A group of University of Kentucky students from several different activist organizations along with local peace and justice organizations (including CKCPJ) joined together last Friday to protest UK's connection with VF Corporation.
Led by the UK Students Against Sweatshops, the group was protesting that UK had not yet broken ties with the VF Corporation, the largest branded apparel manufacturer in the world. VF Corporation has not signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza factory collapse of April 24th 2013. This tragedy two years ago killed over 1,134 garment workers -- mostly women and children -- due to poor working conditions. VF Corporation produces highly popular brands such as JanSport. Company officials insist they are supporting safety for workers who create their products, and they insist the corporation has signed with Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety instead of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
The rally on the two year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse was held in solidarity with the Bangladeshi garment workers who organized a global day of action to hold brands accountable for the safety of their workers. Two other companies, Children’s Place and Walmart, were producing at Rana Plaza the day of the collapse.
Students at the University of Louisville also supported the two-year anniversary with a protest at the Grawemeyer Building on their campus. See more at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cardsunitedagainstsweatshops
The protest at UK on Friday afternoon was cosponsored by: Ignite Lutheran Campus Ministry, UK Greenthumb, Central Kentucky Chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Workers League, the Bluegrass Central Labor Council, Teamsters Local Union 651, UK Young Democrats, Cards United Against Sweatshops, Lexington Working Families Campaign.
For more pictures of the UK protest, see Steve Pavey's Facebook photo album.