SCALE hosts vigil for workers

first_imgThe Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation members held a candlelight vigil to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory fire collapse in Bangladesh on Wednesday night.The vigil began at the University Religious Center, where students read testimonies from people who had been affected by dangerous factory conditions in Bangladesh. Attendees were given a flower and a candle, and the ceremony was followed by a processional to Bovard Auditorium, where attendees were asked to sign a piece of a document in support of better factory conditions in Bangladesh.No sweat · Sean McGuire, a senior majoring in international relations and economics, leads a non-denominational prayer for factory workers suffering in sweatshop factories.Chris Roman | Daily TrojanOne by one, students taped written messages to a trifold and left the candles and flowers for the administration to see in the morning. The ceremony concluded with a performance by Overflow, an a capella group on campus, that showed support for the cause.SCALE had between 30 and 40 members who attended the vigil, which comprised of 50 attendees in total. This was the first time SCALE has had a vigil that left something tangible at Bovard Auditorium for President C. L. Max Nikias and the administration to see in the morning.“The thought process behind organizing this event was really to spread awareness, to ask refugees to take measures in order to make sure that the workers who make the apparel are being treated fairly and safely,” said Julia Wang, a senior majoring in neuroscience.The event was also held in an attempt to convince USC to put an end to “deathtrap” conditions in the university apparel supply chain.“Last year, USC signed on to the Worker Rights Consortium, which was a huge step forward in cleaning up USC’s supply chain,” Wang said.The Worker Rights Consortium is a group that monitors universities’ apparel factories worldwide, said Chanelle Yang, a junior majoring in policy, planning and development.SCALE is still trying to convince USC to require Bangladeshi factories producing Trojan apparel to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety contract.“It’s a legally-binding contract that says that factories producing [USC] apparel are held accountable for the safety violations that occur,” Yang said.“I heard about the factory fires that were happening in Bangladesh and I realized that our university apparel was made in very similar conditions to these deathtraps,” Wang said.Wang cited this as one of the reasons she wanted to take action and join SCALE.Wang and many other members of SCALE view these factory workers as members of the Trojan Family, since they are essentially working for USC by assembling USC apparel. Because of this, SCALE members felt that taking initiative was necessary. It has also served to make SCALE members feel closer to the people in Bangladesh.“I actually went to Bangladesh over the summer and I was able to talk to survivors and victims and family members,” Wang said. “Hearing their stories about how they’re affected on an everyday basis by Western brands and practices is heartbreaking.”Through candlelight vigils such as this, as well as other events, SCALE hopes to continue to raise awareness for their cause and gain more support. “Seeing the impact that students can have on very real issues like this really made me want to join SCALE,” said Sarah Newell, a junior majoring in business administration and sociology. “Being able to use my leverage as a student at this university to make changes to the things that USC does has been an incredibly empowering experience.”SCALE holds weekly meetings on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in the Social Sciences Building. This Saturday, they will hold an activist boot camp, a skills training event meant to teach members how to run campaigns successfully and mobilize people on issues to build change. SCALE also does regular worker meet-and-greets with workers at USC to make sure that USC’s workers are supported and treated well.last_img read more

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