Ensuring ethical apparel on campus



UWinnipeg students and administration jointly endorse Workers’ Rights Consortium

WINNIPEG, MB –The University of Winnipeg is the first post-secondary institution in Manitoba to affiliate with the Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC) and develop a Code of Conduct to guide the purchase of all official UWinnipeg or Wesmen branded merchandise, including sports team uniforms, headgear, towels and backpacks.

The WRC is an independent labor rights monitoring organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe. The purpose is to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who make apparel and other products. The WRC has the support of over 182 college and university affiliates.

“UWinnipeg has a deep commitment to human rights and to integrating environmental, social and economic considerations in all aspects of management decision-making,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “We have an important role to play in ensuring fair labour practices globally. Affiliation with the WRC commits the University to engaging actively with our suppliers to ensure fair labour practices are followed.”

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association received endorsement from the student body in a 2013 campus referendum to pursue this affiliation.

“We are very pleased with this response to the student voice,” said Rorie Mcleod Arnould, President, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association. “Respecting the dignity of work, locally as well as globally, is a moral responsibility that we all hold.”

The Code of Conduct will address the following issues: wages, hours of work, overtime compensation, freedom of association, workplace safety and health, compliance with local laws, women’s rights, child labor and forced labor, harassment and abuse in the workplace, and non-discrimination. UWinnipeg will also require full public disclosure of factory locations, including those of contractors and subcontractors

Two main areas of the University are affected — the Campus Bookstore (located in the AnX) and Athletics. The Campus Bookstore, operated by Follett of Canada, already works with the Fair Labour Association and is in full support of the WRC affiliation, as is Wesmen Athletics.

The WRC conducts independent, in-depth investigations, issues public reports on factories producing for major brands and aids workers at these factories in their efforts to end labor abuses and defend their workplace rights.

Mondetta operates the MPG retail outlet on the second floor, Duckworth Centre. Its supply chain is socially responsible and abides by International Labor Organization (ILO), according to the Geneva Convention. Monitoring of the supply chain is performed by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), an international verification and certification company based in Switzerland.

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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca







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