Search Results for: worker rights consortium

Dec

1

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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.

Sep

19

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Barnard apparel was the contentious subject in yesterday’s meeting

Interested in following what goes on in Barnard’s SGA, but don’t have time to go to the meetings? Every Tuesday, check out Bwog’s recap of Monday’s SGA meeting, penned by none other than Barnard Bearoness Dassi Karp.

This week, Barnard’s SGA finally got down to business. At Monday night’s Rep Council meeting, they welcomed members of Student-Worker Solidarity (SWS), a group that fights for “economic justice and workers’ rights at CU and beyond,” according to the group’s Facebook page. The visiting members spoke about some of the group’s current projects, which include:

  • Trying to get Barnard to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a labor rights monitoring organization
    • The WRC would help Barnard create and enforce a manufacturing code of conduct to ensure that its collegiate apparel was not being produced in sweatshop conditions. Close to two hundred colleges are currently affiliated with the WRC, including Columbia University since the 90’s. However, Columbia’s affiliation does not include Barnard College. SGA members questioned the necessity of joining WRC rather than having the College independently create a manufacturing code.
  • Supporting the Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC) union in their attempts to bargain for a contract
  • Collecting information about student workers at Barnard regarding complaints about late paychecks
  • Continuing to support the adjunct faculty union, which negotiated a contract with Barnard last spring

More SGA news after the jump

Aug

29

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Yesterday afternoon, the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network (BCSN, for short), an alliance of activist groups on campus, released a welcome letter to Barnard’s new president Sian Beilock. This alliance currently includes Divest Barnard for a Just Transition, Undocumented Students Initiative, Student-Worker Solidarity, Columbia University Apartheid Divest, CU/BC Branch of the International Socialist Organization, and No Red Tape.

The letter begins by introducing BCSN as a” coalition of student groups mobilized in a common struggle for liberation” that opposes consolidation of power, wealth, and resources “in the hands of a few” at Columbia. It then goes on to list a few recent victories for activism at Barnard and Columbia, including Barnard divesting from companies that deny climate change, Columbia divesting from the coal industry and private prisons, and student workers winning a $15 minimum wage.

After this introduction, BCSN cuts to the chase in expressing their concerns about President Beilock’s appointment: “the Barnard community was effectively locked out of the presidential search process”, they write, because student and faculty representatives were appointed rather than elected, and student concerns were trivialized. Debora Spar has left what BCSN considers a troubling legacy, as she failed to address needs of low-income students, undocumented students, students of color, and other groups of marginalized identities. And it seems that BCSN is not particularly impressed with President Beilock’s history, either; they cite her work at University of Chicago taking “a leading role in the administration’s assault on graduate student workers’ right to unionize”. In addition, the writers of this letter found President Beilock’s and Provost Bell’s statement on the events in Charlottesville wanting, as that statement failed to condemn white supremacist ideology, “explicitly defend the rights of students of color”, and “state what you [Barnard] will do… to stand for racial justice”.

See BCSN’s demands and read the full letter after the jump

Oct

31

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You can take this book out for a whopping two hours if it’s on a reserve list (let’s be honest, 99% of your books are) YAY.

This week’s SGA met with Mujeres, furthering the notion that SGA is actually going to achieve stuff this semester and impressing our Barnard Bwogger Dassi Karp who covered the the range of issues presented at the meeting. 

Barnard’s Student Government Association is really stepping up its game this semester, bringing in student groups or administrators every week and coming up with actionable items for SGA to pursue. And this week was no different. Leaders and members of Mujeres, Barnard’s cultural support group for Latina students and allies, presented ways that they hope to work with SGA to further their constituency’s needs.

Most of what Mujeres advocated for involved supporting first-generation low-income students, as those are identities that many members of Mujeres also share. First, they spoke about Barnard’s Peer Academic Learning Program (PAL), which works to assist first-generation first-year students with the transition to college with meetings and advising sessions. Mujeres hopes to partner with PAL next year, but first needs to obtain funding to support paying new PALs.

More after the jump

Oct

24

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New body who this?

