UK can’t afford sweatshops, why won’t Capilouto agree?

President Capilouto faces an important choice this semester.

A coalition of 19 student and six community organizations are asking him to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and disaffiliate with the Fair Labor Association (FLA). Why is this an important choice?

The WRC is an independent organization that monitors college-logo apparel to ensure it is produced under safe working conditions and that the workers earn a living wage.

The FLA is supposed to serve the same function but is actually funded by the very companies it is supposed to monitor!

That’s a huge conflict of interest. No wonder reports from the FLA are infrequent and difficult to read.

UK should have an organization that will ensure that our Labor Code of Conduct is respected – after all our Student Code of Conduct is frequently enforced, shouldn’t we be sure companies using our good name are also held accountable? The WRC is the organization to protect UK’s name.

The benefits of affiliating with the WRC far outweigh the costs. It would cost UK less than one percent of last years’ licensing revenues from the Athletics department to ensure our clothing isn’t produced in sweatshops.

That’s a tiny fraction of what the UK Department of Athletics pulls in every year, which they are increasingly investing in the wider UK community.

An investment in human rights should be part of our annual expenses at UK.  This moral choice is clear. Encourage President Capilouto to affiliate the WRC and disaffiliate from the corrupt FLA.

To make your voice heard on this issue, join us for a study break this Thursday at 9:30pm at the “Rose Bowl” in front of the William T. Young Library!  Stand up for workers’ rights and tell President Capilouto we need to affiliate with the WRC!

Katherine Miller-Byrne is a UK student. Email opinions@kykernel.com

If you dont support the company that makes it dont buy their product, plain and simple. I’m not paying more for tuition so some guy in malaysia can get an extra nickel in his paycheck.

You people really told President Capilouto!!!!! Not only did no one show up, but you did not show up either. I went there thinking this thing was legit. lol Guess the joke was on us who actually thought you cared!!!

wtf! Myself and roommate went there and no one was there! Why tell people to be there at 930 and not even come yourself? What a joke!

The University Labor Code Standards state that the school must continually monitor college licensed apparel manufacturers in terms of wages and benefits, working hours, overtime pay, child labor, health and safety, and freedom to organize to collectively bargain. You can read the Labor Code yourself at the bottom of this page on the athletics department website: http://www.ukathletics.com/athletic-dept/licensing.html .

The WRC provides such monitoring; we know the FLA doesn’t. If the school is going to live up to it’s own standards, the easiest, cheapest way to do that–in practice and not just on paper–is to affiliate with the WRC.

Josh – if you want some more concrete facts, check out http://www.nonprofitwatch.org/fla/fla.php which is one of hundreds of well-researched critiques of the FLA. In fact, almost no non-profits, student groups, or labor organizations in the entire world endorse the FLA, so why should UK?

Funny – perhaps leaving 500 word responses to articles you don’t agree with is fulfilling to you, and that’s okay. But realize that its not going to keep us from pursuing justice for everyone.

Frances – see the link above!

Hard to get past the rookie use of exclamation marks.

Cool the jets and support the argument.

More bleeding heart liberals making a weak (and senseless) case about something of no consequence and trying to demonize “the man” (business). Where have I heard that tone before? Oh yeah, pretty much any time a liberal opens his/her mouth! UK’s President has far bigger proverbial fish to fry than worrying about the WRC or any other gathering of liberals to impede/prohibit issues of no consequence. If a leader wastes his/her time conceding trivial issues such as this, the line will continually be crossed until a group of liberal blowhards are asking Capilouto to sign a blanket statement that UK fully supports same-sex marriage or something equally ridicious. What do you say we get off Capilouto’s case and allow him to forget trivial matters like this so he can do things such as… oh, I don’t know… maybe, find ways to lower tuition costs, establish new funding sources for the university, create ways to attract the best faculty and students, find additional ways to serve the state of KY’s constituents, etc. The very fact someone has to publish a piece in a newspaper stating that someone won’t break on a trivial issue (which is also lacking facts, btw) is pretty low, and is nothing more than the typical liberal bullying we’ve all seen so much of in recent years. It is precisely this type of nonsense that needs to be confronted. Just because you put heat on Capilouto to side with you doesn’t mean A) that you’re right; B) the he’s obligated to; C) that if he doesn’t he is some sort of immoral person that “doesn’t care about others”, or any other ridiculous claim you’ll come up with. In short, get a life!

Strong feelings with little facts. An assumed conflict of interest does not automatically mean an organization is corrupt. Get the facts and come back to us. You might be on to something, you might not.