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Wisconsin Objects To Adidas Business Practices

February 5, 2012

WI

Wisconsin and adidas are quibbling.

The real world is inserting itself into the outfits of Wisconsin athletics:

The University of Wisconsin is unhappy with adidas for failing to make severance payments to workers at an Indonesian factory that made collegiate apparel.

Reacting to a recommendation by a university committee that UW end its multiyear licensing and sponsorship agreement with the company for violating a labor code of conduct, interim Chancellor David Ward sounded a warning to adidas.

“It is my continued hope that adidas will take meaningful steps to do its share as other entities have done previously in an attempt to make the workers of PT Kizone whole,” Ward’s letter stated.

Adidas is paying Wisconsin $2.7 million for 2012-13.

What does adidas have to say for themselves?

Adidas had argued that it was not obligated by the labor code of conduct to “stand in the shoes” of a factory owner and assume financial responsibility for severance payments that are owed to factory workers.

In a statement, adidas said it was committed to fair labor practices, fair wages and safe working conditions in factories. Adidas argued that the Indonesian factory was closed illegally and abandoned by its owner.

“We honored all terms of our contract, paying the factory owners every penny owed. In turn, we cannot assume, or accept, the liability for the severance owed by the former owner of PT Kizone who violated Indonesian law and fled,” adidas said in a statement.

More in the full story.

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Founder of Ball Eight.

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