Open letter to Chancellor Moeser, Monday, April 28

April 28, 2008

Dear Chancellor Moeser:

On this, the twelfth day of our peaceful occupation of South Building, we write to you to once again to formally request you to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP). We are committed to remaining here until you uphold the University’s stated commitment to the human rights of workers who make our UNC licensed apparel.

We were pleased to hear that in response to our suggestion to Dean Winston Crisp last week, you called for an emergency meeting of the Licensing Labor Code Advisory Committee. We are fully aware that this meeting would not have been called had it not been for our constant presence outside your door. We are glad that you have reversed your August 2007 decision to reject the DSP. We hope that the discussion on Friday, May 2nd, will be honest and productive.

However, it must be made clear that we will not accept anything less from you than an agreement to adopt the DSP, as outlined in our statement presented to you on April 17, 2008. This includes announcing public support for the DSP, a commitment to adoption and timely implementation of the DSP as outlined by the DSP Working Group in September 2006, and amending our labor codes of to reflect the requirements of the DSP once the DSP Working Group has agreed to move forward with implementation. Additionally, UNC-CH must join the DSP Working Group in order to work with other colleges and universities to move the program forward.

We will not end this sit-in because an emergency meeting of the LLCAC has been called. This issue has been discussed in this nontransparent committee structure for three years, whose final reports omitted the voices of many pro-DSP members of the committee and many salient details of the DSP debate, which we will deconstruct below.

It has become painfully clear to us in the past three years of attempted dialogue with your administration both through repeated requests for meetings and through the committee structure that UNC is not interested in honest, accountable dialogue with its students over workers’ rights issues. For three years, we have requested meetings and been denied. We have attempted to work through a committee structure stacked against us as students.

Furthermore, if this committee structure was so important to you as an advisory committee, then we must ask why the LLCAC was not appointed until November 9, 2007, literally the day after members of SAW staged a public letter delivery and march protesting your decision to reject the DSP. We must ask why the first meeting of this committee was December 3, 2007, the week of finals for undergraduates and why, after years of discussing the DSP in committee, the meeting you have chosen to call and attend is at the end of finals week for undergraduate students at the very end of your term this coming Friday, May 2nd. We have been forced to choose between our ethical commitment to living a Carolina education and receiving the benefits of that Carolina education because of our commitment to these issues.

The simple fact that we were refused any sort of meeting until we delivered a statement from students at Appalachian State University who began a sit-in the week before us is yet another demonstration that UNC will not listen to its students when we attempt to present reasoned arguments and academic research through bureaucratic structures, and we are thus consistently forced to take measures of civil disobedience.

The round-table meeting that took place on Wednesday, April 16, under threat of protest from us, was not in any way a good faith meeting as the University has attempted to portray to the press. A good faith meeting would have included members of our community holding this University accountable to its many misrepresentations of the DSP and our current labor licensing programs. In such a meeting, you would not have misrepresented the issues at all and engaged in substantive conversation with us on the program, but instead what transpired was ninety minutes of posturing in order to be able to say to the media and the general public, once we began this sit-in, that you met with us the day before with no mention of the complete unwillingness on the part of the administration to discuss the actual facts and substance of the program.

At this meeting, if we needed further demonstration of your unwillingness to discuss the DSP in good faith, you made false claims such as the DSP would create “union shops” and that other universities have not adopted the DSP but rather have only made a commitment to sourcing a certain percentage of apparel from designated sweatfree factories. A quick review of the DSP policy document would instantly reveal that the DSP is intended to protect freedom of association rights of workers, which is already mandated in our code of conduct, not mandate unions, and that such a percentage phase-in of the program is in fact, precisely what the DSP is.

While our bureaucracy is at a standstill, workers are abused in factories where our apparel is manufactured. Almost ten years after we have adopted labor codes of conduct, though we have seen workers claim victories in that time, we have seen those victories destroyed in the global race to the bottom. We must address root causes of human rights abuses in order to enforce our labor codes of conduct and do more than simply pay lip service to upholding workers’ human rights. This is an urgent moral issue. This is not something that can wait for a new chancellor-the workers who make UNC apparel cannot afford for us to wait any longer. The time to act is now.

