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Monday, September 25, 2023


Letter to the editor: UH must do more to protect garment workers

To the editor:

During the holiday season we spend time giving thanks for our blessings. This year Students Against Sweatshops and the entire University community have a special blessing to give thanks for because, last month, UH affiliated with the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labor-monitoring organization governed by students, administrators and labor experts. This means that companies producing UH apparel must abide by a code of conduct.

Unfortunately, 1,800 apparel workers at the Jerzee de Honduras factory may not have much reason to celebrate this year. Instead of recognizing the workers for their service, Russell Athletic, which produces UH apparel, is closing the factory at year’s end because workers attempted to unionize. This is a serious violation of the UH code of conduct. We are calling on the administration to tell Russell to keep the factory open or risk losing the right to produce UH clothing.

We urge everyone to recognize UH President Renu Khator for joining 182 other universities as an affiliate of the WRC. The next and final step for Khator to protect apparel workers’ rights is to sign on to the Designated Suppliers Program. The DSP would prevent situations like the one at Jerzees de Honduras from happening.

Timothy O’Brien

History Ph.D. candidate

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