In hard-fought victory, students and workers have forced German sportswear giant Adidas to compensate 2,700 former Indonesian garment workers who produced collegiate apparel at PT Kizone, an Adidas supplier factory that closed down over two years ago. While the contents of the agreement remain confidential, the PT Kizone workers’ press release stated that “the former workers will receive a substantial sum from Adidas” and the settlement will resolve a powerful international campaign over Adidas’s prior refusal to pay $1.8 million in unpaid severance pay following the closure of PT Kizone.
This agreement builds on the historic precedent that USAS activists set with Nike in 2010 when the brand was forced to pay two million dollars in legally owed severance pay to 1,800 former Honduran garment workers.
“For years, workers in the global apparel industry have routinely been robbed of their legally mandated severance pay when factories close. With today’s announcement, students and workers have established a new norm in the global garment industry; the two largest sportswear brands in the world have both acknowledged that they can no longer walk away when their contractors deprive workers of money they have legally earned,” said Lingran Kong, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Adidas’s decision to compensate its subcontracted workers for the first time in history is a victory of the “Badidas” campaign led by United Students Against Sweatshops. After two coast-to-coast worker tours and escalating on-campus actions across the country, the campaign provoked the largest collegiate boycott of a top-three sportswear company in history, with 17 total universities and colleges ending their contracts with Adidas.
These schools include Cornell University, Oberlin College, the University of Washington, Brown University, Rutgers University, Georgetown University, the College of William & Mary, Santa Clara University, Penn State University, Northeastern University, the University of Montana, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Crookston, and Morris, Oregon State University, Temple University, and Washington State University. Allies in Europe, including People & Planet, Clean Clothes Campaign, and War On Want also launched campaigns, bringing incredible international pressure to bear on the company.
While there is certainly more to be done to clean up violations of workers rights in Adidas’s supply chain, USAS is very pleased that the DPC union and the PT Kizone workers coordinating committee have reached an agreement with Adidas that will achieve long-awaited justice for the 2,700 former PT Kizone workers and their families.
Join USAS and the PT Kizone workers in celebrating this victory by adding your name to our letter of congratulations using the form on the left!