Ad Hoc Committee on Sweatshop Labor Recommendations
The following letter was sent to President Rodin by Howard Kunreuther, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sweatshop Labor, on March 30.
*Click here for Judith Rodin's response to Kunreuther's letter.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Sweatshop Labor is disappointed with the responses from both the Fair Labor Association and the Workers Rights Consortium to the letters you sent them. Neither organization has adequately addressed the committee's greatest concern: balanced representation of colleges and universities on their governing boards. As we said in our report, Penn's membership is contingent on this point, and we do not feel confident that either organization has responded sufficiently as indicated below.
FLA: Sam Brown's commitment to "take into consideration" future university involvement in the FLA falls far short of our expectations. The FLA may be discussing this issue in a few weeks at their next Executive Board meeting. Until they make a strong commitment to balanced representation on their Board, the committee believes that Penn should not consider joining the FLA.
WRC: The WRC's response fails to make a sufficiently firm commitment to address the composition of the Governing Board at the founding conference on April 7. The WRC's response is promising, given their "guarantee that at least half of the Board will represent the college and university community." Until they make a strong commitment to balanced representation on their Board the committee believes that Penn should not consider joining the WRC.
Following discussion on the adequacy of the WRC's response, the committee expressed strong interest in having an active role in their founding conference on April 7. We would like you or someone who you designate to make an active effort to engage the WRC in an attempt to, at a minimum, permit Penn to have one or two representatives attend the April 7 conference.
In light of the recent adoption of our Code of Workplace Conduct for University of Pennsylvania Apparel Licensees as official University policy, the committee restates our recommendation that the Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility be formed before the end of this semester. This would enable Penn to begin implementation of the Code of Conduct in a timely fashion. We understand that continuity will be critical to the success of this endeavor, so we recommend that our next meeting (following the WRC founding conference and FLA board meeting) be a transitional one that includes members of the Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 27, April 4, 2000