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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Staff editorial: Sweat surrender

When the University announced that it was suspending its contract with manufacturer New Era Co. Monday, members of the Progressive Student Union hailed it has a victory for their cause – a cause that champions workers’ rights. Although it is commendable the University listened to students’ voices, the suspension appears to be premature and based on questionable information.

Members of the PSU has painted New Era as a company that operates a sweat shop in Derby, N.Y. The organization lambasted GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and called him a liar for asserting that “GW logo clothing is not made in sweatshops” on a flier handed out by PSU members on campus. But according to the same flier, not one allegation the group mentions resembles a description of sweat-shop conditions.

The University’s actions strictly are based strictly on a 30-page Worker’s Rights Consortium report that was initially brought to the University’s attention in August 2001. Director of University Relations Gretchen King University said at that time the University was ready to suspend New Era’s contract. But the PSU declined the offer when it realized University actions could set off a round of suspensions from other schools, thereby placing New Era employees’ jobs in jeopardy.

About six months after the PSU rejected GW’s offer, the activist group changed its mind when New Era workers submitted their approval of suspensions. And GW followed in turn, suspending the contract.

But at no point did the Worker’s Rights Consortium even visit the New Era plant. The report is based completely on testimony of workers who picketing the plant. It is dangerous for the University to be so capricious in its willingness to suspend a contract until the allegations are proven correct.

If the University held the same standard for other contracts, Aramark would have been suspended as the campus food provider last year when workers claimed mistreatment.

Helen Cannaday, special assistant to the vice president of Student and Academic Support Services, says the University’s decision to suspend the contract stands until the Fair Labor Association audit is complete. The more responsible decision would be to assume innocence until the company is proven guilty.

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