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Students plan on Demanding that GVSU Make Adidas Pay $1.8 Million to Indonesian Workers

March 13, 2013

Last month we reported that a new chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) had formed at GVSU.

In February, GVSU students hosted 2 speakers from Indonesia who were on tour with USAS, talking about the campaign against footwear giant Adidas.img_1329-500x300

On Tuesday, March 19, students from United Students Against Sweatshops at Grand Valley State University, will be meeting with the vice president to demand the school take action against Adidas, who has refused to pay their Indonesian factory workers $1.8 million they are legally owed for making college-logo apparel. They will join students at more than 30 universities throughout the U.S. in a national day of action to demand that universities hold brands like Adidas responsible for worsening sweatshop abuse.

According to the GVSU United Students Against Sweatshops:

2,800 workers from the now-shuttered PT Kizone factory sewed Adidas products for $0.60 an hour, and were intially left without their US$3.3 million in legally-owed severance pay when the factory closed in April 2011. While other buyers have paid a portion of the severance, Adidas is the only major buyer that has refused to contribute a single penny. As a result former workers have had to withdraw their children from school and are barely able to afford two meals a day for their families.adidas_wepaynothing_sm

In Sept 2012, Cornell University announced its decision to terminate its eight-year contract with Adidas effective October 1st, becoming the first U.S. University in history to terminate an agreement with the apparel giant over labor rights abuses. Oberlin College recently followed suit and became the second school to sever ties with the company.

Part of our schools mission statement is “Grand Valley State University educates students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies” we now have the chance to shape our society by showing Adidas we will not stand for oppression of fellow human beings. Grand Valley has the chance to show the rest of the world that we are a leader in social responsibility,” said Lindsey Disler, one of the GVSU USAS organizers.

In addition to the unresolved violations at PT Kizone, USAS student leaders have received reports from Central American and Caribbean workers about deteriorating conditions at Adidas supplier factories, including stories of anti-union threats at several factories owned by Gildan Activewear, which recently became Adidas’ largest supplier in the Western Hemisphere. Adidas’ behavior at PT Kizone is part of a much larger pattern of abusing workers rights. Students across the country are ready to take action when new Adidas violations come to light.

The GVSU chapter of USAS welcomes people from the community to join them next Tuesday for the action in support of labor rights around the world.

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