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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Education & Student Activism | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
UC SweatFree Coalition stages sit-in at the Office of the President
On Friday, March 10, 17 students from 5 UC campuses (San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Davis) participated in a mini-sit-in at the University of California Office of the President (UCOP). Lasting about an hour, we staged the sit-in to protest the lack of action taken by President Dynes to enforce our university's Code of Conduct for Trademark Licensees and cut contracts with Coca-Cola.
Over 5 years ago, the UC adopted a Code of Conduct for Trademark Licensees (Code) stipulating that any brand (Licensee) given permission to produce apparel with UC logos must:
-comply, at the very least, with local laws (including those regarding the environment)
-conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and respect for others
-pay their workers a living wage
-abide by overtime and work week regulations, pay overtime wages, provide at least one day off per week, and not use forced labor
-not use child labor
-ensure a safe and healthy work environment
-not discriminate against current and potential employees, including females who are pregrant
-not harass or abuse any employee in any way
-recognize and respect workers' rights to freely associate and bargain collectively
-disclose the names and locations of all contractors and subcontractors
However, there have been no meaningful steps taken to enforce this Code since it's adoption in 2000. It is for this reason that we have been demanding the UC adopt a program called the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP) in order to enforce its Code. The DSP, created by United Students Against Sweatshops and unveiled on September 28, 2005, calls for Licensees to be required to source collegiate apparel from factories that produce primarily or exclusively for the collegiate apparel market and have been designated 'good' by the Worker's Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent, non-corporate monitoring agency. Also since September, seven other universities have officially adopted the DSP, including:
-University of Connecticut
-University of Maine-Farmington
-University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Hamilton College
- Syracuse University
As of yet, neither the UC Code of Conduct Committee that had been set up to oversee this issue, nor any of the Chancellors, nor President Dynes have made public statements in support of this program. During Friday’s sit-in, we demanded to speak with President Dynes regarding this issue but were received, instead, by Associate President Linda Morris Williams, who only offered to arrange for an official meeting between us and President Dynes.
Refusing to leave, we remained non-violent and seated for about an hour while engaging Associate President Williams and others in conversation about various issues including the Code of Conduct Committee, sweatshops and the global garment industry, campus labor issues, administrators' exuberant salaries, and Coca-cola, while security watched and threatened to call the police. We chanted phrases such as ‘Ole, Ole, Ole... UC... Sweat Free!’ as we were escorted out of the building by security.
Our message to President Dynes was clear: this was a preview of greater events to come if the DSP is not adopted soon.