The University Record, December 13, 1999

Apparel licensees formally notified to disclose manufacturing sites by Jan. 1

By Joel Seguine
News and Information Services

The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), which represents 172 colleges and universities, sent a memorandum in early December to all manufacturers licensed to use the trademarks of the U-M and six other CLC member institutions on apparel and other items. The memo is a formal notification on behalf of the seven universities that licensees must fully disclose information about the sites at which their products are manufactured no later than Jan. 1.

Along with the U-M, this notification was sent on behalf of the University of Arizona, Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina, the University of Wisconsin and St. John’s University.

The U-M already had established its intent to require disclosure by licensees in a July 1999 letter, but the CLC memo is the formal action notification, according to Martha Johnson Chaddock, the University’s manager of trademarks and licensing. “The earlier letter was sent only to our licensees and represents one principle of the U-M’s Code of Conduct [Anti-Sweatshop/Human Rights Policy Statement, released in March of this year]. As of Jan. 1, 2000, full disclosure is a requirement of all Michigan licensing agreements,” Johnson Chaddock said.

Although the memo states that it affects only the licensees of the listed universities, it was sent to the licensees of all CLC member institutions, encouraging them “to begin giving serious consideration to labor code issues if you have not already done so.”

Bruce Siegal, CLC vice president and general counsel, said that his company’s role has been to help its members take advantage of strength in numbers. “Sending out this memo is a prime example. These seven major institutions are pulling together to exercise their collective clout with the hope of making a significant impact on the labor code issues we’re all working hard to address. The greatest challenge will be to develop a uniform system for monitoring code compliance. Site disclosure is a big step forward in the process,” Siegal said.

Siegal added that many other CLC member institutions will be announcing labor code requirements over the next several months, and stressed the importance of developing industry-wide solutions to make an impact on global workplace conditions.

The University’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights, also called for in the U-M’s Code of Conduct, has been meeting since September, according to John Chamberlin, professor of public policy and committee chair. “We’ve been studying the range of issues relating to sweatshop labor,” Chamberlin said, “including recommendations for implementing the full disclosure requirement, various means of ensuring compliance with the University’s Code of Conduct and developing the contents of the Code, with particular emphasis on the issues of a living wage and women’s rights.”

The Committee sponsored a public forum in November on approaches to ensuring compliance with codes of conduct. It is planning another public forum for mid-January.

The text of the U-M Code is available on the Web at www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/1999/Mar99/sweats.html.