Senate passes two sweatshop resolutions
By FINN PRESSLY
Assistant News Editor
The Student Senate unanimously adopted two measures last night to curb Notre Dame's involvement with the sweatshop industry.
Keough Hall senator Brian O'Donoghue began debate by explaining his committee's working definition of a sweatshop.
According to O'Donoghue, large companies purchase goods from manufacturers, who in turn receive their products from contractors.
"[A sweatshop] is a contractor who breaks basic human rights and workers rights laws," he said. Typical abuses include child labor, poor working conditions and unfair wages. He also mentioned certain instances of abuses against female workers.
"If they find a woman who is pregnant, they force her to have an abortion so that she can still work," he said.
The senate voted on two items: an open letter to the student body and an amendment to the Student Union constitution stating that the annual "Shirt" must be obtained from companies that meet the University's criteria for fair labor practices.
The letter calls for residence halls to be mindful of sweatshop offenders when purchasing dorm T-shirts. O'Donoghue acknowledged that for residence halls, this is an exceptionally difficult task.
"We have the printers that we choose, but we don't always know where [the shirts themselves] came from," he said.
Director of Student Activities Joe Cassidy agreed with O'Donoghue, stressing that printing companies obtain blank shirts from wherever they can, and sometimes this allows for sweatshop products to be introduced.
O'Donoghue commended the University for its work in eliminating sweatshop labor.
"This is by no means an attack on the University," he said. "The University is doing a darn good job on this issue."
All News Stories for Thursday, November 4, 1999