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									Students
   for
Economic
 Justice
New Member
 Handbook
  SEJ is a student organization working to support local,
  national, and international economic, labor rights, and
                    human rights issues.
   We are a chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops.




                  We meet every Tuesday
                     from 7:30-8:30pm
           in the 2nd floor lobby of the Union
                during the academic calendar



        Check out our website: www.msu.edu/~sej

     Our e-mail address is: usas_msu@hotmail.com



        E-mail us if you want to be on the list serv!




SEJ is not a hierarchical organization. We are all leaders and
  members and share the responsibility of organizing and
   tasks. Facilitators and notetakers rotate each meeting.




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Table of Contents

Mission ....................................................................................... 2
Current Campaigns .................................................................... 4
Information about United Students Against Sweatshops
(USAS), the organization with whom we are affiliated .............. 5
     Principles of Unity ............................................................. 5
     The Principles .................................................................... 6
Jargon/Abbreviations/Other Organizations ............................. 7
SEJ Timeline ............................................................................. 11
A Website To Help You Know More About the
     Companies Behind the Products You Buy ...................... 13
Local Groups We’re Proud to Support ..................................... 13




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Current Campaigns
      Anti-FTAA campaign- The FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas),
       is an agreement that would expand NAFTA (the North American Free
       Trade Agreement) to all 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere, except
       Cuba, affecting approximately 800 million people. Like NAFTA, the
       WTO, and other “free trade” agreements, the FTAA seeks to free
       corporations from government regulations which they say restrict “free
       market.” This means that if our elected representatives, from the federal
       government down to local city councils and boards of education, make
       laws that a foreign-owned company feels infringes on their “right” to
       make money, the company can sue for monetary damages and force us to
       change our laws. This includes laws governing our social institutions
       such as public education, health care, social security and environmental
       laws. SEJ is organizing transportation to Miami, Florida November 20-21
       to protest at the next FTAA ministerial. We will also work to educate the
       campus about the dangers of the FTAA by hosting the PoeTree speakers
       and by hosting a conference.
      Fair Trade campaign- 25 million coffee farmers and their families are
       facing hunger and starvation. Due to low coffee prices, farmers are
       unable to provide a decent livelihood for their families, and many are
       simply abandoning their land. Fair Trade enables farmers to receive a
       larger share of the profit on every pound of coffee they produce. The
       result is stronger farmers’ cooperatives, independence from exploitive
       middlemen, and more revenue for social development and environmental
       conservation programs. SEJ will work with The Real Food Group in
       getting fair trade coffee and other products on campus and in the
       surrounding community.
      Art Show- SEJ is organizing an art show focusing on social and
       economic justice at Kresge Art Museum in November!
      Educating the campus about economic justice, how to support local
       businesses, where to shop, etc.
      State News Protest- for their racist ads last year
      Research pending contracts of MSU union workers and what it will take
       to start a living wage campaign on campus
      Supporting the Graduate Employees Union (GEU)
      Supporting the other local activist groups and their activities through the
       Progressive Student Alliance and other means.

*We have an active Women’s Committee right now in SEJ. Talk to Rachel or
Melissa if you want more information.




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Information about United
Students Against Sweatshops
(USAS), the organization
with whom we are affiliated
United Students Against Sweatshops is an international student movement of
campuses and individual students fighting for sweatshop free labor conditions
and workers’ rights. We define “sweatshop” broadly and recognize that it is not
limited to the apparel industry, but everywhere among us. We believe that
university standards should be brought in line with those of its students who
demand that their school’s logo is emblazoned on clothing made in decent
working conditions. We have fought for these beliefs by demanding that our
universities adopt ethically and legally strong codes of conduct, full public
disclosure of company information and truly independent verification systems to
ensure that sweatshop conditions are not happening. Ultimately, we are using our
power as students to affect the larger industry that thrives in secrecy,
exploitation, and the power relations of a flawed system.

Principles of Unity
The principles of unity below have been drafted as an assessment of the spirit
and of the issues which bring students on campuses across North America
together to create a united youth front against sweatshops.

Hopefully, these principles touch on the underlying consciousness we are all
developing, within ourselves as individuals and within our collectives, whether
they are local, regional, national, or international.

The abuse of sweatshop labor is among the most blatant examples of the
excesses and exploitation of the global economy. We recognize, however, that
the term “sweatshop” is not limited to the apparel industry as traditionally
conceived; sweatshop conditions exist in the fields, in the prisons, on our
campuses, in the power relations of a flawed system.

