When Russell Athletic Corporation announced this week that it would re-hire 1,200 Honduran workers who critics claim were fired earlier this year because they unionized, anti-sweatshop organizations at universities across the country rejoiced.

LSA senior Jody Schechter, a member of Students Organizing for Labor & Economic Equality, was among those celebrating the company’s sudden acquiescence.

“We have a word for that: justice,” she wrote in an e-mail interview with the Daily.

Since Russell closed the newly unionized factory last January, the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) coalition — of which SOLE is an affiliate — has through its protests and activities pressured 96 colleges and universities to discontinue their licensing agreements with the company, according to an article in The New York Times.

Amid these concerns University of Michigan officials announced in late February that its licensing contract with Russell would not be renewed.

Withdrawing the licensing contracts proved to be an effective tactic, as Russell Athletics stood to lose millions of dollars in revenue without the rights to sell the logo-bearing apparel.

The company received criticism for refusing to cooperate with the original investigation into the matter, conducted by the Worker Rights Consortium, a university affiliate that closely monitors factories that produce goods bearing college and university licensed logos. At the time, the apparel maker said it was the economy, not the staff’s unionization, that influenced the closing of the factory.

The University of Michigan’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights sent a letter to University officials asking them drop ties with the company in February.

“Because of the company’s previous failure to adhere to its own standards of conduct, we do not feel that continuing the license, even under strict monitoring of any new code of conduct, is appropriate,” the letter said.

USAS also successfully pushed Russell to compensate workers for the months they were dismissed and incorporate a company-wide neutral stance on unionization.

After hearing of the recent breakthrough, Siobán Harlow, professor of epidemiology and chair of the Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights at the University, said she appreciates the work the students have done.

“The University was pleased to learn of the historic agreement negotiated between Russell Corporation and workers in Honduras,” she said in an e-mail statement.

In a press release, WRC Executive Director Scott Nova credited the success of the movement in part to the “involvement of the University (of Michigan) and its students and faculty.”

“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,” he wrote.

While the future of the company’s relationships with schools is still uncertain, Schechter, the SOLE member, said the WRC is essential in maintaining this victory.

“Continued support of independent monitoring bodies, particularly the WRC, should be emphasized in the universities’ policies regarding labor rights going forward,” she said.

Harlow wrote in an e-mail to the Daily that the committee “will likely discuss this settlement at its December meeting, however the committee will not review the case formally unless and until Russell Corporation makes an application to renew its license with the University.”

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