NYU SLAM sitting-in at the Welcome Center to get NYU to cut the contract with Jan Sport.
After repeated letter deliveries, a die-in, a vigil, a speakout with workers from Bangladesh and a faculty sign-on letter with 60 signatures, members of the NYU Student & Labor Action Movement held a sit-in today to repeat the demand that NYU cut its contract with JanSport over concerns about workers’ rights. Students occupied the Welcome Center from 1 pm to 5 pm, asking the NYU administration to meet with them. At 5 pm, students met with two Senior Vice Presidents, who assured SLAM that a decision will be made early next week.
Throughout the day, 30 students came to the Welcome Center to sing, chant and hand out information to passers-by about the protest. While students occupied the Welcome Center, 200 community members on the Immigrant Worker Justice Tour rallied outside in support of students’ demands.
“We believe cutting our contract with JanSport is necessary until VF does the right thing in Bangladesh,” NYU student Adriana Gonzalez said.
As a subsidiary of VF Corporation, JanSport is connected to VF’s 100 factories in Bangladesh. United Students Against Sweatshops, of which SLAM is an affiliate, has been demanding VF sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in light of recent tragedies in Bangladesh, such as the Rana Plaza collapse. Over 1200 workers have died in industrial disasters in Bangladesh’s garment industry in the last two years.
“We are confident NYU will do the right thing and cut its contract with JanSport,” said NYU student Iraj Eshghi.
Today, 60 NYU faculty members sent a letter to President John Sexton asking the administration to end its contract with JanSport because the brand has failed to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. Over 1200 workers have died in the past two years in preventable factory fires and collapses in Bangladesh and the Accord is a legally binding agreement brands can sign to prevent such tragedies.
The NYU administration has maintained that it will not end its contract with JanSport because the brand itself does not produce for NYU in Bangladesh, although JanSport’s parent company has nearly 100 factories there.
Students and faculty agree–these kind of technicalities can’t stand in the way of worker safety. It’s time for NYU to cut JanSport!
Read the full letter.
Finding solutions to the student debt crisis has to become the number one priority for American universities. American student loan debt exceeds $1.2 trillion. The problem is especially bad at NYU: last year’s graduating class had more collective debt than that of any other non-profit school in the country, with an average of about $35,000 of debt.
Because of its large size, location, and the powerful people associated with it, NYU stands as a model for schools across the country. The question is what trend will NYU set? Will we continue down the path of the corporate university, where education is treated like a commodity reserved for those who can afford it? Or will we make the hard changes necessary to put the needs of students, our families, faculty, and other workers at the center of our education system?
By Iraj Eshghi
For too long now, NYU neglected the rights of its graduate students. By refusing to recognize their union–GSOC-UAW–and giving them no say in how things are done, the administration was essentially keeping a large part of their workforce and student body silent. However, we have recently learned that the administration has finally decided to allow GSOC to hold an election, and I, as an undergraduate, find this to be very refreshing. Why? Here are a few reasons: Continue reading
John Sexton’s office has just announced that he’s going to implement the changes in NYU’s code of conduct recommended by the recent University Senate resolution fought for by SLAM. By requiring NYU licensees producing in Bangladesh to sign on to the Accords, we’re helping make garment industry workplaces safer and supporting worker power around the world.
NYU is one of the first schools in the country to commit to making these changes, so we’re helping set an example for colleges across America.
We’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this victory possible- all the students and other supporters who came out to our letter deliveries, our die-in at the University Senate, our action at one of Sexton’s town halls, and our caroling for workers’ rights event!
Students demand NYU take action for Bangladesh factory safety
On Thursday, October 3, ten students from the NYU Student & Labor Action Movement (SLAM) held a die-in outside the University Senate prior to the Senate’s meeting. As the students lay down holding pictures of workers who died in a factory collapse in Bangladesh in April, they had one goal in mind: to insist NYU to take action for workers’ rights now. Over 1100 workers lost their lives when the Rana Plaza building collapsed, and SLAM is currently fighting to make sure something like that does not happen again to the workers who produce the NYU apparel in Bangladesh. To SLAM, the crisis of worker safety in the garment industry has reached a breaking point.
By Daniel Hinton
Two years since the closing of the PT Kizone factory, located in Tangerang, Indonesia, Adidas has settled with garment workers and agreed to pay them legally owed severance packages. The details of the settlement remain confidential. According to a news release, Adidas will provide a substantial sum to the former factory workers, who have agreed to drop their lawsuit filed in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison against the company in Wisconsin state courts.
Adidas, which is licensed to make apparel for NYU, has refused to pay $1.8 million in legally owed severance to 2,800 workers who were laid off at Adidas supplier PT Kizone in Indonesia. Adidas’s refusal to pay severance is a violation of NYU’s code of conduct for licensees, which mandates that companies licensed to produce university apparel follow all labor and environmental laws in countries where their goods are produced. Sign here.
Worker Speak-out: Adidas is All in Sweatshops
Monday, February 4 @ 8pm
Kimmel 406 (location tentative)
Although anti-sweatshop activists have made great strides in the last 15 years, forcing corporations to increase their respect for workers’ rights, much of the collegiate apparel on the market today is still made in sweatshops. Workers from across the globe who make clothing for Adidas will be on tour in the United States this spring to share the message that “Adidas is all in sweatshops” (a play on the company’s slogan).
At NYU, we will be hosting a stop on the tour, at which we will hear from a worker from Honduras and one from Haiti about their struggles for living wages and humane working conditions.
This comes at a time when six universities have already decided to cut their Adidas contract because of the company’s refusal to pay legally owed severance to 2,800 workers in Indonesia who made Adidas apparel.
Join us to learn about how your clothing is made and how workers and students are fighting the global race to the bottom.
READ MORE: http://www.thenation.com/blog/170443/universities-dump-adidas-over-labor-disputes
RSVP on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/437148036355848/
SPONSORED BY: Student Labor Action Movement, Radical Film and Lecture Series and Students Creating Radical Change, NYU International Socialist Organization, and community groups United Students Against Sweatshops, SweatFree Communities and the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State