Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Looking for Rabbit Fur: Above and Beyond by Knights Apparel

A headline in today's Collegian read, "Apparel program detailed." Here's the guts of the story

Wholesale supplier Knights Apparel -- one of the largest distributors of licensed collegiate clothing in the country -- has agreed to pay more for goods produced at a specific factory in the
Dominican Republic, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).

The factory will pay its workers a living wage -- almost three times the minimum wage, Nova said, adding workers at this factory will be allowed to form a union to push for more rights.

"Those two things combined are what will bring the factory to a higher standard than what's been previously achieved," Nova said. "We think this will be a big step forward for universities and students to respect the rights of workers."

The Dominican factory will produce collegiate licensed T-shirts and sweatshirts, he said.

This is the details on the Knights Apparel side, which is old news. The story doesn't give any details of the role that Penn State will play and from this statement,"University spokesman Bill Mahon declined to comment, and other university officials did not return calls seeking comment," it appears that Old Main is avoiding discussing it.

And yes, the fact that Knights Apparel is paying a living wage is old news. Joesph Bozich, the president of Knights Apparel, was talking explicitly about "above and beyond"  in June of 2008 and more generally  about paying a living wage as far back as  2006.

This story doesn't change my mind, I will still call the "new program"  Harvey.

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