4. Our Demands

April 17, 2008 (Sit-in began around 12:30 pm)

Dear Chancellor James Moeser:

We are here today because of your inaction over the past three years to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), which would ensure University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill apparel will be produced in designated sweatfree factories. As of now, forty-two major colleges and universities have distinguished themselves as leaders by adopting the DSP, including Duke University, Georgetown, Columbia, and the entire University of California system.

We have been forced to take action because of the failure of the University of North Carolina to live up to its supposed commitment to workers’ rights. Workers producing university apparel and uniforms, in addition to facing intense repression upon attempting to better their working conditions, do not earn enough to support themselves, let alone their families. As students, we refuse to stand by and allow this abuse to continue, and are therefore committed to remaining in the office of the chancellor until our demands are met.

For three years, we have gone through the customary methods of bureaucracy. We presented extensive information answering all of the questions brought up by Chancellor Moeser in his August 2007 statement years ago. Instead of discussing the issues in good faith, the university instead spread misinformation and misquoted both the discussions that took place within the Licensing Labor Code Advisory Committee as well as the formal report they issued in May 2007. Furthermore, the May 2007 report did not include the pro-DSP voices of the LLCAC, including esteemed faculty, staff, and student members. In December 2007, you refused to meet with members of the Carolina Sweatfree Coalition, but stated that you would come to a licensing committee meeting. You have not come to a single meeting all year, however, despite formal invitations. The committee itself has many members who have supported the DSP as an enforcement mechanism for our labor codes of conduct. You refused to meet with us until yesterday, close to the end of your term—and yet yesterday you refused to discuss the real issues about the DSP, instead mischaracterizing the program and refusing to commit to any kind of timeline. After three years of workers losing their lives and livelihoods because a policy like the DSP has not been in place, a simple meeting is not nearly enough.

Sweatshop conditions exist everywhere in our supply chain—from NC public employees who are denied their human right to collective bargaining, to farmworkers who are paid poverty wages; from dental technicians whose jobs are outsourced to the garment workers who are abused in the sweatshops that manufacture UNC logoed apparel. It is unacceptable to us that our universities continue to rely on the abuses of workers’ human rights in order to make our Carolina education possible. We will no longer allow this to continue, and we will occupy South Building until the UNC administration takes honors the spirit of the 1999 adoption of labor codes of conduct by adopting the DSP.

In order to ensure that the rights of the workers producing university apparel and uniforms are no longer violated as a matter of routine, the following demands must be met immediately:

A. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill must immediately issue the following public statement, signed by Chancellor James Moeser, stating that:

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has long been a leader in the efforts to ensure that the rights of workers producing licensed apparel are respected. This is evidenced by our adoption of a licensee code of conduct, as well as our leadership in organizations like the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). In order to best uphold and enforce this commitment to workers’ rights, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill announces its support for the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP). The DSP would help to ensure that the rights of all workers producing licensed apparel for UNC-CH are respected by requiring that our licensees source from factories where workers earn a living wage and have the right to form a union.

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is committed to the adoption and timely implementation of the DSP as outlined by the DSP Working Group in September 2006. We intend to amend our code of conduct to reflect the requirements of the DSP once the DSP Working Group has agreed to move forward with implementation. Additionally, UNC-CH will join the DSP Working Group in order to work with other colleges and universities to move the program forward.

B. We also demand that the University of North Carolina must not take any kind of disciplinary action, be it academic or the pressing of legal charges, against any of the students participating in this act of civil disobedience.

Signed,

Student Action with Workers/ Students against Sweatshops (SAW) and Members of the Carolina Sweatfree Coalition

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: