.

NMSU Shirt 
Assembled in Mexico of US components $18.95 G2121850700
NMSU Cap
Made in China $10.95
NMSU Shirt Assembled in Mexico $35.95 
NMSU Cap 
Made in Taiwan $15.95 G2571893
NMSU Cap 
Made in Sri Lanka $14.95
 
NMSU Sweatshirt
Made in Honduras $42.95
   
NMSU Sweatshirt
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    
NMSU Sweatshirt
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 

http://www.GEARnosweat.com 

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
1997; June 19, 1999 joined FLA. 

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

http://www.2thegame.com 

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.

CONTACT:
Gigi de Young, JanSport, Inc. (800) 346-8239, ext. 4417
Arnold J.Karr, CRN, Inc. (516) 378-4845 or (800) 426-9227, ext. 698

www.jansport.com 

APPLETON, Wisc

RELEVANT ITEMS
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 1998."

"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 logo).  

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. 
CODE OF CONDUCT

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 
STOP 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 dormitories.

In a statement about the report, the group said ''inhuman conditions'' had been found at plants making products for Nike, New Balance, Timberland,
Huffy, Spiegel, Jansport, the Kathie Lee Gifford label at Wal-Mart and other US companies.

October 20, 1999, Wednesday, Late Edition - Final 

SECTION: Section A; Page 23; Column 1; National Desk 

LENGTH: 510 words 

HEADLINE: Students Urge Colleges to Join A New Anti-Sweatshop Group

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
withheld by the company. This is done to prevent the workers from looking for
better or higher paying jobs, for if they leave before their first year is out, they forfeit both their wages and deposit.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

The 137 universities of the Fair Labor
Association agreed Tuesday to demand that the locations of all factories where their licensed
goods are manufactured be made public. A little over a year ago -- prior to a wave of anti-sweatshop protests on campuses -- no colleges were making such demands.

   
The Anti-Sweatshop Movement  By Paul Street  May 2000

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    
October 26, 1999 Vol. 138 #40 

Sweatshops focus of USC organization

Activists to be speaking on campus today about the conditions of overseas plants

By RYAN PEARSON
Staff Writer

After taking stabs at the issue last semester, Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation is kicking off a campaign today to eliminate what they say is the use of low-paying and unsanitary overseas sweatshops in the manufacturing of USC apparel...

   
February 16, 2000 The Campus Online

Students call for alliance with sweatshop monitor

By Nicole Miller 

The Middlebury Anti-Sweatshop Coalition is calling for President McCardell to affiliate Middlebury College with the Worker Rights
Consortium (WRC), a group that monitors the practices of clothing manufacturers to ensure the ethical treatment of their workers. The pressure follows after President McCardell
signed the Middlebury College Apparel Manufacturers Code of Conduct on November 30... If a vendor does not meet these standards, the Code of Conduct requires that the College end
all transactions with the company.

In order to assess the working conditions of the vendors, the Code of Conduct also calls for a monitoring group to research the manufacturers and report back to the College. 

 

NOTE: Gear for Sports is the apparel provider to Middlebury College.

   
Gear for Sports make some of DePauw University's apparel.

 

   

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

Gear for Sports in Honduras.  
  • Factory 1 CHEIL HOND --  
  • Contact: Suyapa Guevara /JD 
  • Address:  Zonas Industriales C 
  • La Lima, Cortes Honduras
  • Phone: 504-668-1068/1506 504-668-1500 

NOTE: Full Factory NAME is CHEIL HONDURAS, S.A. Phone: (504) 68-1068 Fax: (504) 68-1500 PRODUCTS : CASUAL WEAR (source). 

Cheil Honduras S.A. Suyapa Guevara/JD Jung
Zonas Industriales Continental La Lima Cortes Honduras (Source).

Cheil (504) 668-1068/1506  cheilh@mayanet.hn  

Cheil 
Address: ZIP Continental, La Lima, Cortés 
Gen. Manager: In Ho Kim 
Tel. No: (504) 668-1068/1506 
Fax No: (504) 668-1500 
E-mail: cheilh@mayanet.hn 
Origin: Singapore 
Products: T-Shirts, Sweatpants 
Category: 338,339,347,348 
Machines: 900 
Employees: 1330 
Law: ZIP 
Full Package: No  (source).

