Student Advocacy and “Sweatshop” Labor: The Case of Russell Athletic

Russell Athletics, one of the United States’ top sportswear companies, along with a student advocacy organizations coalition led by USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops), on November 17, 2009, announced that Russell Athletics Company would re-hire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when it closed its factory. The workers union would allow them to bargain collectively and would be respected. The announcement came after two years of both international and local activism targeting the company. As (Greenhouse, 2009) observes, it was pushed by independent observers and the movement as one of the biggest contemporary international labor movement success stories.

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Lastly, after almost two years of student protest in coordination with the apparel workers, in November of 2009, the Honduran workers’ union fulfilled an agreement with Russell that re-employs all workers, gives compensation for lost wages, recognizes and respects the union and consents to collective bargaining, gives access to the union to all other Russell attire plants in Honduras for union organizing drives in which the company will stay neutral.

References
De Bakker, F.G.A. and den Hond, F. (2008). Introducing the politics of stakeholder influence: A
review essay. Business and Society, 47 (1), 8-20.

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