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Anti-sweatshop victory

United Students Against Sweatshops is claiming a major victory last week with Russell Athletics reopening its Honduran operations, shut down in January after workers there unionized.

USAS activists pressured 96 colleges and universities – including DePaul, Loyola and Northwestern — to cancel contracts with Russell, a major supplier of t-shirts and sweatshirts with school logos.

Last week the company agreed to hire back 1,200 workers, pay lost wages, and recognize their union.

“This is a breakthrough of enormous significance for the right to organize – and worker rights in general – in one of the harshest labor rights environments in the world,” said USAS coordinator Rod Palmquist.

It may be the first time a worker-activist campaign won the reopening of a factory which was shut down in order to eliminate a union, he said in a statement.  It’s “the first company-wide neutrality agreement in the history of the Central America apparel export industry –and it has been entered into by the largest private employer in Honduras, the largest exporter of t-shirts to the US market in the world.”

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Category: fair trade, human rights, international, labor, youth

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