IU Anti-Sweatshop Advisory Committee

29 Jan., 2009

Meeting minutes (12/12/09)

Lynn Duggan expressed concern about details related to the ILO report on Columbia.  It was decided to amend or delete this portion of the minutes, pending clarification of certain delegation members and their roles.

Jerzees de Honduras

Closure of the Jerzees de Honduras plant by Russell Athletics was the focus of WRC and FLA investigations.  Members of both organizations cited violations of the codes of conduct with regard to Russell A.’s claim that the only reason for the closure was economic factors.  Valerie Gill noted that Russell A. represented approximately 3% of IU’s Licensing and Trademark gross revenue.  Remediation efforts were still underway, with a conference call on the issue, which Valerie would participate in, forthcoming.

Knights Apparel Caribbean project

A very exciting program in the Caribbean would provide living wages to workers of Knights Apparel.  A previously shuttered facility was to be reopened in the Dominican Republic, with goods produced sold for a premium, and marketing that touted the ‘fair trade’ relationship.  With commitments from retailers, including Barnes & Noble, and other universities, it is expected that products may be available as early as July.  While it was suggested that the effort might be a way to preempt and forestall the Designated Suppliers Program and get around any unionizing effort, a closer look at the announcement showed the involvement of the national union.

Coca-Cola contract

A lengthy discussion took place on the pending renegotiation of IU’s contract with Coca-Cola.  A representative from the corporation expressed a willingness to meet with the committee.  It was hoped that a conference call, video link, or person-to-person meet could be scheduled for late Feb. or early March.  Some general areas of concern were talked about, especially with regard to the ILO report on Columbia.  Lynn noted that the local company had a practice of meeting with non-union workers, in what was termed as “collective accord” agreements.  This is one area where union solidarity and leverage could be undermined.  She also pointed out that the major issue of the campaign against Coca-Cola, murders of unionized workers, received only a footnote’s mention in the ILO report.  The committee was encouraged by Dick McKaig to formulate more specific questions for Coca-Cola in advance of the meet.

The next committee meeting was to be set up with the Doodle online scheduling resource.