You can now buy sweat free collegiate apparel at the U of H bookstore on the main campus in the University Center! Yes it’s true! This is the Knights Apparel initiative that we blogged about earlier. The brand name is Alta Garcia
When we existed on U of Houston campus from Fall 2007 until Spring 2009 we did a lot of great stuff, including winning our campaign to get the University to join the Worker Rights Consortium.
We forced the University to become the first school in Texas to do so. We also demanded that they stock Alta Garcia apparel when their factory opened in the Dominican Republic. Now that time has come and Alta Garcia clothes are in the bookstore.
Alta Garcia is an experiment in apparel manufacturing because it pays a living wage. See their website here to learn how they “pay our workers a wage that enables them to provide adequate food, clean water, clothing, shelter, health care, child care, and education for themselves and their families–a “living wage”—and hope for a better future.” Also they don’t “charge more for the clothing than other major brands and your purchase makes an enormous difference in the lives of the people who make the Alta Gracia clothing you wear.”
What are you waiting for? Vote with your dollars so we can get all the rest of the clothes that are made in sweatshops out of our bookstore!
Get involved by clicking here!
Posted in Alta Garcia
Tagged Alta Garcia, Alta Garcia Apparel, Barnes and Nobles, conscious consuming, ethical purchasing, Knights Apparel, living wage, sweatfree clothes, UH bookstore, worker's rights, WRC
The new semester is upon us and we’ve got lots to do. We’ll be meeting every Wednesday at 5:30 pm in the Salt Grass room in the UC. It’s on the second floor.
Last semester we got the University to join the Workers Rights Consortium WRC which means our school adopted a code of conduct for companies it allows to produce its logo clothes. This also means that every time the WRC issues a report about workers and their factory conditions the university gets a copy of it. The biggest issue right now is a factory Russell (who produce UH clothes) owns in Honduras. They’re going to close the factory and fire 1,800 because they tried to unionize. Read the whole report here: Jerzees report This is a violation of the UH code of conduct.
We brought letters to UH president Renu Khator twice in December about the Jerzees Honduras situation yet she refused to even write a letter to Russell or take any action about the violations of the UH code of conduct. Other universities like Miami cut their contract with Russell.
We need your help to make our campaign successful. We’re working on bringing a worker from Tijuana next month to speak to the student body. Come on out and learn how to organize, write grants, public speaking, marketing skills and much more.
The University of Houston administration informed us on October 15 that they will affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). The main goal of our campaign is for the University to sign on to the Designated Supplier’s Program (DSP). In order to sign on to the DSP a school must be affiliated with the WRC.
The WRC is an independent labor rights monitoring organization, conducting investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe. Their purpose is to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who sew apparel and make other products sold in the United States. It is governed by a fifteen member board with 5 students, 5 independent labor experts and 5 university administrators. See WRC for more information.
The affiliation with the WRC gives us leverage to push administrators to pressure the brands they license our logo to when labor abuses are uncovered. For example in 2007, with strong support from students and other anti-sweatshop activists, the workers at a factory in Honduras that makes apparel for the Jerzees brand (owned by Russell Athletic) won their hard-fought struggle for union representation, an unprecedented victory. Unfortunately, Russell Athletic has moved to destroy the union at Jerzees de Honduras by announcing on October 8th that they are closing the factory. And this happened right when Russell was in the middle of negotiations with the workers over their first contract. Because of this, the workers’ gains at Jerzees de Honduras have been put in jeopardy. This closure is a direct result of the business practices of Russell.
You can join us in taking steps to stop this unjust action by Russell by clicking here: take action
“The UH Students Against Sweatshops (SAS) goal is for the University to sign on to the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP). For a university to sign on to the DSP it must be affiliated with the Worker Rights Consortium. Therefore we also want the University to affiliate with the WRC.
Students Against Sweatshops will be conducting a press conference in the near future to address the apparel task force report and Dr. Khator’s statement to faculty and staff regarding that report.”
Please consult our power point presentation for background information on this issue. Click on the dsp and wrc link below to access power point.
This evening (March 3) we received a letter from Chancellor Khator about our campaign to sign the DSP. We will be drafting a reply soon but for now we wanted to post her letter. Please note that the Fair Labor Association is made up of manufacturers and the WRC is independent. We’re disappointed that even though the Student Government passed a bill to sign the DSP, Khator is ignoring that and setting up a committee that apparently DOES NOT INCLUDE STUDENTS and is chaired by an economist who does not specialize in globalization or labor.
We are most disturbed by her threats, “You must immediately stop any and all disruptive behavior. Any such behavior will be subject to discipline under university policies and procedures.” We have not disrupted anyone and feel that she is trying to silence our concerns by attempting to scare us off. Read her letter – Khator letter to SAS
Read our reply- SAS reply to Khator