Thus, we consider all struggles against the systemic problems of the global
economy to be directly or by analogy a struggle against sweatshops. Whether a
campus group focuses its energies on the apparel industry or on another form of
sweatshop, agreement with the principles below will be used as the sole requisite
for working under the name of United Students Against Sweatshops.




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The Principles
1. We work in solidarity with working people’s struggles. In order to best
     accomplish this and in recognition of the interconnections between local and
     global struggles, we strive to build relationships with other progressive
     movements and cooperate in coalition with other groups struggling for
     justice within all communities campus, local, regional, and international.
2. We struggle against racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other forms of
     oppression within our society, within our organizations, and within ourselves.
     Not only are we collectively confronting these prejudices as inherent defects
     of the global economy which creates sweatshops, but we also recognize the
     need for individuals to confront the prejudices they have internalized as the
     result of living and learning in a flawed and oppressive society.
3. We are working in coalition to build a grassroots student movement that
     challenges corporate power and that fights for economic justice. This
     coalition is loosely defined, thus we strive to act in coordination with one
     another to mobilize resources and build a national network while reserving
     the autonomy of individuals and campuses. We do not impose a single
     ideological position, practice, or approach; rather, we aim to support one
     another in a spirit of respect for difference, shared purpose and hope.
4. We strive to act democratically. With the understanding that we live and learn
     in a state of imperfect government, we attempt to achieve truer democracy in
     making decisions which affect our collective work. Furthermore, we strive to
     empower one another as individuals and as a collective through trust,
     patience, and an open spirit.
The power of these principles to unify us as United Students Against Sweatshops
ultimately rests with the individual. Self-evaluation and personal responsibility are
critical to the effectiveness of our work we all must continue to struggle as
individuals in order to struggle in concert, thus we strive for compassion and
support for one another as we continue this endeavor together.


The USAS website: www.usasnet.org
To join one of USAS’ many list servs:
http://www.usasnet.org/org/listservs.shtml




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Jargon/Abbreviations/Other
Organizations
AFL-CIO
     The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
     (AFLCIO)is the voluntary federation of America's unions, representing
     more than 13 million working women and men nationwide.
            www.aflcio.org

Behind The Label
      BehindTheLabel.org is a multimedia news magazine and on-line
      community covering the stories and people of the global clothing
      industry – the hidden stories of the millions of workers around the world
      who make our clothes, the people who care how their clothes are made
      and the multinational corporations behind the labels.
              www.behindthelabel.org

divestment
       discontinuing the investment (stock) in a certain company or
       organization

fair trade coffee
        Fair trade is a system which guarantees a fair wage for coffee farmers
        around the globe. Under Fair Trade Certified coffee, several middlemen
        are removed from the market chain between farmers and the consumer.
        Farmers can more than double their incomes, allowing them basic need
        such as education and health care for their families. They system is
        monitored by third-party institutions that verify the growers are getting
        their share.

FLA (Fair Labor Association)
      The organization that currently monitors sweatshops for Michigan State
      University. The FLA is criticized for the amount of power given to
      corporations in the organization, its lack of commitment to public
      disclosure and accountability, and its failure to include organizations
      representing apparel workers in its organizational structure and
      monitoring programs.

FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas)
     The FTAA will extend the North American Free Trade Agreement
     (NAFTA) to the entire hemisphere, and is to be implemented by no later
     than 2005. Negotiated behind closed doors, with no citizen input but
     plenty of suggestions from business interests.




                                                                               7
GEU (Graduate Employees Union)
     Members of the Graduate Employees Union are all graduate students at
     Michigan State University. Not all of us are technically titled
     "employees," although this is a distinction we are working out with the
     administration. We have our own academic responsibilities in courses,
     exams, theses and dissertations and we also teach classes, grade students'
     assignments, conduct research, and perform many of the duties which
     the university needs to function.
             www.msu.edu/~geu

Global Exchange
       Global Exchange is a human rights organization dedicated to promoting
       environmental, political, and social justice around the world. Since our
       founding in 1988, we have been striving to increase global awareness
       among the US public while building international partnerships around
       the world. Go to this website to learn more about the criticisms against
       the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, and the FTAA.
              www.globalexchange.org

