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Release: June 28, 2000

Coleman approves Code of Conduct for UI licensees

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has taken another step toward ensuring that no products bearing its name, trademarks or images are manufactured under conditions that exploit workers. UI President Mary Sue Coleman has approved a Code of Conduct that outlines strict guidelines that will apply to all UI trademark licensees.

The Code of Conduct, drafted by an ad-hoc university committee headed by Lon Moeller, a UI professor of management and organizations, specifies the working conditions manufacturers must provide in order to earn or maintain the right to a UI license.

"The university seeks to engage in business practices that effect positive change in human working conditions domestically and abroad," the code states. "The University therefore requires all of its licensees to conduct business in such a way that the university will not benefit from the gross exploitation of U.S. or international labor."

"I want to thank Professor Moeller and the rest of the ad hoc committee for giving this document such thorough consideration and also for developing it in a very timely manner," Coleman said.

Coleman has forwarded the Code of Conduct to the university's charter Committee on Human Rights and asked that committee to consider establishing an internal university monitoring system to ensure that all licensing agreements include the new code language. She also asked the committee to further develop policies on compliance with the code, as well as disclosure and monitoring of the factories where products with UI logos are manufactured.

Specifically, the Code of Conduct requires licensees and their contractors to:

  • Pay either the minimum wage in the country of manufacture, the prevailing wage in that industry in the country of manufacture, or a wage that meets the basic human needs for the average family size of employees in that industry in the country of manufacture, whichever is higher

  • Require workers to work no more than 48 hours per week or no more than the limit on work hours allowed by law in the country of manufacture, whichever is lower

  • Compensate workers for overtime hours at the legally required rate in the country of manufacture or, in the absence of such a law, at a rate that is at least equal to the workers' regular rate of pay; in addition, all overtime hours must be worked voluntarily by employees

  • Not employ any worker under the age of 15 or under the age for completing compulsory education, whichever is higher

  • Not use any type of forced labor, including forced prison labor, indentured labor, or bonded labor

  • Provide employees with a safe and healthy working environment

  • Employ workers solely on the basis of their ability to perform the job, with no discrimination in hiring, salary, benefits, performance evaluation, discipline, promotion, retirement or dismissal

  • Allow women who miss work because of pregnancy to return to a job with the same wages and benefits that she received prior to her pregnancy and not discharge or discipline any woman because of pregnancy

  • Not tolerate or use any form of corporal punishment and not subject any employee to physical, sexual, or psychological harassment or abuse

  • Recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining

The code states that university licensees and their contractors must be in compliance with the code within six months of notification. The UI will implement the code as licensing agreements come up for renewal or as any new agreements are signed, Coleman said. All licensing agreements with the university are renewed each year on Jan. 1.

Under the code, manufacturers will be required to provide for every licensed product the name of the manufacturing facility, the country or countries in which it was manufactured, and a certification that it was not made by underage children or with forced labor.

To ensure that this code is being followed, the UI will rely on monitoring groups, which will conduct scheduled site visits as well as unannounced checks of the licensees' facilities. Any licensee found not complying with the Code of Conduct will be required to correct the problem before the license can be renewed. Those who do not take corrective action may have their licenses terminated.