5. Endorsements

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR ARRESTED STUDENTS – Progressive Faculty Network, May 2, 2008

The Progressive Faculty Network of UNC Chapel Hill expresses respect and support for the students who were arrested in South Building on the morning of May 2, 2008. The students correctly recognized that the current practices for protecting workers’ rights are inadequate. Thus, we consider their actions and requests reasonable, ethical, and necessary. We share their frustration that the University is unwilling to take steps to enforce its own Code of Conduct with regard to university licensed and logo-ed apparel. This code is meaningless if we do not strive to enforce it. We are also deeply disappointed that administrators have refused to discuss these urgent concerns during the last year. Chancellor Moeser instructed the University’s Labor Licensing Committee to focus on issues other than the Designated Supplier Program during the 2007-8 academic year.

We call upon the Chancellor and other members of the UNC administration to drop all the charges against the students.

We call on the Chancellor to sign the Designated Supplier Program so that we can wear UNC apparel with pride.

Progressive Faculty Network
Contact person:
Altha Cravey 942-7392 962-5157
cravey@unc.edu

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 (endorsement statement below)

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

Political support:
N.C. State Senator Ellie Kinniard
Orange County Democratic Convention (endorsement statement below)
Chatham County Democratic Convention (endorsement statement below)

Faculty support:
Progressive Faculty Network (endorsement statement below)
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

Student and community support:
Pages of physical petitions with hundreds of signatures
Online petition with hundreds of signatures

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Message from Message from Labor Licensing Co-Chair, Don Hornstein, Aubrey L. Brooks Professor of Law:

Dear Chancellor Moeser,

I have a personal suggestion regarding UNC-CH’s position on the Designated Supplier Program. I emphasize that I am offering this recommendation solely in my personal capacity as a faculty member and as a longtime member of the Labor Licensing Code Advisory Committee; it is not something that, in my current capacity as co-chair, I have posed, discussed, or evaluated with the current LLCAC. I also emphasize that I am not offering this suggestion as a way to address directly the concerns of those students currently protesting at South Building (and the students they represent). In fact, I have no idea whether my suggestion would actually be acceptable to those students. I am offering this suggestion because it is, based on my ten years of engagement with this issue on the LLCAC, in my mind unquestionably the proper policy for this campus to follow.

The suggestion is for you to modify the position you took in your August 20, 2007 letter to the LLCAC and require the LLCAC next year specifically to evaluate the pros and cons of the DSPs in comparison to the pros and cons of the WRC and FLA (including the improvements both organizations are attempting). I suggest this option because I think facts on the ground have changed since August. It is my personal conclusion that the current programs on which we’ve pegged the integrity of the UNC-CH mark have this semester revealed to us that their current programs, while well-intentioned and capable of occasional successes, are more generally built on unmeasurable, unverifiable, and even unknowable procedures. When asked directly whether either the WRC or the FLA could show us data that their programs were making measurable progress toward significant compliance by UNC licensees and the 3600 factories on which they depend, the executive directors of both the WRC and the FLA, respectively, demurred. And this even includes a chance to demonstrate measurable success under some of these organizations’ new initiatives.

The bottom line is that the DSP, especially as it will operate in conjunction with continued reliance on non-DSP factories, may actually offer UNC more options in terms of the labor-related integrity of our mark than does continued reliance only on WRC and FLA.

I am not urging joining the DSP at this point. I personally think that “joining in principle” is justified as it is itself contingent (the Dept of Justice’s clearing letter on any antitrust concerns would have to
be issued prior to going forward). But even a tentative decision to join the DSP “in principle” or a softer decision to instruct the LLCAC to give the DSP next year a full comparative vetting (in light of the revelations this year from the WRC and the FLA), would vastly improve the University’s options. Such a decision would also serve as a warning shot-across-the-bow to both the FLA and the WRC that, if they us to continue exclusive reliance on their programs, that they need to show us measurable evidence of progress in cleaning up sweatshop conditions that both revealed to us now characterize some, and perhaps even much, of the conditions at which UNC-brand merchandise is made.

Your appointments to the LLCAC this year have been excellent. It is one of the strongest LLCAC assemblages I’ve seen in my 10 years on this committee. And all year they have repeatedly emphasized their interest in measurable evidence of progress rather than sloganeering or empty procedures. Although I will be rotating off the committee at the end of this academic year, it is a committee that, with this charge, would capture the best of what Carolina can offer on this issue both to you, to the next Chancellor, and to President Bowles.

Respectfully, Don Hornstein, Aubrey L. Brooks Professor of Law

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The following resolution was passed by the UNC-CH Graduate and Professional Student Federation (branch of UNC student government):

RESOLUTION 08-01
A RESOLUTION TO ENDORSE STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS
10 JAN. 08: SPONSORED BY JUSTIN KITA – VICE PRESIDENT OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS

WHEREAS, UNC-Chapel Hill is a top seller of collegiate licensed apparel,

WHEREAS, UNC-Chapel Hill licensed apparel is largely manufactured under sweatshop conditions that violate UNC-Chapel Hill licensing labor codes of conduct;

WHEREAS, United Students against Sweatshops’ proposed Designated Suppliers Program creates a sustainable mechanism for code of conduct enforcement;

WHEREAS, UNC-Chapel Hill is an affiliate of the Workers’ Rights Consortium,
which recommended adoption of the Designated Suppliers Program to
all affiliated universities in January 2006;

Therefore let it be RESOLVED that the GPSF endorses the Designated Suppliers Program as the most effective way to maintain University commitment to anti-sweatshop principles.