To ensure that this process is expedited and transparent we have collected a list of your stated public concerns regarding the DSP. Please feel free to ask us if you have any further questions of clarifications. After all, we are only a few feet from your office and would happy to speak with you at any time-indeed, that is why we are here.


General overview of the DSP: UNC labor codes of conduct alone do not work
“You can’t audit factories into compliance.” ~Auret Van Heerden, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association (
FLA)

The DSP would address the root causes of abuse and exploitation in the garment industry by serving as a mechanism to enforce our codes of conduct and upholding the human rights of the garment workers who make our UNC-CH licensed apparel. In 1999, after students staged a four day sit-in in the very lobby we are currently occupying, UNC-CH took moral leadership on these issued by adopting labor codes of conduct, which say that licensed apparel should be made by workers who can earn enough to provide for their families, under conditions free from harassment and a guarantee of associational rights. The gains that workers have made in the past ten years, including the BJ&B factory in the Dominican Republic, a landmark case in the university anti-sweatshop movement, have not been sustainable. Because of the downward price pressure from licensees, the current system actually punishes factories like BJ&B in which workers have made substantial victories and rewards sweatshop conditions. Brands pass on the responsibility of corporate social responsibility to factories in their supply chain, but do not pay fair prices to those factories in order to make it feasible for those factories in our supply chain to uphold our labor codes of conduct.

Thus, the main logic of the DSP is a requirement to brands to pay fair prices to factories, so that they can meet living wage requirements and maintain safe and healthy working environments. The licensees would be required to have long-term contracts with designated factories and would have to make sure that the factories receive sufficient orders to make a majority of the orders be for the collegiate market, in order for our purchasing power to have sway over the working conditions in the industry. The DSP would be phased in over three years and would be coupled with effective monitoring programs. At the end of the three-year period only 75% of apparel would have to be sourced from designated factories, allowing universities to still have some influence in the rest of the garment industry. This program addresses the root causes that bring about sweatshop conditions. It is sustainable and builds capacity of factories that comply with our cods of conduct. It has significant support from students, faculty, staff, labor activists, garment industry supply chain experts, and most importantly garment workers and democratic organizations representing those garment workers around the world.


Your rejection of the DSP and the LLCAC

On August 17, 2007 you wrote a letter to the LLCAC rejecting the DSP, despite the Committee’s consensus recommendation to stay as an observer in the working group in order to monitor ongoing developments and serve as a compromise between members of the LLCAC. In that letter, you stated that there were “too many critical questions” that had not been answered. The letter did not elaborate on what these questions were, nor did it specify how the DSP might weaken the “current labor code situation” or “unfairly harm … exemplary licensees in unintended ways”. There were no concrete reasons why its effectiveness would be in question, making it impossible for pro-DSP voices to address your concerns and preventing real progress from being reached.

Since then, you have cited a lack of consensus in the LLCAC as a reason to reject the DSP. The LLCAC was originally convened in response to student activism against sweatshop conditions in order to get to the substance of the debates and work on constructive solutions and dialogue in advising chancellors, not to reach consensus, and it does a disservice to the committee and the university as a whole to ignore the pro-DSP voices of the LLCAC. Ultimately, the real power and responsibility lies with the Chancellor of the University, not its advisory committee, and the responsibility to critically evaluate the facts presented to you rests only with you, not the LLCAC.


Momentum behind DSP as opposed to other programs

In the August 2007 letter, you also stated that, “there is still not the kind of critical mass among the campuses with the highest-performing trademark licensing programs to give the proposal momentum to gain any significant traction. In fact, there is more momentum among the very top public university licensing programs to pursue alternatives to the DSP.” You have also cited this as a concern to the press, saying that no top-level licensing schools have adopted the DSP.

