York Students Win No-Sweatshop Commitment with 45-Hour Sit-In

    Students' Victory Marks International Women's Day

    TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - This morning, York University President Mamdouh
Shoukri met with students who had been holding a sit-in outside of his office
since 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. Shoukri committed to introduce a no-sweatshop
policy for York University by April 2008.
    "The policy will be at least as progressive as U of T's and other
universities', if not more," said Mamdouh Shoukri, President of York
University. "If other universities have had this policy and withstood the test
of time, I don't see why we can't do it too."
    The York University president's commitment is the result of a 45 hour
sit-in by members of the York Sustainable Purchasing Coalition and their
supporters. The Coalition is a student group that has been lobbying York
University for a no-sweatshop policy for the past three years.
    "We are exhausted but pleased with this commitment," said Terrance
Luscombe, a York University student and member of the Sustainable Purchasing
Coalition. "York students don't want our university to condone the use of
sweatshop labour and we don't understand why it took so long for university
administrators to join the 21st Century and make this simple commitment."
    The Sustainable Purchasing Coalition held a rally Thursday asking the
university to adopt students' proposed 'no-sweat' policy. Immediately
following the rally, the students attempted to deliver a petition containing
more than 1,000 signatures in support of a no-sweatshop policy to President
Shoukri. When they were told the president was unavailable to see them, the
students decided to stay. The sit-in continued with students camping out for
two nights.
    "This is an excellent way to mark the 100th anniversary of International
Women's Day," said Kelly Holloway, President of the York University Graduate
Students' Association. "Unfortunately millions of workers around the world,
and even in North America, are still paid appallingly low wages and denied
basic workplace rights. We look forward to seeing York's no-sweatshop policy
in place by next month."
    International Women's Day commemorates the efforts of 15,000 immigrant
women garment workers who demonstrated on the streets of New York City in 1908
to demand fair pay, shorter work hours, an end to child labour and the right
to vote.
    A second meeting between representatives of the Sustainable Purchasing
Coalition and the president of York University will take place on Monday.

For further information:

For further information: Terrance Luscombe, York Sustainable Purchasing
Coalition, (647) 834-3899; or Kelly Holloway, President, York University
Graduate Students' Association, (647) 886-0729

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York University Graduate Students' Association

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