U. cuts ties with Adidas
University President Robert L. Barchi cut ties with sports company Adidas Nov. 27, 2012, nine days after the Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops protested in the University’s bookstore.
“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,” Barchi said in a letter to RUSAS.
RUSAS had been advocating for cutting ties with the company, as Adidas did not pay proper severance to Indonesian workers at supplier PT Kizone.
“There are reports coming out of factories in Indonesia of workers receiving death threats, even one miscarriage right on a factory floor,” said Stoni Tomson, a Brown University sophomore who participated in the protest. “On one level, what Adidas is doing is wrong. On another, it is also violating our schools’ code of conduct policy.”
The cut between the University and the company does not allow the University to sell any merchandise from Adidas. The students protested at the bookstore, as it sold Adidas apparel.
“We won, and they are going to pay the workers finally,” said Nida Ahmed, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. “It took two years, but they will finally be getting paid $1.2 million.”
After the victory, RUSAS members have now switched their focus to T-Mobile. On April 25, RUSAS hosted a workshop where current and former T-Mobile employees talked to students about the work ethic at the company.
“The working conditions are stressful,” said Joyce Bellamy, a customer service representative at T-Mobile. “We are under the gun, always pressured. “They want you to make sales and cut talk time. We are supposed to treat customers with respect but rush them off the phone.”
Ahmed said the University has a contract with T-Mobile where a student can become a preferred customer if they prove they go to the University.
“We also have the same contract in place with AT&T and Verizon [Wireless]. We are going to deliver a letter to Barchi,” she said.