Students must call on SU to lead anti-sweatshop movement

The recently reinstated United Students Against Sweatshops organization at Syracuse University is on a mission to have the Adidas brand’s sponsorship dropped as a consequence for the brand’s refusal to grant sweatshop workers livable wages.

Though this is an admirable goal the SU community should be aware of, students must call on the university to be a leader in a nationwide anti-sweatshop campaign.

At a speech on campus on Feb. 5, a sweatshop worker held a $12.99 SU T-shirt in one hand and the four cents he received for producing it in the other. The speech referenced Adidas specifically, and brought attention to the “Badidas” campaign already in effect at other universities. The speech also ignited several students’ desire to make a call to action addressing the issue.

The USAS campaign should stay focused on gaining support from the university to both educate the Syracuse community on the issue and commit to programs like the Designated Supplier Program, which requires pre-contract verification that workers will make a livable wage.

Bringing a halt to the purchase of SU apparel made by Adidas alone is not enough to combat this global issue. Taking an action like this may actually lead to more adverse, negative effects for sweatshop workers, as factory and company owners may be prone to lay off workers before raising their wages.

This is an issue generated by many brands, not just Adidas. Students should call on SU to network with other universities in combatting insufficient sweatshop wages on a national level.

Though SU is many miles removed from sweatshops, much of the apparel worn on this campus is a reminder of the injustices happening there.

The USAS campaign is in a premature stage. A comprehensive plan must be made for the university to promote student ideals on a global scale.


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