March 2009
Sweatshop workers help end contract
by Tamara Conrad
at Russell.
because that would hurt the company,”
right, the factory
Wrapped in new
Bovado said.
owners shut down
Honduran sweatshop workers touring the
winter coats, the
Brands are putting pressure on factories
the factory entirely
country, years of protest plus a week of
two factory workers
for production, and the burden of meeting
rather than negotiat-
antics on campus appear to have finally
stood nervously in
these demands rests on the shoulders of fac-
ing with workers.
reached the Penn State administration,
front of the
tory workers, both workers said.
“Many employ-
which late last month announced it was can-
people gathered in a
The company increased quotas and
ees couldn’t contain
celing its contract with Russell Athletics
university lecture
demanded production of different clothing
their tears the day
after two investigations found the company
hall to tell their
styles, Castellano said. She said workers
the factory closed,”
had shuttered its Honduran factory because
story through an
were pressured to come in early, cut lunch-
Castellano said.
workers had formed a union.
es, and work overtime without pay.
Bovado works to
Norma Castellano
Moises Bovado
Two of those workers were in State
“People gave up lunches and took only 15
feed and support his
College just days after they and 1,800 of
later, smiling and pulling her coat tighter,
minute breaks to meet quotas,” Castellano
wife, daughter, mother, and sister.
their co-workers were thrown out of work.
that this was the first time she had ever seen
said. “In order to keep their job, workers are
Castellano’s takes care of her two children,
Moises Bovado and Norma Castellano,
making these sacrifices,” she said.
husband, aunt, and mother.
along with thousands of others, were
Their factory had shut down Jan. 30, just
The factory produces 1,200 items per day,
“Eighteen hundred jobs lost means 1,800
responsible for making collegiate apparel
three days earlier, after the union asked for
Castellano said.
families without food,” Bovado said.
for the Jerzees de Honduras factory operat-
a minor wage increase in reaction to the
When the government announced mini-
ed by Russell Athletic. They were responsi-
increased production demands imposed by
mum wage, assembly workers were exclud-
After the closing
ble for producing the Penn State sweat-
the factory. Workers were making $40 per
ed, Bovado said.
Bovado also said, contrary to the practice
pants, T-shirts, sweatshirts and other Penn
week on fixed salary and $60 per week
“The government is supporting business-
in the United States, when Hondurans lose
State apparel students and fans wear to foot-
based on production, Bovado said.
men and not workers,” Bovado said.
their jobs they receive no government assis-
ball games and throughout campus.
“What you spend for one of those items
With 4 million people unemployed in
Bovado and Castellano are the president
[we made] is one week’s pay,” Castellano
Honduras, workers are desperate for jobs,
The factory’s closure has resulted in
and vice president, respectively, of
but they don’t appreciate being exploited
Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Empresa
“We decided to ask for a wage increase
and taken for granted. Although creating a
Jerzees de Honduras, the employees’ union
rather than a decrease in production rate
union and demanding fair pay is a human
see Workers , pg. 18
Women leaders take on secretary of state role
by Lindsay Chew
White House staff member from 1978 to
ing the nuclear threat in Russia.
North Korea according to a report published
Albright was an advocate for human
by the U.S. Department of State. This
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
In 1993, Albright became the Permanent
rights and democracy. She promoted the
marked Rice’s tone through her entire
returned from her first mission abroad in
Representative of the United States to the
expansion of democracy within Europe,
February, and the most notable “first” of her
United Nations. Four years later Albright
Africa, Asia and Latin America which she
Rice also took a run at peace talks
trip was that she chose Asia.
found her political calling in President Bill
highlighted in her secretary of state address
between Israel and Palestinian. Though the
It is no longer news that the secretary of
Clinton’s cabinet as the first female secre-
at the Sept.
2000 United Nations
Bush administration was frequently criti-
state is a woman, a glass ceiling broken in
tary of state, the highest ranking woman in
General Assembly.
cized for its lack of attention to that region,
1997 by Madeleine Korbel Albright, who
the history of the U.S. government.
Condoleezza Rice, the first black woman
in 2005 Israel receded from the Palestinian
spoke recently at Penn State.
During her five-year term, Albright
secretary of state, followed in Albright’s
settlements in Gaza and the West Bank.
Albright not only made great strides to
involved herself deeply in U.S. policy on a
footsteps, but she had been on the rise in the
Also in 2005 Rice ran a campaign in the
better America’s position in the global com-
global level. One of her first acts was to
Republican Party for many years.
United Nations stating that the production
munity as the first female secretary of state,
begin a peace mission in the Middle East.
