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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Husky Apparel to be Sweatshop Free

posted by on May 24 at 16:14 PM

Rod Palmquist, of the Sweatshop Coalition says that their campaign to stop the production of Husky apparel in sweatshop is over. “We won,” he says.

By 2009, 25% of UW apparel will be produced in factories that pay a living wage. UW will then increase the number of sweatshop-free factories it uses by 25% every year, until all Husky goods are sweatshop-free.

UW spokesman Norm Arkans says that the school is ready to “roll up our sleeves and get working.”

RSS icon Comments

1

I think you mean Norm, not Ron, Arkans.

Posted by Randy | May 24, 2007 4:50 PM
2

Yes, it's Norm Arkans.

Posted by Sachi | May 24, 2007 4:53 PM
3

Ye Christ, I remember going to protests for this in my "Campus Activist" period in 19-fawking-98. Good that it's finally happening, but there's a bleak humor in it having taken so long. Maybe they could contract through American Apparel.
There's a hilarious parody ad waiting to happen in that idea.

Posted by BillyCorazon | May 24, 2007 4:55 PM
4

that is well-intentioned but pointless. define sweatshop.

Posted by chris | May 24, 2007 7:23 PM
5

Chris, how can you possible assume that you know enough about the UW anti-sweatshop group's work and the UW policy to call this "pointless"?

Are you actually saying that you know what the UW policy is and know it to be too vaguely worded?

Such policies are very specific in detailing the criteria that a factory must meet in order to do business with the university in making apparel. You could always take issue with any particular part of the policy, but it's just lazy to presume the folks involved in this campaign have taken a vague, undefined approach to their work.

Posted by ben | May 24, 2007 8:49 PM
6

One (fairly conservative) definition of a sweatshop is conditions where "a worker is oppressed to the point that he or she must work in excess of ten hours a day, be subjected to constant health and safety dangers, suffer physical abuse by employers, and still struggle to put food on the family" (Wong et al, "Sweatshop Slaves", UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, 2006).

The Designated Suppliers Program that the UW just adopted would primarily address the above working conditions by:

a) requiring that apparel brands like Nike pay factory owners enough money to pay workers a living wage (based off the costs of regional baskets of goods)

b) requiring that apparel brands and factory owners respect workers' right to form a union or other representative body.

To ensure that the above points are observed, an independent monitor called the Worker Rights Consortium, would continually check to see if participating parties are in compliance with the specifications of the program.

Check out http://www.workersrights.org/dsp.asp, or http://students.washington.edu/uwslap to learn more.

Posted by Rod | May 25, 2007 11:02 PM
7

Oh, and American Apparel isn't that great of an alternative. They are anti-union and the owner of the company has had multiple charges of sexual harrasment filed against him...

Posted by Rod | May 25, 2007 11:04 PM
8

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