Corrective Action for University Code Compliance—in Bangladesh and in LA

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Manodeep Guha, Tara Mathur, and Ben Hensler
Date:August 31, 2022
Re:Corrective Action for University Code Compliance—in Bangladesh and in LA

This update is to inform you of the recent successful completion of corrective actions for university code of conduct violations in two separate cases we have previously reported on, by a factory in Bangladesh and by a licensee in Los Angeles.

Posmi Sweaters Ltd. (Bangladesh)
On June 30, Posmi Sweaters Ltd., a factory in Bangladesh, completed distribution of a final installment of back wages due to its workers. Posmi previously manufactured collegiate goods for the licensee, Accolade Group, and has made noncollegiate apparel for several leading European brands, including Primark (Ireland, UK), El Corte Inglés (Spain), and Kiabi (France). 
Through the June 2022 distribution, 29 former workers from the factory each received an average of US$545, about five months’ wages. The payments were based on calculations approved by the WRC and the distribution coordinated and monitored by a WRC representative.

This final payment completed a process of continuing engagement by the WRC with Posmi since 2020, after a WRC investigation found the factory had underpaid a group of 91 employees for overtime work. Posmi and the WRC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) where Posmi agreed to provide back pay to the 91 affected employees to remedy this noncompliance. 
Posmi Sweaters made previous payments in 2020 and 2021 to the other affected workers in the group, with the final payment made in June 2022 to the remaining 29 former employees. With this, Posmi has fulfilled their commitments made in the MOU, thereby remedying the violations of Bangladeshi labor law and university and buyer codes of conduct.

Posmi workers after receiving their back wages on June 30, 2022

Hype & Vice (Los Angeles)
Earlier this month, the licensee, Hype & Vice, also completed remediation commitments it has made concerning wage violations by a former collegiate goods supplier, Pure Cotton, a garment contractor in downtown Los Angeles. As we reported at the time, state inspectors had cited Pure Cotton and its subcontractors for minimum wage violations (which were also violations of university codes of conduct) and ordered fines that were payable to their workers.

Because there was no prospect that the factories, which meanwhile had closed, would pay the fines, Hype & Vice, to its credit, committed to the WRC that it would pay the workers, itself—and, if the workers could not be located (which, unfortunately, turned out to be the case), to contribute the funds to a local nonprofit supporting garment workers in LA. On August 17, Hype & Vice made the final installment of these contributions to the LA-based Garment Worker Center, which has informed the WRC that the funds will be used for emergency assistance with basic living expenses for local garment workers whose families are in need.

The WRC commends both Posmi and Hype & Vice for completing the corrective actions they agreed to take to remedy violations of university and buyer codes of conduct identified by the WRC.

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.