Anti-Sweatshop Advisory Committee Meeting
February 2, 2005
1. Wage Disclosure. Committee chair Dick McKaig reported that there is still no response from President Herbert about our request to add wage disclosure language to the Licensee Code of Conduct. He will contact the president’s assistant again as a reminder. Dick also agreed to contact Scott Nova of the WRC to get an update as to what other schools are doing regarding wage disclosure to anticipate questions the President may have.
2. BJ&B Dominican Republic. This factory has apparently still not made progress toward implementing a redress of worker grievances. We have had no update from the WRC since January 12. We agreed that it was time for the IU RTC (Jenny) to send a letter to licensees that contract with Yupoong, BJ&B’s parent company, asking them to cease working with the manufacturer. The letter should specify a 1-month response deadline.
3. Multi-Fiber Arrangement. Purnima presented a draft letter to our licensees addressing the need to pay special attention to workers’ rights in light of the Indian Ocean tsunamis and the Dec. 31, 2004 expiration of the Multi-Fiber (trade) Arrangement. The group agreed to add a stronger sentence about compliance with the licensee code of conduct in the last paragraph, and then approved the text of the letter. The letter is to be sent by Jenny in IU RTC.
4. Fair Trade Proposal. Al reported on feedback he received from Professor Roseanne Spiro, director of the Marketing Department in the Kelley School of Business. She recommended a few faculty members who could talk to us about the Continental Enterprises proposal. She herself suggested that, if IU were to engage in a licensensing outreach program to fair trade cooperatives, it would be best to cut out intermediaries such as Continental Enterprises if possible. She also pointed out a potential conflict/tension between our traditional licensees and the potential fair trade licensees.
David of No Sweat! reported that students at a recent Students United Against Sweatshops meeting agreed that the WRC should be approached about coordinating a free trade effort among member universities. We agreed that this was a good idea, since the WRC already has a membership base and has no profit-seeking motive. Purnima suggested that we could host a mini-conference at IU to explore how universities can support fair trade cooperatives. Several committee members were enthusiastic about this idea, to be discussed in more detail at a future meeting. Dick said he would contact Scott Nova to see what the WRC’s initial reaction was to supporting such an effort.
5. Gildan Activewear. This company has agreed to a corrective action plan proposed by the WRC and is now again considered in compliance with university licensee codes of conduct. We decided to reinstate Gildan as a compliant contractor. Jenny in the IU RTC will send a letter to our licensees who use Gildan.