Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The University of Alabama has a choice to make

…a message from our caroling friends @usuas…'tis the season…

Right now our USAS group is caroling outside of our President's office in hopes of catching her attention with our rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock."

This holiday season, President Judy Bonner of the University of Alabama has an opportunity to give workers who make our college apparel the gifts they deserve — respect and guaranteed safety at their workplace through affiliating with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). The WRC is an independent factory monitoring organization whose purpose is to monitor compliance with licensing codes of conduct adopted by colleges and universities. These codes are to ensure that factories producing clothing and other goods with college logos respect the basic rights of workers, such as the right to form a union, earn a living wage, and be in
safe working conditions. There are over 180 colleges and universities affiliated with the WRC.

Unfortunately, Dr. Judy Bonner will not be on Santa's Nice List this year since her response to our WRC campaign this semester was that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) monitoring program that our school is affiliated with is doing a fine job. But the FLA's Board of Directors consists of representatives from companies who are interested in their own corporate agenda, and have voting majority power. Additionally, the FLA is not transparent in many ways such as not revealing the name of the factories, and having no requirement to include worker interviews in their reports. Students at the University of Alabama are not proud of our President's poor judgement and choices that have negatively affected garment workers.

For the past school year our USAS group has been campaigning to get our President to affiliate with the WRC through a variety of actions. We've created a coalition of other student organizations that stand firmly with WRC affiliation and are tired of our President's excuses and disregard for workers' basic rights.

We're not the only students taking action during the holiday season. Other USAS locals all across the country have been doing holiday themed actions the last two weeks for their campaigns urging their administrators to respect garment workers who make our college apparel.

In solidarity, Anna Thomas

University of Alabama USAS Local #144

United Students Against Sweatshops |
Organizing for Student and Worker Powe

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