Friday, May 29, 2009

Students call on NBA to End $125M Deal with Russell Corporation over Worker Rights Violations

Today United Students Against Sweatshops sent its second letter to Commissioner David Stern, urging the NBA to end its $125 million deal with serial worker rights abuser Russell Corporation. Here's the text of that letter:

Dear Mr. Stern,

We write on behalf of United Students Against Sweatshops to reiterate our call for the NBA to immediately terminate its deal with today's most notorious sweatshop employer, Russell Corporation.

We are appalled that the NBA continues to hold the "Biggest Equipment Deal in Sports" with Russell. The deal includes Spalding basketballs, Huffy Sports backboards and other sporting equipment by Bike and American Athletic. Every year, the deal means millions in sales for Russell. We are also aware that Russell Athletic is the NBA's official institutional uniform provider.

We urge you to join NCAA Men's champions North Carolina, Final 4 contenders Connecticut and Villanova, and nearly 50 other major universities who have terminated their licensing contracts and stopped doing all business with Russell Corporation.

As we communicated in our letter dated April 9, Russell Corporation has egregiously and persistently violated workers' rights, as protected by domestic and international law, at its Honduran factories. These violations have been documented by credible labor rights monitoring organizations such as the Worker Rights Consortium and by International Labour Organization expert Adrian Goldin.

Despite being alerted to this issue nearly two months ago, to our knowledge the NBA has taken no meaningful action on this matter. We are left to believe that the NBA has no qualms about holding an enormous deal with a corporation that brazenly tramples the rights of its hard working employees. We hope you will prove us wrong, and terminate the NBA’s deal with Russell Corporation immediately.

We would like to arrange an in-person meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss the concerns outlined here. We look forward to the NBA taking action on this vital issue. We can be reached by telephone at 202-NO-SWEAT (202-667-9328).


Rod Palmquist
International Campaigns Coordinator
United Students Against Sweatshops

Jack Mahoney
Strategic Campaigns
United Students Against Sweatshops

CC: Adam Silver, Deputy Commissioner and COO
CC: Heidi J. Ueberroth, President, Global Marketing Partnerships
CC: Robert Criqui, Executive Vice President of Finance
CC: Joel M. Litvin, President of League & Basketball Operations
CC: Charlie R Cameron, Chief Executive Officer