Lozano said she hopes the university will become a part of the Designated Suppliers Program, an agreement that, in theory, would limit the university to factories with fair working conditions. The Workers Rights Consortium, a nationwide labor rights organization, designed the program, which more than 40 other universities already support.The position he's referring to, of course, must be catering to corporate interests before workers rights and ignoring the obligations of our university. In that sense, we are definitely not in a position to adopt the DSP.
But Joe Ebaugh, the university's director of licensing, said there are still business plan questions that need to be answered.
"We're not in a position to adopt the DSP," Ebaugh told members of Feminism Without Borders after the event ended.
The article continues:
Ebaugh said he has evaluated three reports commissioned by the Fair Labor Association about the closing of Jerzees de Honduras and that the next step is to ensure Russell Athletic complies with the suggestions of the FLA's report. Ebaugh is taking part in a conference call with the Workers Rights Consortium today to get its input on the situation.This is a familiar line. In fact, at a very similar event last year where sweatshop workers came to UMD to speak, Ebaugh gives us the same line:
"We have the same goals; it's our tactics we disagree on," Ebaugh said.
"The fact that we don't endorse the DSP does not mean that we don't endorse workers' rights," Ebaugh said. "The DSP and the university both have the same goals. It's just the tactics we differ on."I think this is really an essential difference between our advocacies, and I don't think the difference in "tactics" is quite as trivial as Ebaugh may wish to portray. When you continually adopt "tactics" that fail to protect workers and allow rampant violations of existing Codes of Conduct, that doesn't count as a serious commitment to workers' rights. Moises, union President, recognized this in the case of Jerzees de Honduras case, saying "What the corporation accomplished was to wipe its hands clean of its workers." Thus, the Administration has washed its hands of the closing of Jerzees de Honduras and the broader plight of workers making UMD apparel. Sure, that is a "tactic"... but of facilitating the suppression of workers, not of honoring their rights.
The workers themselves had a different tactic in mind. They very explicitly called upon students to support them and their organizing effots. Norma specifically said that students holding their universities and the corporations they deal with accountable is essential to help the workers and stop the union-busting.
So, we as students need to adopt these tactics to work in solidarity with workers like Norma and Moises. We need to write to Russell, we need to talk to our Administration, we need to show those in power that we as students care and will not let the closing of Jerzees de Honduras or broader violations of workers' rights go unpunished.