Cut Russell contract

The University has already been slow to respond to the company’s unacceptable union-quashing.

The University of Minnesota contract to manufacture its official apparel should be taken away from Russell Athletic Corporation. The workersâÄô rights scandal that has evolved in recent months with Russell Athletic is appalling and the University should not do business with corporations that do not permit their workers to associate and organize. The University is obligated to respond to these allegations in an adequate and timely manner âÄî a task at which it has already failed. Other universities, including Cornell, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Miami, Houston, Colombia and Purdue have terminated their contracts with Russell in response to the allegations. University of Minnesota officials said they are waiting to get an official reply from Russell in response to the allegations and will deliberate on the matter this week. Allowing the company to respond is a fair move, but itâÄôs also a late one. Russell closed the plant in October and some universities, like the University of Miami, cut their contracts as early as December. Apathy, oversight, or carelessness may explain the UniversityâÄôs sluggish response âÄî but none of those are acceptable excuses. The closing of the Russell factory plant in Honduras, after 750 workers attempted to form a union, exemplified the corporationâÄôs failure to adhere to workersâÄô rights. In response to their efforts to organize, the workers were threatened and intimidated. The right to organize is indeed a basic social freedom. Workers should have the ability to negotiate and any corporation that does not support that right should be out of business, especially if that business relies on institutions of higher education.