On Sweatshop Proposals
President Judith Rodin has accepted in full the recommendations of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Sweatshop Labor. She called the report, "well-considered and thorough." She said she appreciated the "thoughtfulness and effort that the members of the committee put into this report in such a short timeframe so that Penn might act as swiftly as possible on this important issue." The report [here] was presented to the President on February 28 by the committee, which began its work February 10. In a letter to Dr. Howard Kunreuther, chair of the ad-hoc committee, she said that "Our paramount concern is with the workers who produce collegiate apparel, and I agree, as you suggest, that it would be in their best interests if we could work with both the Fair Labor Association and the Worker Rights Consortium if they respectively agree to balanced representation of colleges and universities on their governing boards. However, for these organizations to be effective for Penn and other universities, we need assurance that institutions of higher education will have a substantial voice in the governance of the FLA and the WRC. I agree that it is essential for these organizations to have balanced college and university representation on their governing boards and we should not join an organization that does not adequately address this concern."
Dr. Rodin also said that she considers "fair labor practices in the manufacture of University apparel very important" and believes "that Penn Students Against Sweatshops have played an important role in raising national consciousness on this matter."
She has sent letters to the leadership of the FLA and the WRC, in which she said, "Colleges and universities are at the forefront of the movement for fair labor practices, and I am sure you can appreciate our desire be as involved as possible." She asked them both to provide balanced representation for institutions of higher education on their boards. The President said that if the request is "met adequately," Penn will join. When she receives their responses, she would like Dr. Kunreuther to re-convene the ad-hoc committee of faculty, students and staff to review the responses and to make recommendations on next steps.
The proposed Code of Workplace Conduct for Penn Apparel Licensees [here]
which is For Comment, is part of the report. President Rodin is calling
for comments by Monday, March 20. The President will report on this at the
next University Council meeting, on Wednesday, March 22.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 24, March 7, 2000