United Students Against Sweatshops to Host Teach-In
United Students Against Sweatshops will be holding a “Teach-In” today at 6:30 p.m. to protest the university’s contracts with JanSport, a subsidiary of VF Corporation, a company known to have human rights problems.
The Teach-In, which will be held in 140 Fenske Laboratory, aims to pressure Penn State into cutting its ties with the company, as well as to educate students about sweatshops.
Last year, after feeling pressure from USAS, Penn State began requiring companies with which it does business to sign a contract called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally binding document creating safer working conditions in Bangladesh. However, according to the USAS, VF Corporation never signed the accord and has a history of problems, including an incident in 2010 that left 29 dead after a Bengali factory fire.
Over 180 brands have signed the accord, as well as 24 universities, including Big Ten partners Rutgers and the Wisconsin. When it signed the accord in February, Penn State was the first Big Ten school and sixth university overall to do so.
If successful, this will be third time in two years USAS has fostered significant change at this university, following the accord signing this year and its pressuring Penn State to cut ties with Adidas in March 2013.