Dodge Asks Regents to Stay With WRC

A.S. President Jeff Dodge submitted a resolution to the A.S. Council recommending that the UC Board of Regents does not drop its membership with the Worker Rights Consortium.

The UC Board of Regents has set up a subcommittee to re-evaluate the university’s membership in the Worker Rights Consortium, the watchdog organization that monitors the University of California’s adherence to the code of conduct, which states that university apparel is not to be made in sweatshops.

The regents are considering switching the system’s membership to the Fair Labor Association, another organization designed to check for such violations.

UCSD’s A.S. Council has been presented with a resolution already passed by councils at UCLA and UC Berkeley.

The resolution states that “”Students have remained extremely critical of the Fair Labor Association, another organization vying to monitor UC’s Code of Conduct, whose Executive Board includes apparel companies, including Nike and Adidas, as well as nongovernmental organizations.””

UCSD student Jessica Wedge brought UCLA and UC Berkeley’s passing of this resolution to Dodge’s attention.

The council’s resolution will be decided Wednesday.

The WRC has been used to monitor the code of conduct since it was established, after the United Students Against Labor movement.

Dodge does not feel that the FLA would successfully do what it claims, because of its “”big business interests.””

“”We want to stay with an organization that does not promote the rights of corporate entities; we want to stay with a group that promotes human rights and fair working conditions in other countries,”” Dodge said.

The resolution submitted to the A.S. Council has three parts.

The first lists problems with the FLA, and the second lists strengths of the WRC.

Complaints against the FLA include the allegation that it does not provide an independent factory monitoring process. The FLA allows for announced factory inspections, which the resolution states potentially give corporations a chance to “”clean up.””

Also, the resolution states that the FLA does not perform inspections often or thoroughly enough, and that it would give consumers a false sense of security about buying products made under humane conditions.

The resolution states that the currently used WRC does provide for a fair and effective factory monitoring process.

The third part of the resolution deals with the construction of the advisory committee to decide which agency the university will give its contract.

It alleges that important and knowledgeable individuals have been excluded from the committee.

Mentioned in the resolution are the roles of professors Richard Appelbaum of UC Santa Barbara and Edna Bonacich of UC Riverside in the drafting of the revised code of conduct and their expert knowledge of the garment industry.

It also mentions UC students’ role in developing anti-sweatshop policy and educating the community about sweatshop exploitation.

The resolution condemns the regents’ advisory committee, stating that it contains only one professor and two students, with the remainder of the committee comprised of administrators. It also states that the dearth of students and professors is a violation of university policy.

The resolution will be decided by the A.S. Council on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Irvine Room.

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