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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, May 20, 2024

Letters to the Editor

Chancellor helped union win recognition

We are writing to commend the Chancellor's Office for its proactive stance in recent anti-sweatshop developments. Special Assistant to the Chancellor LaMarr Billups agreed to write a letter to the contractors through which UW-Madison gets its licensed apparel urging them to subcontract to Mexmode. Mexmode, formerly Kukdong, is a maquiladora, or assembly factory, in Atlixco, Mexico, that produces apparel for colleges in the United States through Nike and Reebok. Fed up with their poor working conditions, including worm-infested food at the cafeteria, workers at the factory walked off their jobs and staged a sit-in last January. Several workers were fired. Students and consumers across the United States held protests and boycotts against Nike while the Workers Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring group of which UW-Madison is a member, sent investigators, including a student from UW-Madison, to the factory.  




All of this hard work across the borders has been fruitful, resulting in the independent union being recognized by management and workers being rehired. Conditions have improved, including food that is safe for human consumption, increased wages and ceasing child labor. For the first time, in the maquilas of the apparel industry, an independent union has signed a contract with a company, making this a very significant event in the movement to clean up Bucky Badger and the struggle world-wide for workers' rights. (For further information refer to the Oct. 8 New York Times article or the reports at The first contract for an independent union is a significant step in improving conditions for workers producing apparel, and we applaud the Chancellor's Office for their support of the movement and the workers at Mexmode. 






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Segregated fees aid in maintaining free speech

I am extremely happy to see that The Daily Cardinal is taking an active approach to educate students on campus about our student fee system ('Seg-fee system sets UW apart from other schools,' Oct. 17). However, I feel that with all the talk about Purdue University's corporate sponsorship of campus organizations, it is important to address that student organizations should be independent of special interests in order to continue free speech. Seg fees allow the campus community to be an open forum for ideas and debate. This goes right along with the educational mission of the university: Students learn outside as well as inside the classroom. 




Many organizations and viewpoints would not be present on this campus if it weren't for our fee system. You may not agree with every campus organization, and that's OK. However, the beauty of our system is that you can start your own registered student organization (with a minimum of three people) to educate the campus on your viewpoint and then receive funding. 




Madison is a great place to be. We have a great educational system, fun things to do, tasty places to eat and a melting pot of ideas and viewpoints. We must continue to protect our right to free speech and democracy on this campus by supporting student seg fees. 




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