Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Big Win For Team USAS, A Bigger Win For Workers

The New York Times reports this evening on some big news on the anti-sweatshop front.
The anti-sweatshop movement at dozens of American universities, from Georgetown to U.C.L.A., has had plenty of idealism and energy, but not many victories.

Until now.

The often raucous student movement announced on Tuesday that it had achieved its biggest victory by far. Its pressure tactics persuaded one of the nation’s leading sportswear companies, Russell Athletic, to agree to rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when Russell closed their factory soon after the workers had unionized.

From the time Russell shut the factory last January, the anti-sweatshop coalition orchestrated a nationwide campaign against the company. Most important, the coalition, United Students Against Sweatshops, persuaded the administrations of Boston College, Columbia, Harvard, New York University, Stanford, Michigan, North Carolina and 89 other colleges and universities to sever or suspend their licensing agreements with Russell. The agreements — some yielding more than $1 million in sales — allowed Russell to put university logos on T-shirts, sweatshirts and fleeces.

This might explain today's meeting between Graham and USAS that Onward State reported on yesterday. Graham likes to associate himself with a winner, afterall.

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