City Council Votes Unanimously On Tuesday For A Sweatfree Ashland
The good folks at Sweatfree Northwest have another victory in the anti-sweatshop movement. We have previously reported on their good work. I worked in many sweatshops and had family who did the same. Several years ago I was part of a determined effort at Oregon State University to organize against sweatshops and for a University policy which, we hoped, would have effectively banned sweatshop-produced goods bearing the OSU label from campus. OSU administration buried the report on the issue because it didn't go their way and the push we were making ended. Now there is a well-established group in our area who will do better. What follows comes from a just-out e-mail marking the latest victory in Ashland.
Oregon is seeing the second sweatshop free victory in the past few months! Last night the city of Ashland passed a sweatshop free purchasing policy for public employee uniforms and garments. A strong sweatfree movement is building in the NW as Portland just passed their sweatshop free procurement policy on Oct 15th.
All Ashland councilors voted "Yes" in support of "A RESOLUTION FOR A SWEATSHOP FREE PROCUREMENT POLICY" which is for the uniforms and garments the city purchases with public dollars.
You can watch the debate and the vote by the Ashland City Council on streaming video at http://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=745. Go to the December 16, 2008 meeting link.
The Ashland Sweatfree Campaign ad-hoc committee is comprised of the following Ashland residents: Brenda Gould, Jason Houk, Rich Rohde, Steve Ryan, Pam Vavra, Wes Brain and Councilor Eric Navickas.
The Ashland Sweatfree Campaign has been a project of Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice (SOJwJ). Working in collaboration with SOJwJ has been "Sweatfree Northwest" and the campaign has included lobby visits with Mayor John Morrison and with individual city councilors. In addition it has been a community education campaign with the recent screening of the Emmy award winning documentary "Made In LA". The film was shown at Southern Oregon University which had as co-sponsors & campus hosts the Women's Studies Program and the Women's Resource Center. Read the "Made In LA" story here.
City of Ashland staff now have six months to come up with the policies and procedures to insure a "no sweatshop procurement policy" and bring it back to City Council. The city currently spends $80,000 a year for uniform and garment purchases according to City Administrator Martha Bennett. Bennett did say during the council meeting that Ashland would rely heavily on the ordinance developed and adopted October '08 in Portland Oregon.
You can learn about the Portland ordinance here.
The Rogue IMC is awaiting from the Ashland City Recorder the exact wording of the resolution passed and will provide it just as soon as it is received. To read more go to IMC webpage here.