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Tuesday August 16th

UNC students ask Folt to cut cake, ties

<p>Courtesy of Richard Lindayen</p>
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Courtesy of Richard Lindayen

SAW presented the cake to Folt in order to draw attention to VF Corporation’s violation of the licensing labor code. The University has an apparel contract with VF Corporation.

The gift included a note that read, “Cut VF and this cake!”

The group said VF Corporation has a history of providing wages below living standards and violating health and safety agreements.

“What we did was a way to say to Chancellor Folt that we know what’s going on, we don’t like it, and we’d like for you to enforce the labor code that the University has in place and cut VF Corporation,” said SAW member Richard Lindayen.

Members of SAW want the University to cut ties with VF Corporation because it has not signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh regulates worker safety in the country’s garment industry. All companies producing UNC-licensed apparel in Bangladesh were required to sign the accord in early February, and all future contracts with companies that make apparel in Bangladesh will be contingent on signing the accord.

But VF Corporation was not required to sign the accord because it assured the University and the Collegiate Licensing Company it has not produced collegiate-licensed products in Bangladesh since December 2013.

Matt Fajack, vice chancellor for finance and administration, gave a statement about SAW’s efforts to get the University to cut ties with VF Corporation on Wednesday.

“The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is proud to continue its commitment to worker safety by requiring licensees that make UNC-logoed apparel in Bangladesh sign the accord,” the statement said.

Fajack said the University acknowledges it can do little to change working conditions in Bangladesh but understands SAW’s concerns.

Lindayen said even though VF Corporation does not produce collegiate-licensed apparel in Bangladesh, it could still do so elsewhere under similar conditions or find loopholes in its contract.

“There are no changes in the contract. There are no changes on the ground in Bangladesh,” Lindayen said. “It’s just kind of a way of acting like they’ve done something nice, but they really haven’t.”

UNC spokeswoman Tanya Moore said Folt, Fajack and Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington plan to meet with SAW to discuss the issue.

“We are glad that Chancellor Folt is moving in the right direction and that she has encouraged the accord. But it’s just not enough,” Lindayen said. “We want to see more progress.”


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