IMC (Independent Media Center)
      The Independent Media Center is a network of collectively run media
      outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the
      truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to
      work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and
      unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.
              www.indymedia.org/

IMF (International Monetary Fund)
      Through loans, often to unelected governments, and "structural
      adjustment" policies, this institution has kept most nations of the global
      south in poverty. Their policies ensure open market access for
      corporations while cutting social spending on programs such as
      education, health care, and production credits for poor farmers.
             www.imf.org

Kukdong
     A former campaign. In January of 2001, approximately 600 workers
     were fired from the Kukdong plant in Atlixco, Mexico for attempting to
     start an independent union. The plant produces Nike sweatshirts for a
     number of USAS schools, and USASers pushed administrations and Nike
     to get the workers and organizers of Kukdong back to work. USAS has
     supported the efforts of the independent union to obtain recognition,
     and sent a delegation of approximately 20 students to Kukdong in March
     2001.

living wage
        a wage you can live from



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MIMC (Michigan Independent Media Center)
    The independent media center for Michigan.
           www.michiganimc.org/

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
    NAFTA was a radical experiment in rapid deregulation of trade and
    investment among the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. In effect since 1995,
    NAFTA is considered the symbol of the failed corporate globalization
    model because its results for most people in all three countries have been
    negative: real wages are lower, farm income is down and farm
    bankruptcies are up, environmental and health conditions along the U.S.-
    Mexico border have declined, and a series of environmental and other
    public interest standards have been attacked under NAFTA.

New Era
     A former campaign- Upon hearing allegations of workers' rights
     violations in the New Era factory of New York, a delegation of 6
     USASers traveled to Buffalo in March to investigate. The factory
     produces caps for several university, and has a history of anti-union
     practices. They now have a union and are in the process of signing a
     contract.

NLC (National Labor Committee)
     The National Labor Committee is an independent not-for-profit
     organization dedicated to promoting and defending human and worker
     rights in the global economy. The NLC exposes human and labor rights
     abuses committed by U.S. companies producing goods in poor countries
     and organizes campaigns to put an end to these abuses.
              www.nlcnet.org

public disclosure
       Companies that contract or subcontract with a factory to make their
       apparel, should publicly disclose the names and the locations of the
       factories that they are using. They usually disclose them on their website.

STITCH
     STITCH is a network of U.S. women working to support women's
     organizing for a just wage and fair treatment on the job in Central
     America. Our members are union organizers, unions members,
     community organizers, social workers, teachers, professors, students and
     other women and men who believe in international solidarity.
             www.afgj.org/stitch




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SOLE (Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality)
     SOLE is a student organization at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
     that campaigns for social and economic justice locally, nationally and
     internationally.
             www.umich.edu/~sole

UNITE (Union of Needletraders, Industrial, & Textile Employees)
    UNITE, the clothing workers’ union in the U.S. and Canada is
    aggressively organizing low-wage, immigrant, and industrial workers.
            www.uniteunion.org

World Bank
      Through loans, often to unelected governments, and "structural
      adjustment" policies, this institution has kept most nations of the global
      south in poverty. Their policies ensure open market access for
      corporations while cutting social spending on programs such as
      education, health care and production credits for poor farmers.
             www.worldbank.org

WRC (Worker Rights Consortium)
     Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is a non-profit organization created
     by college and university administrations, students and labor rights
     experts. The WRC's purpose is to assist in the enforcement of
     manufacturing Codes of Conduct adopted by colleges and universities;
     these Codes are designed to ensure that factories producing clothing and
     other goods bearing college and university names respect the basic rights
     of workers. There are more than 100 colleges and universities affiliated
     with the WRC.
             www.workersrights.org

WTO (World Trade Organization)
     Established in 1995, the WTO is a powerful new international body that
     develops and enforces rules for trade and investment. A global economy
     is being created where corporations have all the rights, governments have
     all the obligations, and democracy is left behind.
              www.wto.org




                                                                             10
SEJ Timeline
Spring 2000
       3/16 Meeting with McPherson urging him to drop the FLA and join the
            WRC
       4/13 World Bank/IMF Protests in D.C., protesting the exploitation of
            developing countries
       4/28 Rally at Demonstration Field, alternative to the World Band
            President   Wolfenson    speaking    at   the    undergraduate
            commencement

