Citing ongoing labor rights violations as the impetus, and egged on by concerned students, the University of Washington is ending its apparel contract with Adidas.
At the root of the decision is Adidas' refusal to pay $1.8 million in severance to workers in an Indonesian factory, a decision UW United Students Against Sweatshops and others say clearly violates the university's Code of Conduct.
The contract termination came two weeks after the Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing (ACTL) -- which is appointed by the UW president to guarantee that companies producing the UW products offer humane working conditions -- recommended UW sever relations with Adidas.
"We're pleased with the decision, but it would have been nice if it had happened sooner," said Katy Lundgren, ASUW representative on ACTL and member of UW United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).
ACTL began inspecting Adidas after an investigation by the Worker Rights Consortium found that 2,800 workers were left unemployed after the factory owner fled Indonesia in January 2011.
Adidas responded to the report on its website saying it would not assume responsibility for the financial duty of the factory owner to his workers.
That response from Adidas apparently hasn't sat well with UW students or a pressured UW President Michael Young. The Daily reports that students recently "confronted Young in front of the UW Board of Regents" regarding the school's contract with Adidas, and two days later he made the formal decision to cut ties with the company.
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In a letter announcing his decision to cut the contract, Young said that because Adidas has given no indication of reconsidering its position, he instructed the University Trademarks and Licensing Office to end the contract.
"I fully agree with the committee's conclusion that, by taking the position that it had no responsibility for severance payments to its supplier's former workers, Adidas falls short of the University's expectations for its licensees," Young wrote.
In a press release distributed last night, UW United Students Against Sweatshops applauded the decision.
"This is both groundbreaking and highly unusual in the collegiate apparel industry," said sophomore and UW USAS organizer Rachel Shevrin in the written release. "It is a huge victory not only for the University but for students and workers everywhere. I am proud that Husky gear will no longer be produced in Adidas sweatshops"