Anti-Sweatshop Advisory Committee Meeting
April 24, 2006
USAS Designated Supplier Proposal . Jenny McDaniel participated in a meeting with the DSP Working Group on March 24 in Washington DC. During the meeting the WRC staff unveiled a draft DSP implementation plan. At a second meeting on April 21, Jenny and the Working Group met with USAS representatives, who requested that two of them be allowed to join the WG. The WG agreed. Also at the April 21 meeting in Washington, a timeline for implementation was discussed. USAS suggested that the implementation plan should be completed by August 31, that the DSP should be added to licensing contracts by Sept. 15, and that on October 17 the 6-month phase-in for using DSP-approved factories should begin.
Jenny handed out several materials to committee members, including minutes from the March 24 meeting, a less formal report from the April 21 meeting, and the draft implementation plan from the WRC.
WRC Factory Reports.
1) Hermosa and Chi Fung factories in El Salvador. Since the closure of the Hermosa factory in May 2005, the company has not paid legally-mandated severance, as well as overtime, disability leave, maternity leave, sick leave, and other benefits to which the workers are entitled by law. Furthermore, the former Hermosa workers who have actively pursued these payments have apparently been blacklisted by Chi Fung, a nearby apparel factory. The WRC has communicated with licensees who have contracted with Hermosa and Chi Fung to seek remediation. We decided to send a letter to relevant licensees on behalf of the Committee to urge them to cooperate in the remediation efforts.
2) Factory safety in Bangladesh. The WRC has reported to its member universities that, in light of several recent fires and other safety incidents, it is concerned that safety codes are not being upheld in Bangladesh. It has communicated with licensees in those countries to enlist their help in ensuring that factories are safe.
Support for Improved Factories. Katie of No Sweat! presented a draft letter to President Herbert to ask the university to communicate with licensees to ask them to support factories where progress has been made in improving worker rights and working conditions, lest these factories close due to lack of business. We tweaked this letter and will send it on to the President.
Coca-Cola Update. The University of Michigan has allowed Coke back on campus due to the planned International Labor Organization investigation in Colombia. The student activists at Michigan are not satisfied with this outcome. As to the independent coalition of universities who were negotiating for an independent investigation at Coke bottling plants in Colombia, we have not received an update from Glen Fichtman of UCLA, one of the coalition leaders. The last we heard, Coke had rejected the proposed investigation and the coalition was mulling over next steps.
Next Meeting . Our next meeting will be 4:00 pm, Tuesday May 30, probably in Franklin Hall 106.