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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 firstname.lastname@example.org