Volume 94, Issue 19


PromiseKeepers meet with protest

Senate and BOG race heats up

Haskett denies Christian agenda

Sweatshop mandate hits hurdle

UPD warns of sexual deviant

Campus Briefs

Sexual predator at York U still at-large

Corroded Disorder

Sweatshop mandate hits hurdle

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

Western's Board of Governors struck a blow against sweatshops last week, but a labour advocacy group on campus said they did not hit hard enough.

The board approved a new code of conduct designed to guarantee decent working conditions for anyone involved in the production of goods bearing the Western name or logo. Bryan Shannon, a member of Students Against Sweatshops UWO, said the code does not go far enough.

Shannon said his group was disappointed the new code does not specify how the university will check manufacturers are complying with the new rules. "There's no mechanism for enforceability," he said.

According to Shannon, SAS UWO had proposed an enforcement method to a board called the Workers' Rights Consortium. Under this method, he said, factory workers – not outside observers – would report to the university on factory conditions.

The Chair of the Board's Community and Campus Affairs Committee, Jim Etherington, said the committee considered the idea, but chose not to adopt it since it was too new and little was known about it.

He said the committee will work on developing a mechanism to enforce it. "No code is final and carved in stone at any time," Etherington said, adding the committee welcomes input from SAS.

He added the code was modeled in large part on one already in place at the University of Toronto.

U of T's Student Administrative Council president, Adam Bretholz, said U of T, which passed its code in May, is still working out details to enforce the legislation.

"That's what we're working with now, [the] implementation of the code," he said. "Implementation is the tricky part, for sure."

Despite the complications, Bretholz said he is confident the code can be enforced, based on success US colleges have had implementing similar codes.

A SAS member at the U of T, Sonia Singh, said her group lobbied for two years to get administration approval of a code. She said she is optimistic the U of T community can come up with an effective way to enforce the code.

"I think that our experience getting the code passed in the first-place, proves that if the university's under significant pressure, they won't sign on to something that's too weak," Singh said.

Western's University Students' Council president, Dave Braun, said while he is unsure of how many students at Western are aware of the sweatshops issue, he recognizes its potential to be of great interest to them.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000