Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.24
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Louisville
EN-15: Trademark Licensing

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 2.00 Justin Mog
Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives
Office of the Provost
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution a member of the Worker Rights Consortium?:
No

Is the institution a member of the Fair Labor Association? :
No

A brief description of the institution’s WRC or FLA membership, including the year membership was last established or renewed:

In 2010, UofL rejoined the Worker Rights Consortium and its Designated Suppliers Program help to ensure that UofL trademark apparel is not produced under abusive, dangerous sweatshop conditions. UofL was also an affiliate of the Fair Labor Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending sweatshop conditions in factories worldwide.

Both memberships have apparently lapsed without any notice to the campus community or the UofL Sustainability Council which take up the issue once again in 2019.

In 2014-15, Cards United Against Sweatshops rejuvenated student interest in diving into WRC reports for UofL apparel suppliers and seeking to increase the sourcing of sweat-free clothing for UofL. Students have called on UofL to increase the percentage of sweat-free clothing available in the UofL Bookstore and on March 27, 2015 they succeeded in getting the university to issue a letter to all UofL apparel licensees requiring that they sign onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

On March 3, 2015, as a part of Spring Sustainability Week, CUAS brought to campus Bangladeshi labor organizer Kalpona Akter and Mahinoor Begum, a garment worker and survivor of the deadly Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013. The workers spoke about their struggle to force brands like VF Corporation, the parent company of JanSport, to sign a legally binding agreement to improve apparel factory safety and working conditions in Bangladesh, as well as what students can do to make UofL sweat-free! The students and Bangladeshi workers took their demands directly to the UofL administration. Watch Video of the action.

On Sept. 11, 2014 and Oct. 18, 2013, over 100 UofL students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to meet the workers who sew UofL apparel on campus! The Departments of Social Change, Anthropology, and Peace Justice & Conflict Transformation, collaborated with Cards United Against Sweatshops, the Latin American and Hispanic Student Association, the Latin American and Latino Studies Organization, and Solidarity Ignite (contact: info@solidarityignite.org or Amy at 732-947-8630) to bring to campus two workers from the Alta Gracia Factory. Located in the Dominican Republic Free Trade Zone, Alta Gracia is the first college logo t-shirt factory to pay its workers a living wage, respect their democratic voice on the job, and provide a safe and healthy work environment as regularly verified by the Worker Rights Consortium, to which UofL belongs. The result of decades of students and workers organizing in solidarity, Alta Gracia offers a stark contrast to the often exploitative conditions in garment factories and is transforming the lives of workers, the community of Villa Altagracia, and the wider apparel industry. Yenny Perez and Maritza Vargas, workers at the Alta Gracia factory, came to UofL to share their personal stories about decades of working in the textile industry and seeking dignified jobs. We listened to the stories of these inspiring union leaders; learned about the effect that a dignified wage has had on the community of Villa Altagracia and the wider garment industry; heard about the historic struggle for fair working conditions in the Dominican Republic Free Trade Zone; and discovered how to support the workers who sew our university logo apparel!


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

March 23, 2010

Mr. Scott Nova
Executive Director
Workers’ Rights Consortium
5 Thomas Circle NW, 5th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Mr. Nova:

The University of Louisville is committed to conducting our business fairly and in a socially responsible manner. We understand that part of our mission involves educating the next generation of leaders as well as standing up for those in our community and around the world who face challenges in life. This mission includes advocating for fair labor practices, a commitment we share with the WRC and the Fair Labor Association.

The University of Louisville also supports the principles of the Designated Suppliers Program. Specifically, we support the concept of acceptable working conditions, living wages and freedom of association for workers who manufacture university apparel. While we support those principles, UofL shares the concerns of other institutions regarding the ongoing economic, logistical and possible anti-trust challenges facing the implementation of the DSP.

The University of Louisville looks forward to hearing more about the future of the DSP and may ultimately adopt the program providing the challenges noted above are addressed to our satisfaction. Thank you for your efforts to promote fair labor standards across the globe. UofL stands ready to assist in this effort.

Sincerely,

Mitchell H. Payne, J.D.
Associate Vice President for Business Affairs
Grawemeyer Hall, Room 108
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky 40292

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