Anti-Sweatshop Advisory Committee Meeting
December 5, 2005
USAS Designated Supplier Proposal . The WRC has hosted two conference calls with universities regarding this proposal, on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, at which about 50 schools were represented. The next conference call is scheduled for Dec. 13. There is general agreement in support of the principles of the USAS proposal, and discussion is ongoing on how to implement it. The WRC and legal counsel at a few universities are checking to make sure no anti-trust problems would be created by adopting the proposal.
On Dec. 2, committee chair Dick McKaig forwarded to IU President Adam Herbert a recommendation from our committee that “IU exercise its role as a leader among higher education institutions by indicating our willingness to adopt the provisions of the Deisgnated Supplier Program.” If Pres. Herbert agrees to take this step, and other university presidents do as well, then several universities could move ahead as a group to adopt the USAS proposal.
Phil Shelton of No Sweat! and USAS reported that the University of Wisonsin-Madison is eager to move forward on the proposal in conjunction with IU. The proposal has been brought forward to the UW-Madison chancellor.
Coca-Cola Issue Update . Dick has asked Glen Fichtman of UCLA, who has been one of the leaders of the independent coalition of universities and labor groups urging an investigation of Coke’s labor rights violations, to provide an update on the issue, but he has not received a response. A student group at IUPUI is interested in the issue and asked to bring it to the attention of the IU Trustees when they meet this week, but they did not obtain a spot on the agenda. Phil reminded us that the independent coaltion finalized its plans for the investigation in early November, and that Coke was given a Dec. 9 deadline to either accept or reject the investigation proposal. The NYU Faculty/Student Senate has given Coke a Dec. 8 deadline, and if Coke does not accept the investigation proposal by then, all Coke products will be removed from campus vending and sales locations. Both Dick and Phil said they would notify the committee of Coke’s response (or lack of one).
Announcements . Purnima Bose referred committee members to a recent edition of the public radio program “This American Life” about the Cambodian garment industry. The Cambodian government has actually passed certain fair labor laws, and on this basis it is trying to obtain tarif exemptions from the US in order to remain competitive with Chinese factories.
Next Meeting . Our next meeting will be 4:00 pm, Tuesday January 17, 2006. Location will probably be the usual conference room, Franklin Hall 106.