The T-shirts may be sweat-free, but the campaign sure wasn’t.

It’s been 10 long years since workers at BJ&B factory in the Dominican Republic kicked off their effort to form a union—10 years of struggle that seemed, for a time, to have ended in defeat.

The workers’ partnership with the student labor group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) helped them get their jobs back when they were fired for supporting the union. And, in 2003, they won a union contract. USAS had leveraged universities’ buying power to pressure Nike and Reebok, two high-profile companies that sourced from BJ&B, but the big-name brands weren’t having it. The factory closed in 2007.

Now for the good news—the former BJ&B workers are back in action. The New York Times reported this week that Knights Apparel is reopening the factory, rehiring the fired workers, recognizing their union, and paying them a living wage. The clothing produced there will be sold under the name Alta Gracia and sold in college bookstores across the country.

To quote USAS,

Ever since student activists first formed USAS in the ’90s, apparel corporations and college administrators insisted it was impossible to produce our schools’ clothes in union factories that pay living wages. It’s time to officially put that excuse to rest.

Read more about the campaign for sweat-free collegiate apparel here.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 2:04 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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