united students against sweatshops

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Last week the University of Illinois at Chicago decided to sign onto
both the WRC and FLA for a one year interim period. This is a year after
UIC's Students Against Sweatshops began a campaign to adopt the WRC.

contact: Jackson Potter

Please forward, especially for people involved in WRC struggles. (English version follows)

A todos los compañeros de USAS


Sabemos que estan luchando para que las universidades se afilien al consorcio de derechos de los trabajadores, que es un organismo que es veraz en sus reportes, que no se deja manipular por los empresarios y que realmente investiga lo que esta sucediendo. Gracias por apoyar estos esfuerzos que realmente investigan a fondo los problemas de los trabajadores, que tienen el interes de preguntarle al trabajador, al obrero, y no simplemente se dedican a llegar con los empresarios y ellos solos sacan sus conclusiones.
Por eso, sabemos que lo que ustedes estan exigiendo es justo y sabemos que todos los esfuerzos que ustedes hacen, o todas las privaciones van a ser bien recompensadas.
Para nosotros en Kukdong, el consorcio fue la puerta para que la gente volviera a tener fe, y pensar que nuestro problema es parecido a muchos que hay en otras partes y que hay gente que se interesa en ellos. Gracias al Consorcio se hicieron respetar nuestros derechos como trabajadores, y ahora estamos en un proceso de tener libre asociacion sindical.
En nuestro sindicato, el SITEKIM, nuestro lema es “Si se puede” y asi tambien “Si se puede” y adelante. Asi como los martires del primero de mayo de 1886, tambien tenemos que seguir luchando y no permitir que nuestros gobiernos nos manipulen, ni permitir que lo que paso en esos dias sea borrado de nuestras mentes. La gente que tiene fe en la justicia va a seguir luchando contra viento y marea, y todos los obstaculos que pongan en nuestro camino los vamos a derribar.
Que no recaiga su animo y sean muy perseverantes. Sabemos que por momentos la fe se nos pierde, pero mientras estemos juntos unos a otros, nos daremos el animo para seguir adelante porque sabemos que lo que hagamos va a servir a otros en cualquier parte del mundo.

Muchos abrazos y nuestro corazón esta con ustedes, y nuestro pensamiento tambien.
Aunque no nos conocemos, les deseamos suerte.

Josefina Hernandez Ponce
Secretaria del Exterior y Previsión Social
Sindicato Indpendendiente de Trabajadores de la Empresa Kukdong International de México


To all our brothers and sisters of USAS

Brothers and Sisters:

We know you are fighting so that universities join the Worker’s Rights Consortium, which is an organization that is truthful in its reports and does not allow itself to be manipulated by the businessmen and that really investigates what is happening. Thank you for supporting these efforts that truly investigate the problems of workers, who are interested in asking the worker, and do not simply go to the employer and draw their own conclusions.
We know that what you are demanding is fair and that all the efforts that you do, and all your hardships, will be well rewarded.
For us in Kukdong, the Consortium was the doorway so that people would have faith again, and think that our problem is similar to those there are in many parts, and that there are people interested in this. Thanks to the Consortium, our rights asworkers were respected, and now we are in the process of having freedom of association.
In our union, the SITEKIM, our motto is “Si se puede”, so “Si se puede” and go forward. Like the martyrs of the first of May of 1886, we also have to continue the struggle and not allow our governments to manipulate us, or allow that what happened in those days is erased from our minds. People who have faith in justice will continue to struggle against anything, and we will knock down all the obstacles that are placed in our path.
Do not let your spirits drop and be perseverant. We know that at times our faith is lost, but as long as we are together with each other, we will give each other the spirit to continue forward because we know that what we do will be good for others in any part of the world.

Many hugs and our heart and thoughts are with you.
Though we have not met, we wish you luck.

Josefina Hernandez Ponce
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Social Welfare
Independent Workers’ Union at the Factory Kukdong International de Mexico – SITEKIM

Monday, April 30, 2001

For Immediate Release
26 April, 01


Grand Valley State University

Contact: Jessica Heileman, Students Against Sweatshops: (810) 329-6828

Ben Witt or Thomn Bell, GVSU Student Senate: 895-2333

Trina Tocco, Midwest Regional USAS Organizer: (810)215-6484

Scott Nova, Worker Rights Consortium Executive Director: (202) 387-4884 EXT.- 202

GVSU Affiliates With The Worker Rights Consortium

Grand Valley State- After hearing the GVSU Student Senate resolution for the University to join the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), the GVSU Board of Trustees agreed to take any steps deemed necessary by President Arend D. Lubbers to join the WRC.

By affiliating with the Worker’s Rights Consortium, the University is agreeing to create a code of conduct under which all university apparel is created. The code of conduct is expected to have provisions for wages, hours of work, overtime compensation, freedom of association, workplace safety and health, compliance with local laws, women's rights, child labor and forced labor, harassment and abuse in the workplace, and non-discrimination. GVSU is expected to make this code of conduct an element of all applicable contracts with their licensees. Once this code of conduct is established, the WRC verifies licensee compliance with the production code of conduct.

