Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility
November 20, 2000
We agree wholeheartedly with the majority about the value of the Worker Rights Consortium, and look forward to working with that organization.
However, we would like to express our disagreement with the other members' recommendation that the University should also join the Fair Labor Association at this time. As has been repeatedly shown over the last ten months of this committee's existence, the current structure of the FLA raises grave doubts about its ability to provide truly independent monitoring and reliable verification of working conditions in factories that produce Penn apparel. The FLA has not meaningfully addressed the concern expressed by this committee in May that that organization did not provide universities with an adequate voice in its governance; universities still hold only one of fourteen seats on the governing board. In addition, the policies regarding monitoring and certification which the Committee found troubling have not been changed at this time. In particular, we are concerned with the high level of influence the garment industry now holds over the policy and monitoring practices of the FLA, and this must be reduced before the FLA and the WRC can be truly complementary.
Because of these important concerns, we recommend that the University
refrain from joining the FLA at this time and reevaluate the organization
in six months to see whether appropriate changes have been made.
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 16, December 19, 2000