Fall 2000
       8/7 SEJ members meet Behind the Label tour in Ann Arbor
       9/9 Gap Protest with other USAS schools, promoting awareness,
            pressuring Gap to stop using sweatshop labor
       10/2 National Labor Committee Forum, 2 former Nicaraguan employees
            who were fired from a factory for trying to unionize spoke
       10/4 Kohl's protest at the Job Fair on campus, promoting awareness
            about factory in Nicaragua, pressuring Kohl's to stop using
            sweatshop labor
       11/15 Painted the rock to spread awareness of the anti-sweatshop
            movement
       11/27 Meeting with McPherson again urging him to drop the FLA and
            join the WRC

Spring 2001
       1/9 Nike discloses factory locations
       1/17 Nike/Kukdong protest at the Admin. Building asking the
            administration to call Nike and express their disapproval
       1/31 Jim Keady, the St. John's University coach who was forced to
            resign for refusing to wear Nike equipment, and Leslie Kretzu
            came to speak about visiting Mexico and their Olympic Living
            Wage Project
       2/5 Xicano Power Rally; Adam spoke about SEJ
       2/14 Crashed McPherson's reception after his State of the University
            address to apply public pressure to McPherson so he would join
            the WRC
       3/12 ASMSU passes a bill to support the WRC and drop the FLA
       3/22 Adam leaves for a week long delegation to Mexico to meet with
            striking workers
       3/27 Meeting with McPherson to urge him to join the WRC, also rallied
            to raise awareness of the meeting outside the Administration
            Building
       4/3 The undercover officer last spring in SEJ was exposed in the media
       4/4 SEJ Mock Fashion Show to highlight companies that use sweatshop
            labor
       4/11 SEJ attends AFL-CIO rally


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       4/12 Students and SEJ meet with ASMSU and police chief about
             infiltration
       4/13 McPherson admits he okayed the infiltration after telling us he
             didn't know anything about it the last time we met with him
       4/18 McPherson appoints panel for investigation of infiltration
       4/19 SEJ seeks legal action to get information from the police
       4/27 ACLU files request for information using
       5/14 Student representative appointed to investigative panel after
             McPherson criticized for not having a student representative
       July- ACLU files another request for information, police didn't give them
             anything significant either time

Fall 2001
       8/22 Gap Protest, protested the Gap's fashion show to raise awareness
            about their use of sweatshop labor, pressure Gap to stop using
            sweatshop labor
       8/24 Report on police infiltration released by panel, said it shouldn't have
            happened but did not create a way for it not to happen again
       9/12 anti-war protests urging our country to respond peacefully in the
            wake of terrorist attacks

Spring 2002
       Growth Training
       2/12 Passed out fliers creating awareness of the New Era campaign at
             McPherson's State of the University address
       2/28 Meeting with McPherson urging him to join the WRC and write a
             letter to New Era telling them that we are aware of the allegations
             that they are using sweatshop labor and that we will consider that
             when we renew our contract in December (he wrote the letter)
       3/15 Rally at the Capitol to support the Michigan State AFL-CIO in
             demanding an increase in unemployment benefits
       March SEJ met with the GEU and Direct Action to plan future action
       4/5 Screaming at the Wall Demonstration to raise awareness about the
             WRC, the rightful demands of the GEU, and to urge the
             administration to listen to us for once
       April- Undergraduates supporting the GEU signed hundreds of rocks
             that we dumped in McPherson's office to show that we think that
             they are "stonewalling" the GEU

We also table, chalk, and show films regularly.




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A Website To Help You Know
More About the Companies
Behind the Products You Buy
       www.responsibleshopper.org

Responsible shopper investigates hundreds of companies on a range of issues –
sweatshops, pollution, family friendliness, ethics, and more.


Local Groups We’re Proud to
Support
       Alliance of LBGT Students
               www.msu.edu/~alliance
       American Civil Liberties Union
               www.aclu.org
       Black Student Alliance
       Chicano Development Center
       Clerical Technical Union
               www.msu.edu/~ctumsu
       Council for Students with Disabilities
       Direct Action!
               www.direct-action.net
       Eco www.msu.edu/~eco
       Graduate Employees Union (GEU)
               www.msu.edu/~geu
       Real Food Group (The)
       Students for a Free Tibet
               msutibet@hotmail.com
       Students for Peace and Justice
       Students for a Positive Social Change (@ L.C.C.)
       Students for Palestinian Human Rights
               www.msu.edu/~Palestine
       Womyn’s Council
               msuwomen@msu.edu




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