By affiliating with the WRC, GVSU will require full public disclosure of factory locations, and must notify their licensees that this information be provided within three months. GVSU will require full, and regularly updated, public disclosure of factory locations, including those of contractors and subcontractors

Once complaints are received, the WRC will investigate the factory, using non-governmental organizations and local groups to monitor, and then provide the University with its findings. The university can then consider the appropriate method to respond to the findings. It is expected that Grand Valley State University will form a committee to address these violations as they are brought to light.

GVSU will be the 78th University to become affiliated with the WRC. Other universities include the University of Michigan, the University of Norte Dame, and the University of California.

The Student Senate, GVSU administration, and the on-campus group Students Against Sweatshops are currently looking at splitting the one thousand dollar WRC admittance fee.

"I am relieved to know that our University is not willing to stand by and let workers suffer. I think it speaks highly of our University when it supports justice world-wide," Laura Stevens, SAS activist.

"Perhaps the last political stand President Lubbers will make at Grand Valley is one that we should all be proud of," Randy Cobb, SAS activist.

"This is the first of many great steps I hope for Grand Valley to take with the workers who produce our clothing," Matt Aber-Towns, SAS activist. "Seventy-eight plus universities working with a collective conscience to improve the lives of the workers, with the workers, that produce collegiate apparel is an amazing feat," Meghan Burke, SAS activist.

Sunday, April 29, 2001

DAY 12

**UPDATE** After an extremely positive meeting of the Faculty of Arts and
Sciences, it seems that there might be progress. It is crucial during this
time to continue pressuring the Harvard administration. Though we are
hopeful, we have no guarantee that things will continue to move in a
positive direction, and negotiations have still not begun. We political,
labor, and academic support continues to grow, and we have appeared on CNN,
ABC, and NBC over the past couple of days, giving us even more national

The AFL-CIO executive board comes to Harvard to demand a living wage. John
Sweeny, as well as the Vice President and Secretary Treasurer of the
AFL-CIO, Linda Chavez-Thompson and Richard Trumka will speak. If you have
time to come to one event ever, make it this one.

If you would like to help out, contact our off-campus coordinator, Iris:

Thanks for your support!
The Harvard Living Wage Campaign

All events take place in front of Mass Hall.

ONGOING: Supporters continue to keep vigilance outside of Mass Hall to
prevent the removal of protestors and demand negotiations. Stop by for as
long as you can and picket or make banners and signs. The living wage
sit-in documentary will be shown when there are no other activities.

10-12: Sunday School with Ari (who's inside the building)

12-1:30: Church groups will meet

1:30-3: Band, Meghan Tooney

3-4: Catholic Mass

4-5: Affordable Housing Vigil
Harvard employees and others need affordable housing in the Boston area
with or without a living wage. Speakers include Tom Boland of Homeless
People's Network and Michael Sullivan of Bread & Jams Self-Advocacy Center
for Homeless People.

5: Salsa Dancing

6: Jazz Performance, Tyler

8:00 Vigil, with spoken word

ALL NIGHT: Tent City. Come and sleep out with us! Bring a tent if you
can, or just use one of ours.


Contact Iris:
* Organize a solidarity action. Stand outside with a cell phone in front of
your student center and have people call the Harvard administration and
demand negotiations and a living wage (info above).
* Send a delegation to Harvard to sleep out and participate in our events.
Bring tents if you can, and get in touch with Iris for directions and more

(from Thursday)
Northwestern Students Against Sweatshops is in its fourth day camping out
for the WRC. As our president is a former world bank economist and
admittedly "offended" by the WRC and anti-sweatshop activists in general,
he's still refusing to comment or to negotiate with us. But we camp on.
The word's out on campus and it's a hot topic in the area following the
FTAA demos and the upcoming preparations for the big MayDay actions here in
Chicago, so we have a lot of local support.

Also today 30 students began a fast at our camp-site in solidarity with
Harvard sit-inners.

We'll keep you updated on all turn of events.

keep the fight,
desireé, northwestern

educate and agitate

Desireé S. Evans
Northwestern/Medill '03

Thursday, April 19, 2001


CURRENTLY: The number of police in the building is growing rapidly.

ADMINISTRATION RESPONSE: The administration has refused to negotiate with
the protesters, claiming that the conclusions of the Committee appointed
last year - which did not grant a living wage - were adequate. We insist
that the administrators take the demands of their students, faculty,
alumni, and staff - the people who make up this University - seriously.
YOU MUST URGE THEM TO DO SO. Please continue to contact them and demand
that they negotiate with the protestors:

Neil Rudenstine, President (617) 495-1502, beverly_sullivan@harvard.edu
Harvey Fineberg, Provost, (617) 496-5100, harvey_fineberg@harvard.edu
Sally Zeckhauser, VP for Administration, sally_zeckhauser@harvard.edu
Harry Lewis, Dean of Harvard College, lewis@harvard.edu
Polly Price, Associate VP for Human Resources, polly_price@harvard.edu

All events take place in front of Mass Hall.

