Sweatshop Rallies Claim Success

Protests on campuses across the country demanded that Russell Athletic rehire 1,200 Honduran workers.

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After employees at a Russell Athletic plant in Honduras unionized, the sports apparel company shut the plant down, putting 1,200 Hondurans out of work. The chain of events sparked protests on college campuses across the country, where students demanded that Russell rehire the workers.

Yesterday, Russell agreed to bring the Honduran employees back, the New York Times reports. Protesters had persuaded more than 90 universities to "sever or suspend" licensing agreements with Russell, the report says. The students also picketed the NBA finals, distributed fliers inside Sports Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods stores, and even showed up at Warren Buffett's house, the Times reports.

Russell's decision to bring back the workers after the protests signaled a huge victory for the campaign, which was spearheaded by United Students Against Sweatshops.

"It's a very important breakthrough," Mel Tenen, who oversees licensing agreements for the University of Miami, the first school to sever ties with Russell, tells the Times. "It's not often that a major licensee will take such a necessary and drastic step to correct the injustices that affected its workers. This paves the way for us to seriously consider reopening our agreement with Russell."

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