April 24, 2008
UNC-CH Students Protest Sweatshop Apparel
Dozens of students at UNC Chapel Hill have staged a sit-in since April 17, 2008. The students are protesting Chancellor Moeser’s refusal to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP), a program that would ensure that Chapel Hill branded apparel is not produced in sweatshops.
The DSP works by certifying only those producers that comply with UNC Chapel Hill’s code of conduct for factories that produce apparel with the UNC logo. In order to become a designated supplier, factories must provide workers with fair wages, guarantee freedom of association, eliminate forced and unpaid overtime, and provide safe working conditions.
According to a posting on their website, Chapel Hill students began their sit-in after similar protests at other universities:
“After it became clear that the UNC administration was unwilling to engage in honest and respectful discourse about the human rights concerns of students, faculty, and staff, after three years during which workers have been losing their lives and livelihoods for manufacturing UNC licensed apparel and daring to stand up for their rights, 10 UNC students began a nonviolent occupation of the lobby of South Building, 10 feet away from Chancellor James Moeser’s office. Though he cannot see the workers who suffer to make our Carolina apparel, he will see us every day until he adopts the DSP.”
Take Action in support of Students Against Sweatshops at Chapel Hill
Union members in North Carolina know all too well the suffering caused by the apparel industry’s race-to-the-bottom to produce at the lowest possible cost. Thousands of textile workers lost their jobs when textile companies in our state moved shop to places with inferior wages and working conditions.
As workers in these new production zones have stood up for their rights, organized and formed unions, apparel companies have closed factories and moved elsewhere to exploit other more desperate and impoverished people, leaving devastated communities in their wake – just like they did in NC.
Why, then, would the flagship public university of our state – with arguably one of the most recognizable brands of any college or university in America – refuse to join the DSP and end this cycle of exploitation by apparel companies?
Take a Stand for Sweatshop Free UNC-CH
The NC State AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with the students at UNC Chapel Hill as they continue their non-violent protest of a university administration which ignores that UNC apparel is made in sweatshops. We encourage our members to support them by:
- Calling Chancellor Moeser at (919) 962-1365
email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
fax him at (919) 962-1647
- Calling his boss – the Board of Trustees
- Sign the petition demanding UNC Chapel Hill adopt the DSP
- Donate food
- Learn more about the campaign for a sweatshop free UNC and other ways you can take action
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