This week’s SGA meeting once again ran smoothly, impressing Barnard Bwogger Dassi Karp who covered last nights events with discussion topics ranging from disability accommodations to halal chicken in Hewitt.

At Barnard’s Student Government Association meeting last night, our indomitable Rep Council continued the trend of recent weeks of inviting good guests, asking smart questions, and actually getting things done. I’m impressed, SGA–everything is just going so smoothly! Is there something you’re not telling us? This week, led by Rep for Student Health Services Val Jaharis, Rep Council welcomed MJ Murphy, Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness Programs; Dr Mary Commerford, Director of Furman Counseling Center; and Carolyn Corbran, Director of the Office of Disability Services.

(more…)

Oct

17

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“That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.” Did people ever say that?

This week’s SGA got BOSSY, indicating once again they are really going to try and get things done. Bwogger Dassi Karp covered the the range of issues presented, from lack of diversity within courses to dessert freedom for all. 

At this week’s meeting of the Student Government Association, the members of our fearless Barnard Rep Council showed once again that they are really going to try to get things done. This year’s established pattern of bringing in a student group and asking them about their needs continued in full force, with guests from the leadership of the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (BOSS), which supports black women through mentorship programs, meetings, and education and cultural events. Notably, SGA President Angela Beam took some time to review the Council’s progress on addressing the requests from last groups. This is very promising–this might be the semester when SGA really comes through.

At the start of the meeting, SGA voted to pass a motion to write a statement to support the Workers Rights Consortium, per the request of Student-Workers Solidarity last month. They plan on releasing the statement next week.

BOSS presented three issues they hoped SGA would help them address. First, they explained that they were having problems with Public Safety allowing their non-Barnard members in to their meetings, which take place in a lounge in Reid Hall. University Senator Kira Dennis pointed out that there is a form a on the Res Life website that should be filled out by whoever has problems with Public Safety or the desk attendants. I could not find this form in an admittedly non-thorough search of the Barnard website before my 8:40 this morning.

Next, BOSS requested assistance in getting funding to send members to the Black Solidarity Conference at Yale this year. VP Finance Evie McCorkle was, as always, very on top of things, and said she’ll help them figure it out, by applying to funds such as the Joint Council Co-Sponsorship Community (JCCC).

Lastly, BOSS members expressed frustration with courses, specifically in the First Year Writing and Seminar program, who’s readings are lacking diverse representation. The course Legacy of the Mediterranean, which investigates key intellectual moments in the rich literary history that originated in classical Greece and Rome and continues to inspire some of the world’s greatest masterpieces” according to the FYW writing website, was brought as an example. This caused a lot of discussion. Unlike Lit Hum, FYW and FYS classes are offered on a range of topics, many of which do not focus on the canon the same way that Legacy does. But, clarified a BOSS member, “it should not have to be that if I want diversity I have to pick a certain class.” She added, “the only class with a smidge of diversity is The Americas.” The Americas, which does boast about its “multicultural curriculium,” is one of the three options for First Year Writing, as well as one of the many options for seminar, First-Year class president Sara Morales referenced conversation that she had with Director of First-Year Writing, Wendy Schor-Haim. Morales seemed generally pleased and hopeful about the future of the department in terms of diversity, noting that Schor-Haim was very open to suggestions and ways to improve.

The Executive Board announced some new meeting rules this week, as well as reminded us of some Rep Council policies. Notably, esteemed President Angela Beam will give speakers five and ten minute warning to make sure they stay within the time limits allotted to them. Also, direct responses to statements will now be limited to two per statement. This caused some slight confusion, with Junior Class VP Aashna Singh clarifying, “so I have to raise my hand to respond to myself?” (Yes, apparently.) Angela also clarified that the open floor portion of the meetings are open to anyone who wishes to speak, regardless of their connection to Barnard or Columbia. I assume this is because I asked them if former faculty member Georgette Fleischer will be allowed to keep coming. (She can.)

The most important announcement of the night: the Desserts After Dark Survey is open! Fill it out, because, as VP Campus Life Aku Acquaye reminded us, “we have desserts for all dietary restrictions!”

Image via El Pantera

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