Wisconsin University Students Fighting for the Rights of Workers

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law, Milwaukee

This student activism makes me smile. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an article which illustrates that college students in Wisconsin are still concerned about the plight of low-income workers. Erica Perez writes today:

Two student groups at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee plan to demonstrate tomorrow morning in the Student Union to push the school to endorse a program designed to protect the rights of the workers who sew university logo apparel. The Milwaukee Students for a Democratic Society and the Milwaukee Graduate Assistant Association plan to protest at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the student union, according to a statement issued today.

The Designated Suppliers Program requires university licensees to verify they source their apparel from factories that pay a living wage and allow workers to unionize, among other requirements. Some 44 colleges and universities across the country have penned policy statements in support of the program, including UW-Madison and Marquette University. UWM released a statement Aug. 25 saying it supports the principles of the Designated Supplier Program but “feels the program may pose legal, logistical, and economic issues as it is currently structured, concerns shared by other institutions and organizations.” The statement stops short of endorsing the program.

Marquette University’s statement about the program expresses similar reservations about its economic, logistical and legal challenges. But Marquette’s statement also says it is willing to participate as a member of the Designated Suppliers Program working group, a body of representatives from colleges that support the program and are working to come up with revisions to the plan. Beth Robinson, secretary of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistant Association, said she’s looking for a similar commitment from UWM.

First, happy to see that Marquette is taking the principled stand on this issue. No surprise there.

Second, here’s hoping that the student groups at UWM have much success in convincing their administrators of the justice of their cause.

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