Firstly, there is much greater momentum behind the DSP than any other program, including the FLA Enhanced Licensee Program, which UNC-CH is currently signed onto along with nine other universities. Forty-two universities have signed onto the DSP and dozens more are considering adopting it soon, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the entire University of California system, Columbia University, and Duke University. We see no reason as to why the DSP would affect the supply chain of UNC-CH licensed apparel any differently than these respected institutions.

Secondly, if there is a concern that the DSP does not have enough collective purchasing power behind it in order to move forward with implementation, then that is all the more reason for UNC’s respected licensing program to move forward with implementation of the DSP to support the human rights and dignity of garment workers. The DSP would be a historic victory for workers, and the University of North Carolina as the flagship institution of this state has an opportunity to lead other schools in choosing human rights and being a true “university of the people of the world.”


Antitrust and other legal concerns

The Fact Sheet issued by UNC-CH this month states that the Department of Justice declined to give the DSP a favorable Business Review letter. This is false. The Department of Justice made no decision concerning the DSP; the WRC willingly withdrew its Business Review Letter when it became apparent that the program would be judged according to politics, not its legal merits.

The University has stated many times that the DSP may violate antitrust laws. However, forty-two universities have already signed on to support the DSP, including three Big Ten schools and universities with prominent legal programs, such as Columbia, Georgetown, Duke, and Cornell. Furthermore, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General and head of the antitrust division in the Department of Justice Donald Baker, reviewed the program in 2006 and found that the DSP does not conflict with national laws.

The WRC’s decision to withdraw the request should not interfere with UNC’s adoption of the DSP. The program has not been put on hold. In fact, two universities have signed on to support the DSP in the short time following the WRC’s decision.

As Baker wrote in a 2006 memorandum to Scott Nova, executive director of the WRC, “I also want to stress…that there is no legal impediment to a University Licensor agreeing in principle to the DSP program, and participating in implementation planning, while awaiting the outcome of the DOJ process.”


SAW/SAS Response to the
FLA Enhanced Licensee Program (articulated in many earlier correspondences within the LLCAC)

UNC-CH has committed itself to a new FLA program to address noncompliance with university codes of conduct. We have reviewed available documents associated with this program, entitled “Enhancing Compliance with University Codes of Conduct”, “Enhanced Licensee Program and Associated Pilot FAQs”, and “Enhanced Licensee Program and Pilot, Program Timeline.”

We are pleased that the FLA acknowledges that current programs have been ineffective in ensuring licensee compliance with university codes of conduct. As the primary organization that has drawn attention to ongoing sweatshop abuses in factories that make university apparel, we feel it is important to share with the FLA and UNC-CH some very serious concerns that we have about the FLA’s proposed solution.

It is difficult to comment in detail about the proposal at this point because the available documents provide very little actual information about the program the FLA is proposing and how it will work. We hope the FLA has materials that are far more substantive than those currently available and, if so, we would urge the organization to make these materials available to the university community.

The limited information available on the FLA program raises numerous questions and concerns. The purpose of the present document is to outline our most fundamental concerns about the program, as described in the FLA’s materials:

1.The FLA program does not address any of the root causes of noncompliance with university codes of conduct. At the center of the recent upsurge in university concern over sweatshops are the sourcing practices of U.S. apparel companies that lead to sweatshop working conditions in their supplier factories. Whether or not a particular university supports the DSP, we all recognize that ensuring adequate prices and stable relationships between licensees and their factories is critical to achieving meaningful compliance with our codes of conduct. Yet the FLA’s new program makes no mention of pricing or the length of licensee-factory relationships, and does not require that production be organized such that the licensee is in a position to influence each factory’s labor practices.

2.The FLA program does not require factory compliance with university codes of conduct. After eight years of failed efforts to ensure that the factories producing university goods live up to our standards, universities should expect that an enhanced program would actually result in factory compliance. Unfortunately, the FLA program explicitly does not guarantee compliance at the factory level. Instead, the FLA gives licensees two options for enhancing compliance: either accept the exact same obligations already required of FLA member companies; or source from “compliance-ready factories” that are being used by other brands. Unlike designated suppliers, “compliance-ready factories” are not guaranteed to be in compliance with university labor standards. The DSP, on the other hand, requires licensees to identify and source from factories that have made a commitment to full compliance with university codes.

