Friday, January 7, 2000
Mary Spletter (510) 987-9004


University of California President Richard C. Atkinson has issued a strengthened Code of Conduct for companies that manufacture clothing and other products bearing the UC name, logos or other trademarks.

The code requires licensees and their contractors to pay a living wage, to comply with environmental and health and safety laws, and to not discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy or collective bargaining activity. All new licensees will be required to adhere to the code.

The code specifically requires employers to recognize the right of employees to bargain collectively with representatives of their own choosing and prohibits the involuntary use of contraceptives and pregnancy testing.

Under the new code, all names and addresses of the licensees' contractors and manufacturing plants will be made public.

The code is effective immediately and replaces the first UC Code of Conduct for Trademark Licensees that went into effect in August 1998. Companies with existing UC agreements will be required to adhere to the strengthened code upon renewal of their continuing business agreements with UC.

"UC was one of the first universities in the country to adopt a Code of Conduct and one of the few to actually incorporate its code in its license agreements. Now I am pleased that UC has one of the strongest codes in support of humane labor standards," Atkinson said.

In a letter to chancellors of the 10 UC campuses, Atkinson said the code grew out of the national movement to monitor the labor practices of multinational corporations that subcontract with domestic and foreign manufactures to produce apparel bearing collegiate logos and trademarks.

"The concern is that sweatshops exist that violate humane labor standards. From the start, the university has taken a strong position against unethical and inhumane work standards," he said.

In addition to adopting its own strengthened code, the University of California has joined Harvard University and other institutions in a study designed to gather information on conditions in factories that manufacture products bearing their logos. Findings are expected in several months.

After UC introduced its first Code of Conduct in 1998, students and faculty members discussed and debated wording that would make it stronger. In response, the university proposed changes to the code and also formed an advisory group of students, faculty and campus administrators to review the code further and forward its recommendations to UC Senior Vice President V. Wayne Kennedy.

The advisory group concluded its work in August 1999, and the code was sent to the campuses for final review.

"The resulting document represents significant progress for students, faculty and the university," Kennedy said.

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The web address for the new UC Code of Conduct is: