June 20, 2018 | ° F

Barchi cuts Adidas agreement

Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops secures success after campaign

Photo by Shawn Smith |

Rutgers United Students Against?Sweatshops members march into Barnes?& Noble at Rutgers to protest the store’s sale of Adidas products. After the Nov. 18 rally, President Robert L. Barchi promised RUSAS an answer by the end of the month. Members received his letter yesterday.

Just nine days after members of the Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops protested in the University’s bookstore, President Robert L. Barchi announced yesterday he would cut the University’s contract with sports company Adidas.

In a letter sent to RUSAS, Barchi said the organization’s hard work and dedication to bring up concerns about Adidas — a company that has not paid proper severance to Indonesian workers at supplier, PT Kizone — have not been ignored.

“We expect the companies with which the university has a trademark license agreement to respect and uphold the labor and legal rights of workers producing Rutgers-branded products, and Adidas’s actions are not in keeping with this expectation,” he said in the letter.

Barchi said he has instructed the University’s Trademark Licensing Office to work with the Collegiate Licensing Company to end the license agreement with Adidas.

RUSAS members were ecstatic when they received the notice from the president yesterday.

Monkia Juzwiak, a Rutgers Business School first-year student, said after a successful boot camp Nov. 18, RUSAS met with the administration regarding the contract with Adidas.

“We had a short meeting after the boot camp, and were told we would have a decision about the contract by the end of the month,” she said. “They were happy to see us and we brought a letter from the University of Washington with us showing that they had just cut their contract with Adidas as well.”

Anna Barcy, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said the contract being cut means a lot on a national level.

“Rutgers is big on a national scope because of our prestige and sports,” she said. “We are a big name and the licensing is worth selling.”

Kate Thomas, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said RUSAS members are happy with the president’s decision, but the fight is not over.

“We will continue to spread awareness and education about this,” she said. “We will support other schools in their decision to cut contracts.”

Thomas said the boot camp also brought students from other schools that are trying to get contracts with Adidas cut. As RUSAS awaited a decision, she said other universities were watching and could possibly follow.

“People have supported us, we will continue to support them,” she said. “We are the fourth school to cut the contract, so it’s starting to build momentum.”

The University of Washington, Cornell University and Oberlin College have also discontinued license agreements with Adidas.

Thomas said this is the best time to cut the contract because of a number of factors.

“This is great  — with the holiday season approaching — to cut the contract now,” she said. “Also with the addition to the Big Ten, this should give us some great exposure.”

Thomas said RUSAS wants Adidas to do the right thing and compensate workers with the severance they deserve.

While a deadline to cut the contract was not included in Barchi’s letter, Thomas said RUSAS would continue to follow up with the president until it has been eliminated.

Sonia Szczesna, a core organizer for RUSAS and School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she supports the president’s decision.

“I’m happy that he knows what he is doing,” she said.

Thomas said she is excited to stand with the president on his decision.

“This is the best thing that could have happened after all the bad press Rutgers has had in the past,” she said. “It’s his first year and he is making great decisions. We are happy to make a statement with him.”

Frangy Pozo, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said by influencing the University’s decision to cut the contract, RUSAS is a leader to other schools and organizations.

“Being able to bring schools together shows that we are grouped together on this decision,” she said. “It’s not just a Rutgers issue.”

By Shawn Smith

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