3. The FLA program funnels collegiate licensees into a failed compliance system. The two options given to licensees under this program (either adopt a compliance program following FLA guidelines, or shift production to factories already in use by larger FLA member companies) would make sense if the FLA’s current system had been demonstrated as an effective means to eliminate sweatshop working conditions. Unfortunately, current code compliance programs are not working. We know from reports published by both the WRC and FLA that serious worker rights abuses continue to be the norm at factories producing for FLA members like Nike and Reebok that have been subject to these very programs for over five years. This is why USAS and the WRC have proposed a new program designed to address some of the fundamental obstacles to compliance. The FLA, on the other hand, is proposing to apply the same failed system to a new group of companies.

4.The FLA program gives big licensees a free pass. The new program does nothing to address working conditions at factories supplying the biggest university licensees, including Nike, Adidas/Reebok, Jansport, Gear for Sports and Champion, and Russell. The implication is that these companies have already achieved a high level of code compliance, but the reality is otherwise. Indeed most of the sweatshop cases that have outraged the university community in recent years have involved these larger brands. Given that about 40 of these large companies account for 80% of the collegiate apparel market, it is imperative that any program designed to address the shortcomings of current compliance efforts apply to these big players.

5.Unlike the DSP, the FLA‘s program has not been subject to public scrutiny and university decisions to participate in the program have not been made in a collaborative or transparent manner. The DSP has been the subject of rigorous debate and scrutiny, detailed research and analysis regarding its feasibility, and ongoing planning and revision by the university community for more than two years. Literally hundreds of pages of material have been produced by the WRC and USAS in response to questions and concerns raised by the university community during this process of analysis, and very substantial changes were made to address the concerns of various stakeholders. We expect that the FLA’s program will be analyzed in the same manner.

Conclusion

We would like to be very clear that FLA‘s new program cannot be viewed by UNC-CH as a substitute for or an alternative to the DSP. The FLA program does nothing to address apparel industry sourcing practices that are at the root of sweatshop conditions, and does not even aim to guarantee compliance in factories producing university goods. The past eight years have shown that we need a fundamental change in our approach to these issues if we are going to see compliance with university codes of conduct. The DSP incorporates the necessary changes; the FLA‘s program does not.


New Era Cap and lack of consensus in the LLCAC as a reason to reject the DSP

This past year there were claims of racial discrimination and anti-union firings at a New Era Cap factory in Mobile, Alabama, which supplies UNC with fashion caps. One of the members of your LLCAC and member of SAW traveled to Mobile personally on a delegation in January 2008 to speak with workers about the ongoing labor abuses at this New Era facility. Workers at the plant had been fired for their union activity, and also presented evidence that the factory has discriminated against female and African-American employees. The NAACP published their own report about racial discrimination at the factory, and publicly condemned New Era for their racist and anti-union practices. Tim Freer, who is a member of the FLA’s Board of Directors, visited the Mobile plant and made anti-union comments during meetings with workers.

We find it interesting that you cited a “lack of clear consensus emerging from the committee” as a reason to reject the DSP. In January, the LLCAC unanimously recommended that you send an ultimatum to New Era Cap over these alleged code of conduct violations stating that the impasse between New Era and the Workers Rights Consortium was unacceptable and that New Era should cooperate with the WRC or another agent of our choosing and permit on-site access for an investigation. If New Era Cap did not do this, it would be grounds for terminating our contract for breach of contract.

Instead, the letter you sent to New Era included no mention of cooperating with the WRC or possible consequences, especially given their history as a violator of our codes of conduct resulting in our suspension of their contract in 2002. It called for an audit by an FLA-accredited monitor. This is disturbing to us on a number of levels. One, it sets a further precedent to brands that although we require transparency and investigative access to their factories for our agents like the WRC, we are not committed to enforcing it and brands can consistently refuse to cooperate with agents that we pay to monitor code of conduct abuses in our supply chain. Two, we must wonder where the name of this agency was acquired considering the FLA itself declined to issue an audit or external monitoring of this factory. It was hardly appropriate in this situation to call for such an investigation, given that Tim Freer, who was personally implicated in the labor violations at the Mobile facility, sits on the board of directors of the FLA.

