Two decades after overseas sweatshop conditions first hit national headlines, garment factory conditions have become worse than ever. In Cambodia, workers earn so little they cannot afford basic nutrition and are fainting en masse in factories producing for billionaire apparel corporations like adidas. In Bangladesh, 500 workers in the last five years have died in preventable factory fires while sewing garments for companies like The GAP. In Nicaragua, workers are systematically fired for exercising their protected right to form unions, and in Indonesia, workers are falling deeper and deeper into debt as greedy companies like adidas refuse to pay them what they’re legally owed after their union factories illegally shut down.
But there’s a solution – just in December, the U.S. Department of Justice gave us the green light to demand multinational corporations put an end to their out of control sweatshop practices, and it affirmed that Universities can in fact demand multinational apparel corporations making college-logo apparel to keep production in factories that actually respect workers’ basic rights to form a union and earn living wages, enshrined through a proposal students and workers made 7 years ago called the Designated Suppliers Program.
We know the last thing greedy apparel companies want is to respect workers’ rights to unionize and share their billions in profits by paying their workers living wages. This is the beginning of a tough fight in solidarity with garment workers around the world risking their lives and their jobs for better conditions.
That’s why, this summer, 12 students, as part of the USAS International Team, will be dispatched to garment-producing countries to document garment workers’ conditions, learn from, and develop stronger ties with sweatshop workers fighting for dignified working conditions and their right to form a union. USAS activists will be placed with unions and workers’ rights organizations across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and they’ll hit the ground running igniting on-campus campaigns in the Fall.
Join the campaign:
- VICTORY! Kent State Commits to Affiliate with WRC Posted on: March 10, 2016
After eight months of campaigning, we are delighted to report that Kent State University has committed to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium!
- Call to Action: Tell H&M #WeNeed177 in Cambodia Posted on: December 4, 2015
All workers deserve a living wage! While we’re fighting for $15 across the U.S., Cambodian unions are leading a historic campaign to raise their federal minimum wage.
- What Did Nike Just Do? Posted on: November 19, 2015
What did Nike just do? Students across the country are taking action against apparel giant, Nike, for their shocking new scheme to hide their sweatshop abuses. Click here to learn more and find out how you join us in this critical fight.
- We did it! Rana Plaza Fund reaches $30 million goal Posted on: June 19, 2015
Roughly two years following the now infamous Rana Plaza factory collapse, a fund established for victims and their families has finally been filled.
- Students kept busy at USAS Summer Convention Posted on: August 27, 2014
As USAS students gear up for another year of fighting corporate greed on our campuses and around the globe, it’s a great time to reflect on the work some students kept busy with at our Summer Convention.