Rice served as the senior director in the
of nuclear weapons in Iran was unaccept-
but also cleared the way for both
This focused around Israeli-Palestinian
George H.W. Bush administration from
able outlined in her address at the Sept. 17,
Condoleezza Rice and Clinton to become
relations. She met with Israeli Prime
1989 to 1991.
2005 United Nations General Assembly. As
influential figures in future presidential cab-
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem
In 1997 she was appointed to the Federal
a result Rice was able to gain the support
that September according to a report pub-
Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated
from China, France, Germany and the
“It looks like it’s become a pattern to see
lished by the U.S. Department of State.
Training in the Military.
United Kingdom.
the secretary of state in a skirt,” Albright
Making a mark on history again, Albright
Climbing the political ladder, Rice next
Rice reformed and restructured the
joked with her Penn State audience.
met with Kim Jong-il in 2000, which made
took the position of National Security
Jump starting her political career,
her one of highest level Western diplomats
Advisor, which ultimately led to her becom-
Transformational Diplomacy, which
Albright served as chief legislative assistant
to ever meet the communist leader of North
ing the second female secretary of state,
focused on the United States working with
to Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, D-Maine, from
serving from 2005 to 2009.
the global community to create and facili-
1976 to 1978. She followed her political
Also during her term, Albright expanded
Starting off her term with a high note, in
ambitions to a position as a staff member on
and modernized NATO. She fostered peace
August 2005 Rice was able to obtain White
see Women , pg. 18
the National Security Council as well as a
talks in the Balkans and worked on reduc-
House approval for a diplomatic parlay with

March 2009
Cancer survivor thankful for research fundraising
by Zac Taylor
Accomplished swimmer Brandon Meyer was not able to
But Meyer said that despite the prospects
When Brandon Meyer, as a high school
dance at this year’s Penn State cancer fundraiser Thon due
he had, his fight with leukemia has helped
junior, climbed out of the pool after the
him discover what he wanted to do in life.
to knee damage caused by his chemo treatments, but his
Allegheny County Swimming Champion-
In fact, with the help of one drug he had to
hunger pangs during those treatments have redirected his
ships in 2005, the last drops of water from
take for his treatment, Meyer has found a
college career toward hotel and restaurant management.
his suit formed a small pool at his feet as he
new calling: cooking.
stood waiting for the results of the final
“I had to take a steroid,” Meyer said,
heat. He didn’t know that he had swum his
explaining that one side effect of the steroid
last race.
thought of contracting a terminal illness
Still, Meyer is optimistic. According to a
was hunger, which incidentally, gave him a
Two weeks later, Meyer was hospitalized
when just weeks before his swimming
2004 report by the American Cancer associ-
heightened interest in food. “I would watch
with a swollen throat. At the time, doctors
career was at its height.
ation, the five-year survival rate of white
the food network twenty-four-seven,”
thought Meyer had contracted a severe case
Fast-forward four years; Meyer is a junior
people diagnosed with leukemia stands at
Meyer said.
of mononucleosis—he had all the symp-
at Penn State University, and an active con-
48 percent. (The rate for black people is 39
Meyer’s father noticed his son’s new-
toms. Doctors took blood samples, and
tributor to Penn State’s mega cancer
percent.) Meyer is approaching the fourth
found interest in food and asked a family
when they were not satisfied with the
fundraiser and dance marathon: Thon.
anniversary of his diagnosis. The leukemia
friend, a master chef, to pique Meyer’s
results from the blood work, they tested
Meyer however, didn’t dance in the
shows no signs of coming back.
curiosity. Because of this experience,
Meyer’s bone marrow.
February event. The leukemia has been
“I try to find the good in it,” Meyer said,
Meyer chose to major in hotel and restau-
Meyer said his marrow was so thick that
eradicated from his body, but not without its
adding that his struggle with leukemia has
rant management at Penn State.
the needle used to extract it snapped in half
cost. The chemotherapy Meyer underwent
come to help him build his own character.
Despite the effect leukemia has had on
when it went into Meyer’s hipbone.
weakened the bones in his knees.
In high school, before his diagnosis,
his life, Meyer looks back on his battle with
After the tests, doctors told Meyer he had
Eventually his knees became so weak that
Meyer was an accomplished swimmer and
the disease as a positive experience. He
the decision was made to remove the weak
water polo player. In water polo he broke
advises other kids fighting cancer to look at
“At first I didn’t believe it,” Meyer said,
bones completely and insert replacements.
several of the school’s scoring records, a
it the same way.
thinking back to the day he was lying in the
Meyer’s replacement knees prevent him
feat that attracted the attention of college
“Staying positive is the best thing you can
hospital bed as the doctor told him his diag-
from participating in strenuous physical
recruiters. Meyer even had aspirations to go
do,” Meyer said, “Learn from the experi-
nosis. Meyer said he could not grasp the
to the air force academy, and become a
ence and don’t feel sorry for yourself.”
