The University Record, October 2, 2000

Bollinger appoints Standing Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights

By Joel Seguine
News and Information Services

President Lee C. Bollinger last week announced the appointment of a Standing Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights, continuing efforts by the University to address issues relating to the manufacture of apparel and other items licensed to bear the University’s logos.

Appointment of this standing committee of faculty, staff and students was one of the recommendations of the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights in its report to Bollinger released on Aug. 2.

“I have asked Larry Root, director of the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations and professor in the School of Social Work, to chair the committee, and I am delighted that he has agreed to serve,” Bollinger said.

Faculty members of the committee, all highly regarded in their respective fields, include: Alan Deardorff, the John F. Sweetland Professor of International Economics, and professor of economics and public policy, whose research focuses on international trade theory and policy; Sioban Harlow, associate professor in the School of Public Health, whose work in women’s health emphasizes occupational health of women in Latin America; and Robert Howse, professor of law, whose research specialty is international trade law with emphasis on the protection of human rights in international trade.

Student members, from a list provided by the Michigan Student Assembly, include: Kevin Kolben, a joint Law School/Rackham student slated to graduate in 2002, who has worked as a labor organizer, studied labor movements in South Asia and worked with non-governmental organizations in Cambodia; Steve Rosenberg, a junior and economics major in LS&A, who has studied labor practices; and Scott Trudeau, an LS&A junior and bachelor of general studies major, active in the Students Organized for Labor and Economic Equality.

Staff members on the committee include: Kristen Ablauf, director of licensing and trademarks for the Athletic Department; Louis Green, manager of supplier diversity programs, Purchasing and Stores; and Veronica Johnson, senior state and community relations officer and director of the U-M Lansing Service Center, Office of the Vice President for Government Relations.

“I have charged the committee with advising the University concerning policies and practices to ensure that corporations engaged in the manufacture of licensed goods bearing the University’s name and/or logos are not engaged in unlawful or unconscionable labor practices,” Bollinger said.

Specifically, the committee will address key decisions facing the University in the following areas:

  • Disclosure of manufacturing locations—Review the results of the requirement that licensees disclose manufacturing locations and, if appropriate, recommend further actions to meet the goals of this disclosure policy.

  • Code of conduct for labor standards—Review the University’s draft code of conduct with input from licensees and other interested parties, and recommend final code language with attention to achieving consistency with other universities when possible.

  • Monitoring compliance—Participate in organizations that the University has joined to monitor the code of labor standards defined in the code of conduct and continue to explore alternative means to ensure compliance.

  • Addressing complaints about licensees—Develop procedures for evaluating and responding to complaints that may be received concerning violations of the code of labor standards.

  • Research and education—Draw upon the resources of the University and other sources of expertise to advance understanding of the issues involved in globalization and labor and to help shape decision making by the University.