Be it further RESOLVED that the GPSF recommends to Chancellor Moeser that he publicly endorse the Designated Suppliers Program, adopt it as University policy, and take steps to rejoin the Designated Suppliers Program working group for timely implementation of the program.

Done this, the 10th day of January, in the year two thousand and eight.
Justin Kita Lauren Anderson
Vice President of Internal Affairs President

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The following is an endorsement from the State Employees Association of North Carolina, District 25:

April 10, 2008
James Moeser, Chancellor
103 South Building, CB# 9100
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-9100

Dear Chancellor Moeser:

SEANC District 25 supports Student Action with Worker’s request that you adopt the Designated Suppliers Program to enforce our existing licensing and labor codes.

Business competition within the United States is conducted in an environment of fairly uniform labor laws and their enforcement. As you know, such is not the case with the worldwide manufacture of licensed apparel. Cut-throat competition below a legal baseline is resulting in a race to the bottom.

This race also affects North Carolina workers whose wages are being driven down by governments’ failures to enforce trade treaties and to abide by international labor standards. It makes little sense to fund scholarships with sweatshop labor while at the same time undermining a living wage for North Carolinians who could otherwise send their children to college with less need of scholarships or financial aid.

In the purchase of other goods and services, UNC-Chapel Hill and all other state agencies do not necessarily accept the lowest bid. The reputation of the supplier for quality work is almost always a consideration. “Quality labor standards” should receive equal consideration.

While UNC staff do not have the right to collective bargaining, the denial of this fundamental human right to others, simply for the sake of consistency, would be morally wrong.

UNC-Chapel Hill is a premier public institution within the United States and is striving justifiably for similar status internationally. Many of the nations with which we are seeking good relations do not have respectable track records regarding human rights. The failure of the People’s Republic of China to provide for independent labor unions and collective bargaining for any of its citizens is a notable example. We would hope that the desire for good relations would not lead to tolerance of labor injustices and human rights abuses at home or abroad.

SEANC District 25 is signatory to the following request by SAW:

We the undersigned support the basic human rights of workers at all levels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including the right to organize and to be paid a living wage. We request that you respect these rights by publicly endorsing the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), which would enforce UNC’s existing labor codes of conduct in the factories that manufacture UNC’s licensed apparel. After a favorable business review letter is received from the Department of Justice, we further request that UNC-CH immediately take steps to implement the DSP as university policy.

Very truly yours,
Steve Hutton
Employee Relations Chair
SEANC District 25

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The following resolution passed unanimously at the Chatham County and Orange County Democratic Conventions on April 19, 2008, and should do well at the 4th District convention, which includes Durham and Wake counties.

Resolution Supporting Efforts to Reaffirm UNC’s “Sweat-Free” Apparel Policy

Whereas a coalition of student groups at the nation’s first public university, UNC-CH, are seeking to reaffirm UNC’s 1999 commitment to reject sweatshop-produced apparel for the university’s logo-bearing sales, and assure proper labor standards in factories producing this clothing, and

Whereas Duke University has upheld its commitment on the matter and is among 42 other colleges and universities joined in a Designated Suppliers Program (DSP) to achieve the goals of fair and safe working conditions and a living wage, and

Whereas, Nike and other major clothing corporations renamed its Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP) to compete with the Workers Rights Coalition. calling it the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and

Whereas UNC’s current affiliation with the so-called Fair Labor Association does not meet its commitment against sweatshop labor, as acknowledged by FLA representative Jorge Perez Lopez, in a recent meeting with UNC’s compliance committee. Lopez admitted the FLA has had little impact and tolerates virtually universal non-compliance with the expected standards, and

Whereas the UNC-Chapel Hill administration has failed to undertake the level of respectful discourse with student leaders that characterized the 1999 achievement of purchasing principles for clothing bearing the university logo, and

Whereas the current sit-in at UNC’s South Building is the fourth in recent days across the country, with Appalachian State students taking similar action, and follows three years of efforts to meet with the chancellor on the issues,
Therefore Be it Resolved that the Orange County/ Chatham County Democratic Part[ies] support the student-led campaign to lead the university back to its “sweat-free” commitment through the more effective Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), and

Be it further resolved that the pride associated with wearing UNC apparel produced under fair working conditions must be elevated and restored for the good of the university and the fulfillment of goals affirmed in UNC’s mission statement.

.

The Progressive Faculty Network of UNC-CH unanimously passed the following:

To Chancellor Moeser of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

The Progressive Faculty of UNC Chapel Hill support the basic human rights of workers at all levels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including the right to organize and to be paid a living wage. We demand that you respect these rights by publicly endorsing the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), which would enforce UNC’s existing labor codes of conduct in the factories that manufacture UNC’s licensed apparel. After a favorable business review letter is received from the Department of Justice, we further demand that UNC-CH immediately take steps to implement the DSP as university policy.

Moreover, the progressive faculty of UNC Chapel Hill support the current nonviolent protest and expression of freedom of speech being exercised by students affiliated with United Students against Sweatshops, who are currently occupying the office of the Chancellor of the University. Their nonviolent protest against the failure of the university and of Chancellor Moeser to join the widely supported Designated Suppliers Program, of which many peer universities are already members, is strongly supported by the Progressive Faculty of the University. We call on the University and the Chancellor to respond affirmatively to the ethical concerns of the USAS students protest, by affirming the university’s determination to sign on to Designated Suppliers Program as soon as possible.

Contact: Don Nonini, Professor of Anthropology
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Telephone: 919-672-5909
Email: dnonini@email.unc.edu

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Even Delphina (featured in the Friday, April 18, 2008 video next to Chancellor Moeser when he was dancing) supports the DSP:


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