ONGOING: Supporters continue to keep vigilance outside of Mass Hall to
prevent the removal of protestors and demand negotiations. Stop by for as
long as you can. THIS IS CRUCIAL.

NOON: Solidarity Rally

7PM: Panel
Elaine Bernard, Harvard Trade Union Program
John Womack, Professor
Juliet Schor, Professor
Joe Curtone, Somerville Alderman
Harvard Custodians
Amy Offner, Harvard Living Wage Campaign Member

9PM: vigil and reading of worker testimonials


Contact administrators and insist that they negotiate with the protestors.
Contact info above.

Join us in front of Mass Hall during the day or late at night. Write
Rudenstine a postcard on an index card and drop it off at Mass Hall. Tell
your friends, TFs, professors, students, and alumni. Go to office hours
and make phone calls.

Pick up leaflets and posters in front of Mass Hall. Poster the yard and
your houses. Leaflet your classes or in the Yard.

Contact the Living Wage Campaign to speak at a rally by calling
617-290-5802 or 617-645-0767 or stopping by Mass Hall.

CONTACT: To find out how else you can help talk to Ben Stoll.

INSIDE THE BUILDING: Yesterday, 46 members of the Living Wage Campaign
entered Massachusetts Hall and began sitting in for a living wage. They
secured one office, the conference room, the foyer, and the hallway. Top
administrators vacated the building within two hours of the sit-in.

Police spent the day attempting to control the protesters by slowly
encroaching on their territory and restricting their movements, such as not
allowing them to use the bathroom, but every time the protesters retaliated
with spirited chanting, singing, and demands to act humanely and fairly.
Through these tactics and with the help of the outside team, they were able
to maintain their positions and be able to freely move to the bathroom.

OUTSIDE THE BUILDING: Throughout the day, up to 150 supporters gathered
around Massachusetts Hall, chanting, picketing, and singing, and demanding
that the administration negotiate with the protesters. Harvard workers
from a number of different unions marched and spoke on behalf of the
protesters, including carpenters from locals 40 and 41, SEIU janitors,
members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW), and
Harvard Dining Services employees from HERE.

At 7 PM a panel of students, clergy members, academics, and Harvard
janitors spoke about the necessity of a living wage. At 9 PM Harvard
Dining Services workers marched to Mass Hall chanting to deliver pizzas to
the protestors. Police attempted to block the delivery, but the workers
prevailed and protesters and dining hall staff greeted each other by name
and with supportive yells. In the evening a vigil was held, and supporters
took shifts through the night to support those sitting in when police
attempted to encroach on their positions.

We appreciate all the support we've gotten this far. Keep it up!

Harvard Living Wage Campaign

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release: April 9, 2000.

Adam Choka: Cell: 973.454.1845, h: 202.364.6939
Kevin Owen: Cell: 202.271.2114
Kevin Pranis: Cell: (917) 860-4635.

Students Succeed: For-Profit-Prison Conglomerate Kicked Off Campus at
American University

In the latest of a series of successful student campaigns to kick private
prison profiteers off campus has prevailed at American University. In a
letter sent via-email to all AU students today, Don Myers, Vice President
Finance and Treasurer announced that the contract with Marriott Food
Services will end this year, and that the ?social responsibility of the
multinational corporation played a role in the administrations decision to
severe ties with the Correctional Corporation of America?s (CCA) parent
company. On April 10, the university administration at Oberlin College, in
Ohio announced that they to would end their contract with Marriott Food

?We?ve shown that student activists can hold prison profiteers
says Adam Choka, who was part of the student effort at AU to dump the
private-for-profit prison?s parent company. ?People who profit off of
people?s misery in private prisons will pay a price in lost student meal
plan contracts.

Background: The Campaign to rid U.S. Campuses of Prison Profiteers.

On March 28, 1998, the French multinational Sodexho Alliance (SA) took over
the North American operations of Marriott Management Services from the
Marriott Group, making it the largest institutional provider of food
services in North America, with $4.5 billion in annual revenues. The
also tied student meal plans at the nations largest college campuses to the
incarceration of people for profit, as Sodexho Marriott owns the largest
block of stock in CCA: the Correctional Corporation of America. Private
prisons have been condemned for being poorly managed and largely
unregulated, while private prison guards are underpaid, unorganized and
minimally trained. As a consequence, mistreatment of prisoners and escapes
are all too common. In Youngstown, Ohio, mismanagement of D.C. prisoners
have led to a series of scathing reports that have been issued by Congress,
and local corrections officials.

For the last two years, students cross the country have been part of a
national campaign to kick Marriott foods off their campuses. The
Not-With-Our-Money campaign have organized students to reject Marriott food
meal plans, and have sponsored sit-in and protests across the United
Canada and Europe to compel universities to end their contracts with the
private-for-profit prison company conglomerate. To learn more about the
national Not with Our Money Campaign, visit their website at
www.nomoreprisons.org/nwom.htm, or contact Kevin Pranis at (917) 860-4635.