Cornell University will continue its membership in both the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and the Fair Labor Association (FLA), two organizations aimed at ending sweatshop conditions in the apparel industry.
The university's continued membership and support for these anti-sweatshop organizations is the fulfillment of a commitment Cornell President Hunter Rawlings made two years ago when he announced the university's membership in the WRC. At that time, Rawlings expressed hope that these organizations would have a positive impact on the anti-sweatshop movement. He also indicated that the university would review the effectiveness of both the FLA and WRC and look for measurable progress toward the elimination of sweatshops.
"The movement to eliminate sweatshop labor continues to gain momentum through the initiative and diligence of student groups such as United Students Against Sweatshops, concerned colleges and universities, and these two organizations," Rawlings said in announcing Cornell's continuing involvement in the WRC and FLA. "Cornell is proud to have been among the founding members of both the Worker Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor Association and to have played a role in their growth and development. I am proud to continue our commitment to this cause."
At the WRC's founding conference in March 2000, 20 colleges and universities indicated their intention to become members. Today, the WRC's college and university membership has grown to 92. Cornell was among the 17 colleges and universities that participated in the establishment of the FLA, which now has 174 college and university members.
Henrik N. Dullea, vice president for university relations and Cornell's delegate to the WRC said, "We are pleased to acknowledge the hard work and contributions from the Cornell Students Against Sweatshops, the staff and leadership at the Worker Rights Consortium and the university's administration. Each has put a great deal of time and effort into this. And, while there's still much to be done, the progress that we've seen over the past two years is encouraging."
Rawlings noted the growth in influence that the college and university members have had on the FLA. When it was founded, only one university member had voting status on the board of directors. Today, there are three university members with voting rights on the board. College and university members also have called upon the FLA to provide internship opportunities for students. In collaboration with Verité, an independent monitoring organization, the FLA now offers more than 20 summer internship opportunities across the world.
Rawlings and Dullea paid tribute to the ongoing contributions of Cornell Students Against Sweatshops. "This is a hard-working and dedicated group of men and women committed to this cause. I am proud of the working relationship we share, and I look forward to continuing our joint efforts," said Dullea.