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Thu July 30, 2009
National student group criticizes MSU contract
By Kevin Lavery, WKAR News
East Lansing, MI – EAST LANSING, MI (WKAR) - A national student group is criticizing Michigan State University for continuing to do business with a clothing company the students claim is running a sweatshop operation in Honduras.
MSU has a contract with the Russell Corporation, an Alabama-based sports apparel company. United Students Against Sweatshops claims the company has a history of human rights abuses. Nearly 100 universities have severed their contracts with Russell and student organizer Jack Mahoney says MSU should also.
"MSU is apparently too afraid to enforce its own labor rights code," Mahoney says. "And if companies believe that the universities they're dealing with are not serious about their contractual obligations to uphold labor rights, then we think that sets a very bad precedent."
An MSU spokesman who oversees the contract says the Fair Labor Association has placed Russell on a special review status. He says MSU will terminate its deal if Russell fails to take action to correct the conditions outlined by the FLA.