April 5, 2005

SOUL pressures University to affiliate with Worker Rights Consortium

Students Organized and United with Labor (SOUL) hosted a small gathering with Juana Sanchez, a representative of the Alianza Fronteriza Obrera (AFO, which is translated as Border Alliance for Workers), on Thursday, March 31 as part of the nationwide Student Labor Week of Action. The AFO focuses on workers in "mequilas," factories that produce goods primarily for U.S. export. Sanchez detailed the labor abuses that the Alliance claims are rampant and the workers' rights education programs that she uses to address these problems.

The gathering was part of a larger drive by SOUL to pressure the University to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). This organization assists universities in enforcing codes of conduct to ensure that university apparel is not produced in abusive environments.

A request that the University join the WRC is currently under consideration, according to Bill Michel, assistant vice-president for student life. Administers will meet with SOUL representatives on Friday, April 8, to deliver the administration's decision on the WRC. A similar request was denied in the spring of 2000, according to the University of Chicago Magazine.