 

  • Factory 2 ELCATEX (more company info); Report.
  • Contact: Ted Tabush 
  • Address: Elasticos Centroamer; Complejo Elca, Esqui 
  • Choloma, Cortes Honduras
  •  Phone: 504-669-0029/0035 504-669-3631/0038 

NOTE: Alternative Factory Name for some phone number is ELASTICOS CENTROAMERICANOS Y TEXTILES, S.A. Phone: (504) 69-0029 Fax: (504) 69-0036 PRODUCTS : JERSEY, INTERLOC, PIQUE, FLEECE FABRIC AND TRIMS (source).

ELCATEX 
(504) 669-0029 
chuy@netsys.hn/rosabal@elcatex.net
 

ELCATEX 
Address: Costado N.O. ZIP Choloma, Carretera a Puerto Cortés 
Gen. Manager: Jesús Canahuati 
Tel. No: (504) 669-0029 
Fax No: (504) 669-0036 
E-mail: chuy@netsys.hn/rosabal@elcatex.net 
Origin: Honduras 
Products: Fabric:Jersey,Pique,Interlock,Rib,Fleece,Herringbone 
Popcorn 
Machines: 272 
Employees: 1177 
Law: ZL   (source). 

Fax: (504) 669-0036 Chuy@netsys.hn 

  • Video - When incoming UCLA freshman Arlen Benjamin stops by the campus gift shop to buy a t-shirt, she notices that her purchase was made in Honduras. Asking the question "Who made this t-shirt?" sends her on a journey through Honduras' sweatshop industry. To order the video, contact Global Exchange
  • Map of Honduras http://www.ahm-honduras.com/mapa2.JPG 
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 Korean-owned. 

Ecotex factory, Choloma:

Korean-owned; 250 to 300 workers. http://www.1worldcommunication.org/Walmart.htm#ecotex   

NLC: Wal-Mart Sweatshops in Honduras http://www.nlcnet.org/walmart/honwal.htm 

"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. 

The workers need permission to drink water. If they fail to get permission, they are punished. 

The bathrooms are kept locked, and opened only two hours per shift. The workers need permission to use the bathroom, which is marked down and limited to one use per shift. There is no toilet paper. 

The Ecotex workers complained of back pain (from the hard wooden benches without backs) and of bronchial problems and allergies from constantly breathing in the dust from the fabric. 


WAGES - Sewers earned 46 cents an hour, which is well below subsistence levels. 

No absences are permitted. If a pregnant woman loses a day, or part of it, to go to the health clinic, she is docked two days' wages. 

Here too, 1/3 of the workers were not subscribed into the Social Security health care system, although their wages were deducted. Factories' cheating workers of their Social Security deductions is a widespread practice in Honduras. 

Workers reported being shortchanged on their legal vacation time and pay. 

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 out. 


FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION - There is no right to freedom of association at the Ecotex factory. On August 1, the workers staged a spontaneous work stoppage for two or three hours, as a last resort to protest continuing maltreatments. Ecotex management responded by deducting four days' wages from the workers' pay checks. Following the work stoppage, four or five workers were illegally fired. The company suspected they were organizing a union. 

CODE OF CONDUCT - No worker had heard of the Wal-Mart Code of Conduct. 


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." 

Another source on same story


 

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
Ecotex factory, in Choloma, Honduras.

WORKING CONDITIONS - The workers told us that despite the intense heat, there was no air conditioning. To make matters
worse, the factory did not give workers free access to drinking water. Rather they had to ask permission. 

  • Workers then told us about the factory bathrooms. They said that the bathrooms were dirty, lacked toilet paper, and were cleaned only when executives came to visit the plant. We asked if workers were allowed to use the restroom whenever they needed. The workers shook their heads, no. One woman then pulled a plastic
    bathroom pass from her pocket which she had taken from the factory. She explained that each production line must share one pass. The bathroom is only open for a couple of hours in the morning and in the afternoon. Supervisors permit workers to use the restroom twice per day and write down at what times they go. 

