U Of Wisconsin, Adidas To Enter Mediation Over Indonesian Factory Workers Dispute

Thursday, February 16, 2012

UW-Madison will enter mediation with its exclusive athletics sponsor, Adidas, to resolve a dispute over the treatment of Indonesian factory workers, interim chancellor David Ward said Tuesday.

The approach is less draconian than one Ward indicated he might take earlier this month, when he said he may put Adidas "on notice" that it was in breach of a labor code of conduct. That would have given Adidas 90 days to address concerns over severance payments to overseas workers before the university would terminate its roughly $2.5 million contract with the company.

But in a statement Tuesday, he said mediation is "the most efficient and practical method" to remedy the situation for the workers.

At issue is whether the company is in breach of a code of conduct regarding the treatment of workers. A subcontractor abandoned the factory — which made collegiate apparel for Adidas — leaving 2,800 workers without $3.2 million in severance.

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