Celebrating Darwin’s 200th Birthday
Photo by Rupesh Kariyat
Biology professor Andy Stephenson was a presenter at a February event celebrating
218A East Calder Way State College PA 16801
Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. The event consisted of three lectures, a Victorian tea
party and some hamming it up with Darwin-esque beards.
814-272-0178 www.freezethaw.com

March 2009
States, nine universities, including Duke,
from Workers , pg. 16
Rutgers and Penn State, are not renewing
As a result of this investigation, along with the workers’ tour
contracts with Russell factories, Quinn said.
across the United States, nine universities including Duke,
death threats and the blacklisting of union
Penn State ended its contract after initially
Rutgers and Penn State, are not renewing contracts with
members. The names and pictures of union
putting Russell on probation early February.
members have been circulated on the
Russell factories. Penn State ended its contract after initially
Quinn said Penn State has been relying
Internet, Bovado said.
putting Russell on probation early February.
on FLA reports to justify its contract with
“When we look for jobs they tell us,
Russell, but now that the FLA is under
‘You’re not qualified,’” he said. “When we
scrutiny, there is little justification for the
ask, ‘Why?’ they say, ‘You’re someone who
works in a special area.’”
there are numerous factories in Honduras
union, a more independent Worker Rights
The workers who were fired will likely
Castellano and Bovado said workers
that could have been closed and the corpo-
Consortium’s investigation report agrees
emigrate or work the land because employ-
complain of carpel tunnel, lung problems,
ration did not hide the fact that it was sin-
with Brovado and Castellano. The WRC
ers are exploiting them, Castellano said.
and other bone problems from working in
gling out the Jerzees de Honduras factory,
said the closure was indeed because of the
Lack of employment has also reduced
the factory.
the only one with a union. The company has
enrollment in higher education, Castellano
At one point, the drinking water on site
been saying the plant was closed because
The FLA, has been criticized for its han-
said, because there is not enough money to
was contaminated, so the union organized
the apparel being produced at their particu-
dling of the investigation after permitting
afford school, creating a continued cycle of
to request potable water from the employer.
lar plant wasn’t selling because demand
factory managers to attend interviews with
inadequate human development.
Without a union, the workers would not
was low,” she said.
workers, violating confidentiality.
The union workers hope their tour pro-
have had drinking water, or a say in wages
Castellano said if this were true, the
“The FLA is getting criticism from uni-
moting solidarity with universities and the
and working conditions. It was the union’s
workers could have been put to work
versities because it messed up the investiga-
students who purchase these products will
unwillingness to settle that unnerved
assembling other clothes instead.
tion,” said Megan Quinn, member of United
pressure Russell to adhere to human rights.
Russell Athletic and factory managers, the
“The workers are capable of making
Students Against Sweatshops.
“We would like the universities to join us
workers said.
other things,” she said.
The workers asked the FLA to do inter-
and be advocates for workers against
Russell said the factory was not closed
The Fair Labor Association has been
views privately during its second investiga-
Russell,” Bovado said.
because of the union, but Castellano chal-
investigating the closure of Jerzees de
“We request help,” Castellano said. “We
lenged that.
Honduras. Although the FLA reported the
As a result of this investigation, along
have children. We have no jobs. We’re hop-
“This is a lie,” Castellano said. She said
factory closure was not because of the
with the workers’ tour across the United
ing this factory will reopen.”
first running for and winning a seat in the
from Women , pg. 16
U.S. Senate representing New York. Then
she ran a historic race in the 2008 presiden-
tate a democratic atmosphere which she
tial elections that pitted the first major party
outlined in an address at the 2007 Private
female candidate against the first major
Sector Summit of Public Diplomacy.
party black candidate in the Democratic
Rounding out this female political power-
Party primary.
house is the newly-appointed Hillary
Clinton was then chosen by President
Local 8
Rodham Clinton.
Barack Obama to serve as the 67th secre-
In 1993, Clinton became the first lady of
tary of state.
the United States and with this position she
Starting her term off, Clinton visited Asia
became motivating force behind many
in her first effort to ensure the global com-
reforms in the United States. One reform
munity that things are going to change for
was healthcare, a firestorm that ended with
the better.
her receding into the background of her
These are three notable women making
Please help support the
husband’s presidential role.
history in the United States in what Albright
Clinton pursued her political ambition by
called a pattern of women in power.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and
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For more information please call 1-814-696-9691
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