Friday, December 18, 2009

Those College Kids

Kids! Don't you just love 'em? Really! Their idealism, their enthusiasm!

According to Lowdown (published by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer), for the past ten years there has been a movement of students all over the country who really manage to get things done. United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) found out that many of the items that they and their families and friends were buying, such as caps and sweatshirts with university logos and names, were being manufactured in sweatshops in China, Haiti, Central America, etc. Companies like Nike, Reebok and Russell Athletic sign exclusive agreements with the schools, and then contract the work elsewhere.

USAS used sit-ins and rallies and any other way they could to bring pressure on the schools to stop this. They have succeeded with more than 170 school administrations, making them create and fund a Workers Rights Consortium to check on compliance with a code of conduct.

At one point, it was discovered that Russell Athletics had shut down a factory in Honduras because the workers dared to unionize. A campaign on campuses all over the country, picketing games, contacting Congress, persuaded about 100 universities to suspend licensing agreements with Russell Athletics. They even went to Warren Buffet, owner of Fruit of the Loom, which owns Russell. In November, Russell agreed to open a new unionized factory, rehiring 1,200 workers, and not fight unionization of other Honduras factories.

A bunch of kids with a social conscience can accomplish anything. The older generation might learn something from them. If we stopped sitting around complaining instead of getting up and doing something, we might have a lot less to complain about.


Daryl said...

The squeaky wheel gets results .. you dont have to be in college, you just need to get people to agree to act together in unison to accomplish an agreed to result .. and it will get done.

Sylvia K said...

Great post, Bobbie! And Daryl is right, we can all help make things happen if we work together to accomplish a goal. The will to do just that is what is so frequently missing.

Have a great weekend! Stay warm!


Rambling Woods said...

This is a great post..I hadn't heard about that but I am glad that our youth are getting involved... Michelle