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
that the Ministry of Labor has sold out to the companies. One man told of a friend who complained to the Ministry about the Ecotex Factory. Instead of helping the friend, the Ministry punished him. Workers told us that just a few days before our interview the union had gone on strike. For this action the company deducted 100 lempiras, or $7.41 per week for two weeks from the striker's paychecks. Despite this harsh punishment, workers told us that they were planning another action for the next day; they will fight as hard as is necessary to improve their conditions. 

 

GEAR FOR SPORTS - Guatemala factory locations

Hoya Sa
Lote 1-B
KM 8 Ruta al Atlantico
Guatemala City, Guatemala


Pacific Modas
Calle Real 22-65
Zona 10
San Miguel Petapa, Guatemala

GEAR FOR SPORTS - Mexico factory locations

Acabados Guimex SA DE CV
Lote 3 Manga 3
Parque International
Xiloxoxtla, CP
Tlaxcala, Mexico

Createx Office Arogotex
10 Poniete 1708
7200 Puebla Pue Mexico
Puebla, Mexico

Daugherty De Mexico
Calle 18, Number 3203 Colonia
Bella Vista
Chihuahua CP, Mexico 31030

GEAR FOR SPORTS - Taiwan Factory Locations

Chuan Cheng Hat Co. Ltd.
No. 52-1 Sec. 3 Hsi-tun Road
Taichung, Taiwan ROC

Fu Wok Knitting Garment Co., Ltd.
110 Nei Haun Soith Road
NEPZ Kaohsiung
Taiwan ROC

L-Action Sports Mfg. Co. Ltd.
No. 36, Sec. 3
Fu Hsing Rd.
Hsin Chuang
Taipei, Taiwan ROC

Lian Garment Enterprise Co. Ltd.
No. 8 Alley 8 Lane 226 Sec. 2
Min Sheng Road
Pan Chio City
Taipei Hsien
Taiwan ROC

San Sun Hat and Cap Co. Ltd.
No 130 Hsing An Road
Ta Chia
Taiwan ROC

Super Cap Ind. Co. Ltd.
No.573 Zhi Li 2nd Street
Wu Chi Taichung Hsien
Kwan-Lian Ind. Zone
Taiwan ROC

Texter Garment Ent. Co.
7th Floor, No. 909
Chung Chen Road
Chung Ho City
Taiwan ROC



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. 

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.

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).

 

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).

References

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 following Resolution 

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, 2001

There are compelling arguments for NMSU to initiate a Students Against Sweatshops chapter and without delay, form a WRC Code of Conduct committee. 

BE IT RESOLVED:

1.The New Mexico State University will withdraw from the Fair Labor Association (FLA) because the FLA's pro-corporate bias makes it inherently unable to be an unbiased advocate for ending the sweatshop conditions in which NMSU campus apparel is currently manufactured;

2.The New Mexico State University join the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) so that the NMSU may give greater weight and credibility to making effective the human rights
principles for which the NMSU stands, and that, in so doing, the NMSU assume a leadership role in the WRC;

3. I urge the University to adopt a strong and comprehensive Code of Conduct for apparel licensees of New Mexico State University. This Code of Conduct should be designed to set standards for working conditions in the factories where NMSU licensed apparel is made, and include the following provisions: 


1. Workers making campus apparel should be paid a living wage allowing them to meet their basic needs. 
2. Workers making campus apparel should be free from all forced overtime, harassment, abuse and discrimination. 
3. Workers making campus apparel should have the right to a safe and healthy work environment. 
4. Workers making campus apparel  should have the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. 

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 global workplace;
and

5. New Mexico State University continue to consult with concerned groups such as Students Against Sweatshops,  Workers Rights Consortium, and others that have shown commitment to the elimination of sweatshop subcontracting by firms providing campus apparel.. 

By taking these actions, I believe New Mexico State University will be able to build upon, and add to, its long history of leadership in promoting and protecting human rights.

Sincerely,

David M. Boje 

LINKS


PAPERS

Bartolucci, Noah Stronger code Officials, students look to implement apparel
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
Suite 102
320 Interstate North Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339 

"Universities profit from global sweatshop labor through the $2.5 billion collegiate licensing industry" (Sweatshop Watch).  Collegiate licensing is a multi-billion dollar business. University and college administrations sell manufacturers the right to put their school logo on clothing, banners, coffee mugs and endless other paraphernalia. 

"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)