Furthermore, the procedures and selection process of monitors like the one you chose are decided by the board of directors of the FLA. Tim Freer from New Era, who personally conducted captive audience meetings with workers, is on the board of the FLA. Every brand that has had a board seat on the FLA has had a role in choosing both the procedures and voting on accreditation of those monitors. That does not even require a supermajority vote on the FLA, only a simple majority vote. This is all laid out in the FLA charter:<http://www.fairlabor.org/docs/Charter_Feb07.pdf&gt;.

It is imperative that this university make it patently clear to New Era and all other licensees that we take alleged violations of our Code of Conduct very seriously and will take decisive action in order to ensure its enforcement. Unfortunately, though UNC-CH had an opportunity to do this, you instead chose to ignore the consensus decision of all fifteen members of the LLCAC and send a completely different letter to New Era Cap with no consultation or explanation to the LLCAC as to why its recommendations were rejected. Thus, it seems very hollow to cite a lack of consensus in the LLCAC as a reason to reject the DSP, when consensus decisions by the same body have been unilaterally rejected by your administration.


Licensed apparel sales and the funding of scholarships like the
Carolina Covenant

At the meeting on Wednesday April 16th, you stated that “the Carolina Covenant Scholarship is funded by licensee sales and we can’t lose the Carolina Covenant,” implying that the Covenant would be endangered by the DSP, and that this was a valid reason for rejecting the DSP. We consider this one of the more manipulative and morally abhorrent excuses for not adopting the DSP.

Not only is it completely false, but it is reprehensible to pit scholarships for low-income students against the struggle for dignity and livelihoods of garment workers. Fortunately, scholarships don’t need to be created off the revenues from sweatshop labor. The university could adopt the DSP and create fair and sustainable labor conditions for garment workers that make UNC apparel. There is no reason that this would affect apparel sales. Labor costs are such a small percentage of the final mark up of apparel, that if brands do not absorb the costs of ensuring workers a living wage studies estimate the final cost of a garment would increase by only 1-6%. This would mean a $40 sweatshirt would go up by at the very most $2.40, and likely lower than that.

Furthermore, the sales of licensed apparel and monies for the scholarship fund rise and fall with the success of the athletic teams. In the same way that we wouldn’t punish the basketball team for not winning the NCAA Championship, we shouldn’t punish the workers who manufacture the apparel.

Regardless, Carolina fans do not buy $40 dollar UNC sweatshirts because the price is right, they buy them because they have the UNC logo on them. There is ample economic research to indicate that such a slight increase in price would not adversely affect apparel sales, and would not affect the Carolina Covenant.


Our demands and expectations of this coming week

After three years, we are asking more than to simply “engage in discussions about licensing codes and enforcement issues.” We expect more from our University than to make “contributions to conversations.” It has become abundantly clear to us that the University will not engage in these conversations unless we publicly apply pressure through direct action tactics; and yet, even then, the University will not honestly engage with the issues in an accountable fashion. We demand action; we demand concrete commitments to workers rights; and as students committed to living the ethical mission of this University, we do not believe that this is too much to ask or that it is an unreasonable request.

We know that university apparel is made in sweatshops, we know why sweatshop conditions exist, and our university has a moral obligation to do something about it. UNC should be ashamed that it is stalling when we know for a fact that the workers producing our apparel aren’t earning enough to support their families. If we are truly committed to addressing these issues then we need to show our support for the only program out there that systematically addresses the fundamental problems in the garment industry.

UNC must reclaim the moral leadership it took in 1999 by adopting labor codes of conduct. The New Era facility in Alabama was not a unique case; the workers who produce UNC apparel suffer in sweatshops all over the world. The only way for UNC to meaningfully address the problem is to adopt the DSP.

