PRESS RELEASE | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 14, 2009 | Contact:? [email protected]
In a first for the fraternity/sorority community, members of the National Multicultural Greek Council (NMGC) recently voted to adopt a resolution that unifies fraternities and sororities against the exploitation of worker and human rights violations. The resolution, which asked the members of the council to agree to not do business with known sweatshop vendors and labor rights violators, was presented by member organization Phi Sigma Chi Multicultural Fraternity at the NMGC?s semi-annual meeting last weekend at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
“The NMGC has been working extremely hard over the past few years to redefine the NMGC into an organization that truly makes an impact on our surrounding communities,? said Denise Pipersburgh, NMGC president. ?The Human Rights Initiative demonstrates our commitment to empowering and strengthening individuals around the world.?Most fraternal organizations frequently order paraphernalia without thought. Our goal is to ensure that all fraternal organizations, not just NMGC members, truly think about how their?individual actions can?either continue to?support the horrifying labor and employment practices that demean and endanger others, or be an opportunity to stand up and express outrage that such practices persist. All it takes is one to make a change.”
The NMGC is the national umbrella council for multicultural fraternities and sororities with twelve member organizations which have collegiate chapters in twenty-two states. The NMGC?s member organizations include Delphic of Gamma Sigma Tau Fraternity, Delta Xi Phi Sorority, Delta Sigma Chi Sorority, Gamma Eta Sorority, Lambda Psi Delta Sorority, Lambda Tau Omega Sorority, Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Phi Sigma Chi Fraternity, Psi Sigma Phi Fraternity, and Omega Phi Chi Sorority.
?We are very pleased to see the Greek community stand together this way,? said Carlos Lopez, Phi Sigma Chi national president. ?By taking this stance the members of the council not only recognize their power to combat injustice, but are effectively using this power.?
Thousands of college and university undergraduate students join fraternities and sororities every year. As a result, thousands of fraternity and sorority paraphernalia are sold in this country yearly. For the most part, those purchasing goods have no idea where they come from or what it took to make them. At the same time there are numerous cases of apparel production workers being exploited at factories producing goods for American consumers, namely college students.
?These fraternities and sororities have chosen to use their spending power wisely,? stated Archer Hutchinson, who helped create Phi Sigma Chi Fraternity. ?The coalition is demanding that vendors treat their workers with respect and dignity or we will take our business elsewhere. It?s a bold and powerful stance that will surely help a lot of people.?
In addition to their agreement to never knowingly do business with labor rights violators, the fraternities and sororities that make up the NMGC agreed to use their collective strength to pressure labor violators to improvement conditions should any NMGC member organization discover human rights violations in connection with the production of their goods.
The NMGC has demonstrated that there is strength in numbers by taking a unified stance against worker exploitation. Strength that if focused can really make a different. Phi Sigma Chi plans to compile and publish a list of companies whose production facilities are regularly monitored by a private monitoring organization and uphold fair labor rights practices.
NMGC Human Rights Initiative Resolution
Keeping in mind the numerous cases of workers exploitation, in particular that of women and children, in developing countries around the world, as well as domestically;
Taking into consideration the current international economic crisis and the appeal of U.S. and foreign companies to make profit at the expense of human rights;
Considering the collective consumer power of Greek-letter organizations (GLOs) across this nation;
Noting the work already done by students to win back human rights for workers who produce collegiate apparel;
Acknowledging this council?s leadership and influential role in the GLO community;
Recognizing the commitment of the NMGC?s member organizations toward a more conscious and just multicultural world;
Remembering the NMGC?s Code of Ethics which reminds our members to treat others with respect and courtesy and its call for member organizations and their respective members to ?do their best to support unity, progress and growth in the multicultural fraternal community;?
Phi Sigma Chi hereby presents the following resolution for consideration to the member organizations of the National Multicultural Greek Council, to take effect immediately upon approval:
Be It Resolved, the member organizations of the National Multicultural Greek Council do hereby agree to not do business with or purchase apparel or other forms of goods or services bearing their fraternity?s or sorority?s letters, crests, name, or other identifying symbols from known sweatshop vendors or labor rights violators;
Be It Further Resolved; the NMGC?s member organizations agree to use the collective consumer power of the NMGC to pressure production violators to improve conditions for justly wronged workers where situations of human and labor rights violations have? been discovered in connection with? vendors doing business with a member organization of this council.