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CAUT Bulletin Archives

August 2002

McMaster Goes No Sweat

Products carrying the McMaster University name or logo must meet labour standards set out in a new code of conduct unveiled by the university in July. McMaster's No Sweat policy requires apparel suppliers and licensees to abide by international labour standards and local labour laws, and to report annually on their progress towards compliance with these standards. Suppliers and licensees must also publicly disclose the names and addresses of all factories involved in the manufacture of McMaster products. The "Code of Labour Practices for University Suppliers and Licensees" was developed over a two-year period by administrators, staff and students, in cooperation with the Ethical Trading Action Group coalition and the Maquila Solidarity Network. The university has also affiliated with the Washington-based Workers' Rights Consortium, which collects information about working conditions at factories and investigates reports of labour rights violations. McMaster's recent contract with Nike Canada will be the first test for the code. This would be the first time Nike has been asked to publicly disclose factory locations as a condition of doing business with a Canadian institution. McMaster is the eighth Canadian university to implement a No Sweat policy, joining Alberta, Dalhousie, Guelph, Laurentian, Toronto, Waterloo, and Western Ontario.