Sincerely,

Student Action with Workers/ Students Against Sweatshops

Other undergraduate student groups at UNC-CH who have endorsed the DSP:
Advocates for Human Rights (AHR, Campus Y)
Feminist Students United (FSU)
Carolina Hispanic Association (CHispA)
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
Young Democrats (YD)
Campaign for a Safer Carolina
Technology without Borders (TWB)
Choice USA
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Straight Alliance (GLBTSA)
Alianza
Middle East Student Forum (MESF)
Students Working in the Environment for Active Transformation (SWEAT)
Muslim Student Association (MSA)
Arab Student Organization (ASO)
Persian Cultural Society (PCS)
Solidarity with Palestine through Education and Action at Carolina (SPEAC)
Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE)

Student government support for the DSP:
Graduate and Professional Student Federation

Labor support:
North Carolina Public Service Workers Union-UE Local 150
Black Workers for Justice
North Carolina AFL-CIO
United Food and Commercial Workers, Justice at Smithfield campaign
State Employees Association of North Carolina District 25

Political support:
N.C. State Senator Ellie Kinniard
Orange County Democratic Convention
Chatham County Democratic Convention

Faculty Support, followed by student and community support:
Progressive Faculty Network
Altha Cravey, Professor of Geography
Omid Safi, Professor of Religious Studies
Sherryl Kleinman, Professor of Sociology
Judith Blau, Professor of Sociology
Steve Wing, Department of Epidemiology
Scott Kirsch, Associate Professor of Geography
Philip Cohen, Associate Professor of Sociology
Emilio del Valle Escalante, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Maxine Eichner, Professor of Law
Glenn Hinson, Associate Professor, Folklore & Anthropology
Lawrence Grossberg, Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies
Dr. Trude Bennett, Associate Professor, Maternal and Child Health
Dr. Peggy A. Thoits, Taylor-Williams Distinguished Professor
William H. Race, Professor of Classics
Frieda Behets, Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Dr. María DeGuzmán, Associate Professor of English & Comparative Literature
Christopher J. Lee, Assistant Professor of History
Robert Hilliard, former UNC Associate Professor
Susan Bickford, Associate Professor of Political Science
Elin o’Hara Slavick, Professor of Art
Sarah Shields, Associate Professor, History
Kevin Hewison, Professor, Asian Studies
Steve Wing, Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. Kieran Taylor, Associate Director, Southern Oral History Program
Karla Slocum, Dept. of Anthropology, African & African American Studies
Donald M. Nonini, Anthropology Department

(ABBREVIATED FOR LENGTH AND LACK OF SCANNED COPIES OF PHYSICAL PETITIONS WITH HUNDREDS OF SIGNATURES, SEE TAKE ACTION AND SIGN THE PETITION)


Appendix
Supporting documents (e-mails over the LLCAC listserve and links to official letters and reports through the LLCAC)

—–Original Message—–
From: Salma Mirza [mailto:smirza@email.unc.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 5:57 PM
To: The llcac mailing list
Subject: [llcac] update on new era and several proposals

Dear licensing committee members,

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the new year. I apologize in advance for the length of this e-mail, but I wanted to ask committee members to consider these issues and proposals before our next meeting.

I will be traveling to Alabama this weekend to speak to workers at the Mobile New Era plant about the ongoing labor disputes. If possible, I request that some time be set aside at our next meeting so I may present a summary of worker testimony from the delegation to aid us in evaluating further action on the New Era case in lieu of the official WRC investigation (for the time being, at least).

I think it is also important to share that conference calls with workers from the Mobile plants have implicated Tim Freer from New Era in the anti-union campaign. Tim Freer, who is a board member of the FLA until December 2008, has been the one sending press releases to us and other universities about the ongoing dispute. According to workers, he held captive audience meetings in which he intimidated workers against joining the union (which did eventually win the vote and has been recognized, as you know). Perhaps this sheds some light on why the FLA has thus far issued no official response to the New Era allegations.

