Friday, November 16, 2007

What is the 'DSP' ? The Designated Suppliers Program is a project of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), non-profit organization created by college and university administrations, students and labour rights experts in cooperation with various American unions. Their purpose is to assist in the enforcement of manufacturing Codes of Conduct adopted by colleges and universities. These Codes are designed to ensure that factories producing clothing and other goods bearing college and university names respect the basic rights of workers. There are many colleges and universities already affiliated with the WRC.
The WRC works with labour rights experts in the United States and around the world to investigate factory conditions. We report our findings to colleges and universities and the general public. Where violations are uncovered the WRC works with colleges and universities, US based retail corporations and organizations to correct the problem and improve conditions.
The WRC's Mission is to:
*keep our affiliates colleges and universities informed about conditions in the factories producing the goods that bear their names and logos.
*work with our affiliates to end violations of workers' rights wherever they are identified.
*raise public awareness about workplace conditions in apparel and other industries.
*educate workers about their rights under college and university Codes of Conduct.
*through all of these efforts, help workers gain greater respect for their rights and real improvements in their conditions of work.
That is the theory, and you can learn more by going to the WRC's website. The practice is the campaigns waged by organizations such as the Union Voice and the United Students Against Sweatshops. What follows are two recent email solidarity campaigns launched by these organizations to pressure two universities to join the DSP. You can access these campaigns from the USAS website or from the links provided after the appeals.
Tell USC to Stop Stalling and Adopt the DSP !:
In April students at USC held a sit-in to demand that their University adopt the DSP. At that time students were promised a meaningful dialogue with the president of their university, Steven sample, about this issue. Throughout the entire school year, however, the administration has not only refused to meet with students but has not even responded to their requests for a meeting.meanwhile USC apparel is still made in sweatshops. Please email and call today to demand that USC listen to students and become the 39th university to adopt the DSP.
To join this campaign go to
Tell Penn State to Adopt the DSP !:
Despite overwhelming support from students, faculty and the general university community, Penn State has refused to sign on to the DSP. During the two years that President Spanier has refused to take a stand on the issue, a number of union factories producing Penn state apparel have been shut down. Call, email and fax president Spanier today and demand that he listen to the voices of students and workers and make Penn State sweatshop free !
To join this campaign go to
try and do your little bit for workers' rights by signing on to these campaigns. When Molly had a look at the list of institutions signed on already she could see two unfortunate facts. One is that they are exclusively American. It's too bad this sort of thing isn't going on up here in Canada. this is one instance where our neighbours are ahead of us. The other unfortunate fact is that even in the USA the institutions that are willing to examine the ethics of their purchases are very much a tiny minority out of the total number. No doubt many/most of these institutions presume to offer classes in ethics while at the same time refusing to see their own dirty laundry.

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