President Bollinger accepts code of conduct proposed by labor standards committee

February 16, 2001

ANN ARBOR—A new code of conduct that sets forth labor standards for the manufacture of licensed products will be adopted immediately by the University of Michigan, President Lee C. Bollinger announced today (Feb. 16).

Bollinger said the U-M ‘is committed to ethical business practices’and has been “actively participating in the national dialogue aimed at eradicating sweatshop conditions surrounding the manufacturing of licensed products.”

The new code, which builds on an earlier policy statement adopted by the University in March 1999, was developed by the U-M Standing Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights. The committee, formed by Bollinger in September 2000 and chaired by U-M Prof. Lawrence Root, finalized its code recommendations and forwarded them to the president on Jan. 11. The 10-member committee includes faculty, student and staff representation.

Bollinger thanked the committee “for its excellent work and for its ongoing service to the University.” The committee, he noted, conducted an extensive analysis and held discussions with all affected parties, including licensees, before finalizing its discussions with all affected parties, including licensees, before finalizing its recommendations.

The two-page code addresses key issues such as forced labor, child labor, harassment or abuse of employees, nondiscrimination, health and safety, women’s rights, freedom of association and collective bargaining, hours of work and overtime, and compensation.

The U-M code will be included in all new licensing contracts signed after Feb. 16. The majority of the University’s licensing agreements are for a one-year period, and therefore will be up for renewal in the coming months.

The committee also sent a separate memo to the president outlining its recommendations for consideration of three other widely-used codes of conduct, developed by the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), Workers Rights Consortium(WRC), and Fair Labor Association (FLA). The committee said other codes may be accepted by the University during a two-year trial period if the licensee agrees to some additional provisions set forth by the committee.

Contact: Julie Peterson

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