I feel this is especially important to emphasize since many of the anti-WRC statements I’ve heard in the LLCAC have been made along the lines that USAS and the WRC are too closely related and thus the WRC is biased, though I have not to my knowledge heard of any specific evidence or complaints along these lines.

I would also like to point to a statement that Tim Freer made back in 2001 in one of my hometown newspapers regarding the labor dispute at the New York factory and the news that Duke had delayed renewing their contract in light of it:

“New Era is obviously disappointed that Duke has taken this action, especially since their decision appears to be based in large part on false and misleading information provided by the Workers Rights Consortium and the United Students Against Sweatshops,” said Tim Freer, New Era director of human resources. “Both have gone out of their way to damage New Era’s good name and status as the leading sports-licensed cap company in the U.S. This smear campaign and unprecedented scrutiny is clearly an attempt to leverage the union’s position as it relates to the ongoing labor dispute at our Derby facility.”
Business First, November 23, 2001, http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2001/11/26/story6.html

It is a little disturbing that his statements in 2007 lobbied the same charge, if you insert instead the Mobile factory and the Teamsters union for this case, especially considering what happened once the allegations were investigated back in 2001 [UNC suspended the New Era contract/ declined to renew it in 2002 over ongoing labor dispute concerns].

I would also like to inquire about what action was taken since the last meeting. I understand that our legal contract was being investigated including our power to require that New Era comply with a WRC investigation to ascertain the facts of the dispute, and that Derek was charged with sending a communication to New Era saying that we were investigating our ability to cut a contract with regards to the alleged code of conduct violations. Also, a proposal was made to formally invite the Director of the WRC, Scott Nova to talk about current developments in enforcement mechanisms for codes of conduct. What has been done on these fronts?

I would like to put forward one more proposal that may help us evaluate these issues in the future. As I understand it, Jim Wilkerson, the Duke Director of Licensing, has provided counsel to other universities who have found themselves in similar uncertain positions over what to do in the case of specific alleged code of conduct violations, as he has experience in dealing with these issues. Since he is just down the road, I was wondering if the committee would consider inviting him to the same meeting to which we invite Scott Nova, to provide another university administrative perspective on these issues.

Lastly, I have a question regarding the Designated Suppliers Program. It was my understanding that the licensing committee did not reject the DSP. However, I could be mistaken as I am a new member of the LLCAC and did not attend all meetings last year. As such, I am somewhat unclear as to what the nature of the debate was against the DSP since specific objections to it were not outlined in the committee report in May 2007nor the Chancellor’s rejection of the DSP in August 2007.

SAW has gathered a sweatfree coalition (which so far consists of a dozen undergraduate student groups, the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, and other members of student government in support of the DSP) and managed to catch Chancellor Moeser outside of South building just before the semester ended in December. In the brief conversation we had with him, he stated that his rejection of the DSP was based on the recommendation of the LLCAC to reject the DSP.

In light of Chancellor Moeser’s remarks, I wanted to clarify what the position of this committee was as of last year on the issue of the DSP and what exactly our process of decision making is.

Chancellor Moeser furthermore stated that he would attend a LLCAC meeting regarding the debate around the Designated Suppliers Program if he were formally invited, so lastly I propose that the LLCAC invite Chancellor Moeser to the same meeting to which we invite Scott Nova and Jim Wilkerson and hear their update on the working group and other code of conduct enforcement considerations.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes,

Salma


Salma Mirza
UNC-CH History/Social and Economic Justice
Organizer for Student Action with Workers
224 FPG Carolina Union, C.B. #5210

http://www.uncsolidarity.org/

http://www.studentsagainstsweatshops.org/

___________________________________________________________________

In a response to the above e-mail, on January 18, Derek Lochbaum, the Co-Chair of the LLCAC, rejected the proposal to invite Chancellor Moeser to an LLCAC meeting discussing the DSP, implying it was at the Chancellor’s request:

Salma,

The LLCAC is an Advisory Committee to the Chancellor. In that role, the Committee sent several recommendations to the Chancellor to consider last year. The adoption or rejection of the DSP was not among them. After reviewing the report, the Chancellor met with the Committee Co-Chairs (Jim Peacock and I) to communicate his decision to reject the DSP. His reasons for doing so were reflected in his letter, dated August 20, 2007, which I have shared with you and other committee members last fall. I have confirmed that the Chancellor’s decision on the matter is final and is not open for new consideration by this Committee. Our focus now is on addressing the charge the Chancellor requested of us and our ongoing efforts to monitor the effectiveness of the University’s Code.

