Update: Breakthrough at Trax Apparel (Cambodia)

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Ben Hensler, Bent Gehrt, and Scott Nova
Date:February 17, 2023
Re:Update: Breakthrough at Trax Apparel (Cambodia)

Over the last week, the WRC has been in close communication with adidas regarding Trax Apparel. As you know, the WRC determined, in a report issued to schools last fall, that Trax must reinstate and provide full back pay to worker leaders it fired in 2020, in order to comply with university labor standards.

We are glad to report that Trax Apparel has now committed to offer rehiring, immediately and unconditionally, to the four worker leaders in question. Trax will also provide full back pay to all eight of the worker leaders who were fired in June 2020. From our most recent communications with adidas, we understand that formal written offers of rehiring will be sent next week and that back pay will be issued in the same timeframe. When this happens, the university code violations at Trax will be fully remedied.

We congratulate the workers who now will be returning to the factory. They have been extraordinarily persistent and determined in seeing their rights vindicated. It took much too long to secure their return, but what matters most now is that they are returning and are being made whole for the wages they lost. As always, in a case where leaders who spoke out for better conditions have been excluded from the workplace, their return carries importance not just for them, but for the whole workforce.

Notwithstanding our prior disagreements with adidas over its response to our findings, we appreciate the company’s efforts in recent days, which led Trax to make these commitments. It is notable that the back pay workers will receive is one of the largest amounts, on a per-worker basis, ever achieved in a reinstatement case at a collegiate facility.

A substantial number of universities engaged with adidas on this case. That engagement was crucial in making this positive outcome possible.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.