Licensees Terminate Delta Apparel For Refusal to Remedy Code Violations

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To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Scott Nova and Tara Mathur
Date:October 1, 2018
Re:Licensees Terminate Delta Apparel For Refusal to Remedy Code Violations

We reported to you this summer concerning the failure of Delta Apparel to remedy serious and ongoing violations of university labor standards at its factory, Delta Apparel Honduras. Subsequent to that report, and despite recent vigorous efforts by three university licensees that were sourcing from the facility, Delta has failed to make meaningful commitments to address outstanding violations at this factory.

As a result, and after consultation with the WRC, the licensees – VETTA (J. America), Lakeshirts, and MV Sport – have all independently ended their sourcing relationships with Delta Apparel. The WRC considers this action to be an appropriate and commendable response to the continued refusal of Delta to comply with the labor rights standards of the university community.

It is important to understand that the violations in question involve Delta’s failure to comply with the minimum standards of Honduran law and with the specific directives of the Honduran government authorities. Delta, for example, does not provide light duty work assignments for pregnant workers, as the law requires. It does not pay workers for all hours worked, as the law requires. It has not paid workers back wages that Honduran government authorities have repeatedly directed Delta to pay.

Surprisingly, Delta has recently argued that these outstanding violations of Honduran law, rather than simply being remedied by the company, should be the subject of negotiation with the factory’s union. In effect, Delta is proposing that it should only have to stop breaking the law if the union can entice it to do so.

Unsurprisingly, the factory workers’ union rightly rejects the proposition that minimum compliance with the law is something workers should have to negotiate with their employer. University codes also do not consider minimum compliance with local laws to be optional or negotiable for factories producing collegiate apparel. Delta’s proposal to make the question of whether or not it will comply with Honduran law a subject of negotiation is therefore not an acceptable resolution under university labor codes.

It is our hope that the licensees’ decisions to stop buying Delta’s products will cause the factory’s owners to recognize that producing university logo apparel requires respecting university labor standards, including the requirement to comply with local labor laws, and that Delta will therefore decide to remedy the violations of worker rights that remain outstanding at the Honduras facility.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

We will update you as warranted.

Scott Nova
Executive Director
Worker Rights Consortium

nova@workersrights.org