from The Daily Cardinal

Wiley agrees to wage disclosure requirement

By Emily Winter

Published: Monday, January 26, 2004

At the request of UW-Madison students, faculty and staff, Chancellor John Wiley agreed to seek worker wage disclosure from all 450 UW-Madison licensees, special assistant to the Chancellor Lamarr Billups announced Friday.

The recommendations for wage disclosure came from the Student Labor Action Coalition and the Labor Licensing Policy Committee, an advisory group to the Chancellor consisting of students, faculty and staff.

Last semester, both groups urged Wiley to add a rider to already existing contracts requiring the over 3,000 factories producing UW-Madison goods worldwide to release worker pay amounts to the Workers' Rights Consortium, a group UW-Madison and other universities pay to monitor licensees. The initiative gained momentum alongside the addition of Nike, a company with a tumultuous past of overseas worker treatment, as a licensee in November.

Despite his agreement to obtain such information, Billups said Wiley will not add the rider, but will instead send letters to each licensee and develop a plan with the WRC to obtain wage disclosure information from all factories twice a year.

"We believe that to add a rider is redundant," Billups said, referring to the already-present contract clause requiring factories to pay the legal minimum wage.

Additionally, Wiley wrote in a letter that he thinks attaching a contract rider would be inefficient because each factory operates differently.

"I do not believe it is useful to develop a global one-size-fits-all prescription," he wrote.

Wiley's decision garnered mixed responses from some SLAC and LLPC members.

SLAC and LLPC member Liana Dalton said she is satisfied with the plan as a start, but thinks it is especially important to continue communicating with the WRC and licensees since Wiley will not add a new, concrete clause to contracts.

"I prefer a more tangible approach, even if it is somewhat redundant," Dalton said.

Because others on the LLPC shared Dalton's sentiment, the group formed a subcommittee Friday to work with Billups at keeping the issue current.

Even without the rider, Billups said he hopes to send letters to all licensees sometime this semester and will hold each licensee to its tailored agreement.

"If any of our licensees refuse ... we'll terminate their contract," Billups said.

Yet SLAC member Charles Hoyt said he is skeptical.

"Show me the list of wages and then I'll know there's wage disclosure," Hoyt said.

SLAC index page

Anti-sweatshop/wage disclosure page

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