A group of students have participated in an ongoing protest to
expedite the University’s process of cementing a clear
proposal to implement wage disclosure.

The wage disclosure policies would force companies using the
University’s logo to make their workers’ wages public
knowledge, a proposal that was approved — but has not yet
been implemented — by the Labor Students and Human Rights
Committee, which has been overseeing this issue. This would expose
companies that manufacture clothing using underpaid third world
labor.

Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality, a group
advocating fair labor standards, has been organizing these
protests.

SOLE member and LSA junior Marlowe Coolican said the committee
is not sticking to the timetable that it promised SOLE.

“They said they would work on it over the summer but that
never happened,” Coolican said.

She said this is especially frustrating because many of the
steps SOLE has suggested are already in the Code of Conduct for
University Licensees, but have not been enforced.

“We said we wanted them to send out letters asking
(factories that produce clothing with the University logo) to tell
us what they are paying their workers. We felt this was really
basic,” Coolican said.

Coolican said the committee ignored the letter-sending campaign
because it said it was too “idealistic.” Yet she said
that no other strategy has been proposed to substitute it.

But Sioban Harlow, an epidemiology professor and chair of the
Labor Standards and Human Rights Committee, said the issue of wage
disclosure is more complex than SOLE realizes, and therefore the
committee requires more time to discuss the proposal.

“It’s a complicated issue of how to create a system
to allow companies to be in dialogue with contractors. It’s
not as simple or straightforward as it seems,” Harlow
said.

She added that the issue has not been stagnant. Rather, the
committee has been in dialogue with the Worker Rights Consortium
and the Fair Labor Association, two labor standards groups that
work with industry, as well as licensing companies, to access and
discuss plausible ways to push wage disclosure through.

“Before the end of the term, we will get out a thought-out
alternative to the president,” Harlow said.

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