Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, November 20, 2009

Advisory committee chair pleased with outcome of dispute with Russell Corp.

The chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights says she is pleased with news of a historic global apparel industry breakthrough that had been supported by students and university officials.

Russell Corp. has committed to rehire 1,200 previously dismissed workers in Honduras, provide them with financial assistance, open a new unionized factory in Honduras, and take steps to respect workers’ rights at the company’s seven existing Honduran plants.

“The university was pleased to learn of the historic agreement negotiated between Russell Corp. and workers in Honduras. We appreciate the work of our monitoring partners, the Fair Labor Association and the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), in facilitating this resolution,” says Siobán Harlow, advisory committee chair and a professor of epidemiology.

WRC Executive Director Scott Nova praised the involvement of the university and its students and faculty in helping achieve this groundbreaking outcome.

“The strong and effective action taken by the University of Michigan in enforcing its labor rights code of conduct played a vital role in producing this historic result,” Nova says.

In February, U-M announced it would not renew its licensing agreement with Russell Corp. after the advisory committee recommended the university end its association with the company for repeated freedom of association violations.