___________________________________________________________________

[LLCAC's February 1, 2008, letter to Chancellor Moeser in regards to their unanimous decision to recommend that the University issue an ultimatum to New Era to cooperate with the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) or another agent of University's choosing to investigate allegations of labor code violations.]

___________________________________________________________________

Quoting Don Hornstein (current Co-Chair of the LLCAC) (dhornste@email.unc.edu):

> Fellow Committee Members,
>
> I have just received this email from the Chancellor’s office which
> attaches a letter sent by the Chancellor to New Era. I’m running off
> to class and so haven’t even had time to read the letter, but wanted to
> circulate it for your information without any delay. Don Hornstein
>
> —– Forwarded message from bjleonar@email.unc.edu —–
> Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 14:32:32 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
> From: bjleonar@email.unc.edu
> Reply-To: bjleonar@email.unc.edu
> Subject: Letter to New Era Cap Company
> To: derek_lochbaum@unc.edu, dhornste@email.unc.edu
>
> Derek and Donald:
>
> Please find below a letter that was sent to Mr. Joe Zwirecki at New
> Era Cap Company today. The letter was emailed to him as well as a
> hard copy being sent through the mail. The copy below is for your
> file.
>
> Barbara Leonard
> Chancellor’s Office
>
>
> —– End forwarded message —–

[Chancellor Moeser's February 7, 2008, letter to Mr. Zwirecki of New Era]

___________________________________________________________________

—– Forwarded message from smirza@email.unc.edu —–
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2008 17:36:53 -0500
From: Salma Mirza <smirza@email.unc.edu>
Reply-To: Salma Mirza <smirza@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: [llcac] Fwd: Letter to New Era Cap Company
To: The llcac mailing list llcac@listserv.unc.edu

Dear Committee Members,

I am extremely disappointed with this letter. Once again, the Chancellor has disregarded almost entirely the recommendations of this committee.
I am happy UNC is taking some kind of action, such as it is, but aside from the issues of the choice of monitor and no mention of any kind urging New Era to work with the WRC, the letter provides absolutely no consequences for New Era and it pushes back the timeline another month.
It seems our consensus has gone to waste.

Best,
Salma


Salma Mirza
UNC-CH History, Class of 2008
Organizer for Student Action with Workers
224 FPG Carolina Union, C.B. #5210

http://www.uncsolidarity.org/

http://www.studentsagainstsweatshops.org/

___________________________________________________________________

—– Forwarded message from smirza@email.unc.edu —–
Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2008 00:18:40 -0500
From: Salma Mirza <smirza@email.unc.edu>
Reply-To: Salma Mirza <smirza@email.unc.edu>
Subject: [llcac] clarification regarding chancellor’s letter?
To: The llcac mailing list llcac@listserv.unc.edu

In light of the recent memos from the FLA and WRC, I am even more confused by the Chancellor’s decision and choice of monitoring agent. I had presumed some kind of contact with the FLA prior to sending the letter. Did the Chancellor and/or his staff simply get the name of that agency off the FLA website?

If UNC is requiring New Era to submit to an investigation by an FLA-accredited monitor, but the FLA didn’t think it fit to issue a third-party investigation, did our University hire the monitor directly? Why do we pay the WRC and FLA to conduct these investigations if the Chancellor is going to ignore both their recommendations (and ours) and independently choose and pay a monitor, instead of requiring that New Era cooperate with the WRC’s investigation?

Is it possible to request a clarification of these issues by our next committee meeting? I simply fail to understand what the purpose of this advisory committee is, if unanimous decisions are rejected without at least a short explanation to aid us in future deliberations.

Thank you.

Best,
Salma

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