Bringing potential closure to a labor conflict spanning more than two years, University of Wisconsin Interim Chancellor David Ward released a statement Tuesday saying an agreement has been reached between Adidas and a union representing workers from an Indonesian factory.
The agreement reached between the Adidas Corporation and the PT Kizone workers comes as the latest development in reaction to a situation where 2,700 former workers were denied $1.8 million in legally mandated severance pay after the Indonesian factory closed in 2011.
This led to a months-long mediation period between UW and Adidas, before the UW System Board of Regents filed a lawsuit against the company last July.
Ward said in the statement the university learned from the Workers’ Rights Consortium Tuesday that an agreement was reached to benefit both concerned parties.
“It has been a long road and not everyone has agreed at every step of the way,” Ward said in the statement. “But what matters the most was the deliberative process and engagement with our licensee, community members and shared governance.”
Ward’s comments reflect the feeling of a lot of people who wanted a resolution to come quickly, according to Vice Chancellor of University Communications Vince Sweeney. He said he thinks the chancellor is pleased the process the university has outlined and followed has a good ending.
Not knowing the details of the settlement, Sweeney said if the reports are accurate and both parties are pleased with the end result, then the university will be pleased as well.
The settlement reached between the union representing the PT Kizone workers and Adidas is based on terms that are favorable for both parties, according to Student Labor Action Coalition Chair Lingran Kong.
A joint statement on behalf of the worker’s union and Adidas to be released later this week will provide further details on the settlement, according to United Students Against Sweatshops Chair Garrett Strain.
Kong said she would describe Tuesday as a “huge historic victory for students and workers across the globe.”
Strain said students are very pleased the international “Badidas” campaign compelled Adidas to do the right thing and bring the PT Kizone workers long-awaited justice.
“This resolution came about in large part because students across the country forced their university to sever ties with Adidas, which put necessary economic pressure on the brand to pay up,” Strain said.
Over the course of the past year, 15 universities have cut contracts with Adidas, according to Kong. She said this speaks for itself that Adidas admits now that they have been in the wrong and goes to show that if students and workers work together, they can make real change.
Ward said in the statement the university is thankful for the “patience and resolve” of the UW community and efforts on behalf of students, faculty and staff involved.
Without any further details of the settlement and its terms of conditions, Sweeney said it is premature for the university to speculate any further implications it will have for the university. With whatever details the settlement will hold, Sweeney said the university does not yet know what impact it could have on its current case with Adidas.