Purdue students rally for safer workplaces

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A group of Purdue University students is pushing for safer working conditions in factories worldwide.

Members of the United Students Against Sweatshops are taking a stand in the fight against what they say are deplorable work conditions in factories throughout the world.

The USAS Purdue chapter reformed last fall, and it recently started a campaign against Nike.

“Nike has stopped allowing the WRC, which is the Worker’s Rights Consortium — an independent factory monitoring organization, into its factories,” USAS member Dana Smith said. “The WRC specifically monitors companies for universities so that we know that our Boilermaker apparel is being made under safe working conditions.”

The group hosted a former Nike employee from Thailand to talk about her experience working for the company.

The group also held a call-in to President Mitch Daniels, where people could voice their concerns over the issue. Daniels spoke with the group, but they still want more action to be taken.

“We rallied in front of Hovde [Hall] and went up to the president’s office and President Daniels came out, talked to us about our concerns. But ultimately, [Daniels] did not commit to taking any action and we are not satisfied with that result,” Smith said.

USAS member Joelle Jones said, “The students care about this issue and we care about sweatshops. We care about those workers, and it’s just frustrating that there’s a lack of action or even a lack of thought of action.”

Along with the Purdue chapter, there is also a national chapter for this organization. USAS is the largest student union labor organization in the country with more than 150 chapters.

The group says the university doesn’t necessarily need to cut ties with companies, it just needs to assure the employees are being treated fairly.

“We need to continue to pressure corporations and the people that they hire to make our clothes, to provide safe workplace conditions, to provide a living wage, to allow for the sorts of inspections that would make these factories safe,” said USAS member Fernando Tormos.

The group has started a petition to tell Purdue to put Nike on notice. As of right now, there are nearly 6,000 signatures.

You can also visit the group’s Facebook page.

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