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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Cornell University drops adidas for violating workers' rights

Cornell University announced last Thursday it will cut business ties with adidas, a company the University of Wisconsin-Madison has recently had to consider its own relationship with.

In a letter to the company Thursday, Cornell University President David Skorton said the university will stop doing business with adidas effective Oct. 1.

Skorton called the apparel industry’s approach to workers’ rights “a critical issue that demands immediate attention.”

According to members of the UW-Madison’s Labor Licensing Policy Committee, adidas violated the contract it holds with UW-Madison by not giving workers severance pay when a factory affiliated with the company closed.

“Cornell’s decision [reinforces] that adidas has violated its contract with our university and that we should not be doing business with companies who refuse to pay their workers,” Lingran Kong, a member of the Student Labor Action Coalition and the LLPC, said.

Kong added the LLPC has voted multiple times in favor of UW-Madison ending its business relationship with adidas.

The university is currently in a lawsuit with adidas to determine where the obligation to pay the workers lies.

Vice Chancellor for University Relations Vince Sweeney told The Daily Cardinal in July the university can take no further action until the court has made a decision.

Other universities had seen UW-Madison as a leader in the nationwide consideration of adidas, according to Kong.

She also mentioned students at a number of other universities around the country, including University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Washington-Seattle, have been taking the issue to the presidents of their university.

“I definitely think [the student component] was the driving force behind the decision,” Kong said.

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