Another victory for garment workers, student labor activism

Just last week, The New York Times announced a major win for the sweat-free movement. On university campuses here in the U.S. and at a Knights Apparel factory in the Dominican Republic, the long-awaited decision to reopen the factory was the best possible news.

And there’s even more to celebrate this week. On Monday, mounting pressure from student groups and universities guaranteed that 1,800 workers in Honduras will be able to make ends meet while they look for employment. These workers lost their jobs when two Nike subcontractors closed their factories. Adding insult to injury, the subcontractors refused to pay the severance they legally owed to their workers.

Now, thanks in large part to the continued efforts of United Students Against Sweatshops, Nike has agreed to pay $1.54 million to the laid-off workers. Not only that, The New York Times reported this week that the workers will also receive vocational training and financial health care coverage.

The implications of Nike’s decision go beyond these two factories. In fact, TIME Magazine noted today that it could also mark the beginning of a shift in practices industry wide—a shift towards multi-national corporations taking responsibility for the way subcontractors treat their employees.

As our economy becomes increasingly globalized, that kind of responsibility is hard to come by. But this month, it’s workers and student allies: 2; corporate malfeasance: 0.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 6:10 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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