Russell Athletics reverses questionable labor decisions after universities protest

Last year, after protests by Solidarity over alleged violations of workers’ rights in Honduras, Georgetown joined several other universities in dropping its contract with sports gear manufacturer Russell Athletic.  It seems the collective boycott worked: Russell just announced that it will be reversing its questionable labor decisions, according to the Associated Press.

At the center of the protests was Russell’s decision to close the Jerzees de Honduras factory in Choloma, Honduras after workers there tried to unionize.  Russell insisted at the time that the closure was made for purely economic reasons, but many workers rights organizations attributed it to union busting.

Russell recently announced that it will reopen the factory and rehire 1,200 of the former workers. The company also says it will abide by collective bargaining agreements at all of its factories in Honduras.

Recent Georgetown alum and organizer for United Students Against Sweatshops Jack Mahoney (SFS ’08), told the AP, “This is huge. We’ve had a number of smaller victories, but this is the first time we know of that somebody has reversed a company’s decision.”

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