Our university has a long history of successful shared governance — something we hold in high regard as active members of the student community. Unfortunately, Interim Chancellor David Ward recently violated shared governance statutes in his failure to acknowledge students’ voices regarding our contract with Adidas.
As committee bylaws state, Chancellor Ward is required to follow the recommendations of the Labor Licensing Policy Committee (LLPC), or to explain in person to the Associated Students of Madison, the Faculty Senate and the Academic Staff Assembly why he chooses to disregard its advice. In the case of Adidas, Ward has since ignored three recommendations from the LLPC to put Adidas on notice for contract termination due to its failure to uphold labor codes of conduct.
Furthermore, Ward has failed to explain his choice to ignore the wishes of students and the LLPC. His choice to pursue mediation is not an adequate substitute for putting Adidas on notice. Under our contract, mediation practices and putting a company on notice are not mutually exclusive — which the administration is attempting to imply. Thus, we remind the Chancellor of the LLPC’s recommendation to put Adidas on notice immediately.
Ward’s disregard for shared governance has persisted over the course of several months, with full consideration of how this stalling affects the daily lives of workers of the PT Kizone, the Adidas subcontractor in Indonesia. Without the severance pay they are owed, local communities are devastated and families struggle to survive without the wages they have been owed for more than a year.
Students at the University of Wisconsin have no interest in doing business with a company that violates its contract and mistreats its workers, and we as students expect the Chancellor to acknowledge our voice in this matter. Adidas has clearly violated its contract with UW, and the next logical step is to put them on a 90 day notice, and ultimately cut the contract if they fail to remedy the situation.
We expect the Chancellor to uphold shared governance by putting Adidas on notice immediately.
Sarah Blaskey ([email protected]), member of the Student Labor Action Coalition.
Beth Huang ([email protected]), Chair of the ASM Shared Governance Committee.
Taylor Marx ([email protected]), member of the Student Labor Action Coalition.