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Breaking: Barnard Joins Worker Rights Consortium

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Barnard has joined as an affiliate of labor rights organization Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), which will help Barnard create a code of conduct ensuring that collegiate apparel is not produced in sweatshop conditions.

Nearly 200 colleges are currently part of WRC, including Columbia University since the 90’s. Since September, Student-Worker Solidarity (SWS) has been fighting for Barnard to join WRC, a goal that it brought up in its visit to SGA. This process has passed relatively quickly and without the drama accustomed to bureaucracy, with SWS’s proposal being converted to administrative action within a few months.

Read the full announcement on the website or below:

President Sian Beilock announced that Barnard College will join more than 190 other colleges and universities nationwide as an affiliate of the Worker Rights Consortium. The WRC is an independent organization devoted to helping colleges and universities improve the conditions of workers around the globe who produce their apparel. The affiliation will assist Barnard in implementing a manufacturing code of conduct, with which apparel vendors contracting with Barnard will be asked to comply.

The decision to affiliate with the WRC arises from semester-long conversations with Barnard’s Student Government Association and the student organization Student Worker Solidarity. Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldberg, who will oversee implementation efforts, has worked with students since September to discuss the benefits of joining WRC and how best to enforce fair labor standards as part of Barnard’s vendor agreements.

“Joining the WRC is consistent with Barnard’s commitment to the ethical purchasing of goods and services,” Goldberg said. “We appreciate students’ willingness to work with us on this important issue.” Barnard’s vendor code of conduct is nearly final.

Once complete, it will be integrated into The Barnard Store’s apparel practices, as well as shared with any group planning to purchase Barnard apparel.

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