Students take action on more than 30 universities to protest sweatshop conditions in the production of college apparel and demand bookstores increase orders from Alta Gracia- unionized, living wage factory in the Dominican Republic
While USAS activists across the country take action in solidarity with Wisconsin students and workers fighting the right-wing attacks of Gov. Scott Walker, the struggle for worker rights both here and abroad cannot slow down! Read below about the Anti-Sweatshop Week of Action, and for more information on the struggle in Wisconsin, check out Defend Wisconsin, the campaign co-led by UW-Madison’s USAS affiliate, the Student Labor Action Coalition.
February 21, 2011 – This week, February 21- 25, students at more than 30 universities across the country affiliated with United Students Against Sweatshops will be taking action to address the fact that their college-logo apparel continues to be made in sweatshops and call on their universities to make a genuine commitment to the only unionized, living wage factory that complies with universities’ codes of conduct, Alta Gracia. Students will be demanding that their schools increase orders of their college apparel from Alta Gracia; affiliate with the independent factory monitor, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC); and disaffiliate with the corporate-run Fair Labor Association (FLA).
Ten years ago, students across the country demanded that their universities take a stand against sweatshop exploitation by affiliating with the WRC and disaffiliating with the FLA to ensure that workers producing college-logo apparel have access to a reliable and independent factory monitor. Today, as a result of USAS student activism, the WRC has more than 160 affiliate schools and has developed a track record of groundbreaking investigations that have triggered USAS campaigns resulting in historic victories for garment workers producing for Russell Athletic and Nike. Students are also demanding once and for all that universities stop paying dues to the corporate-funded FLA, highlighting over a decade of the organization’s failure to report worker abuse and affirming that corporations cannot genuinely monitor their own sweatshops.
As a victory of the student anti-sweatshop movement, the university community can now purchase union-made, living wage apparel from the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic, which employs union leaders who have been fighting against Nike sweatshop conditions for over a decade. Students across the country are demanding that their universities take a stand against sweatshop conditions and increase orders from Alta Gracia.
“I’m joining USAS student activists across the country to fight against sweatshop conditions and calling on my bookstore to increase their orders of Alta Gracia apparel because we can only win when we join together to take on these corporations and also support union workers making our apparel,” said Joana Leonido, a USAS activist at UC Santa Cruz.
A glimpse into this week…
- At New York University, students are organizing a coalition to head straight to the campus bookstore and callign on them to source the highest percentage of Alta Gracia apparel of any other college bookstore in the country.
- At Rutgers University, students will be turning up the heat on the FLA’s Executive Director and demand once and for all that their university disaffiliates from the Nike-dominated FLA.
- At the University of Texas, the largest licensing school in the entire country, students will show that they’d rather be naked than wear sweatshop clothing and call on UT to finally affiliate with the WRC after a decade of struggle!