By Lucas Logsdon–
At noon last Tuesday, Cards United Against Sweatshops congregated at U of L’s clock tower to do a banner drop, protesting the University of Louisville’s contract with the Vanity Fair Corporation.
The VF Corporation is an $11 billion apparel and footwear company. Almost 30 companies fall under the corporation’s umbrella, including The North Face, Vans, Nautica and JanSport.
Heads of CUAS, Rebecca Peek and James El-Mallakh, organized the event.
“The message is pretty clear. The banner looks like a Valentine, and says ‘To President James Ramsey, have a heart, cut with Vanity Fair, love Cards United Against Sweatshops,’ and that’s our whole campaign that we’re doing,” Peek said.
The campaign is part of a nationwide campaign by United Students Against Sweatshops, known as North Face Death Traps, to get universities to cut contracts with VF Corporation until they can ensure worker safety at the garment factories with which they contract.
“What we are trying to do is get the University of Louisville to cut their contract with the Vanity Fair Corporation,” said Peek. “About two years ago in April, the Rana Plaza collapse happened in Bangladesh, and thousands of workers died. After that happened, students pressured corporations to sign onto what is called the Bangladeshi Accord on Fire and Safety. Basically they had to agree to update their building standards to provide for fire safety and update so these collapses wouldn’t happen again.”
Unable to contact President Ramsey’s office, Peek said, “We haven’t gotten any response from him at all, we send personal letters, called letter drops requesting meetings, we send emails and we haven’t had any response.” Peek noted the group had met with Provost Shirley Willihnganz twice.