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Kicking off the “Cougars Hate Sweatshops” Campaign and 2012 Updates

March 7, 2012

We’ve been slow to update this year, but 2012 has been eventful so far.

  • In January, we dropped off an assignment sheet to UH’s president, Dr. Khator, with easy to follow steps to fight Adidas’s abuses and promote ethical conditions for UH apparel workers.
    • We asked for three simple things: Meet with us, tell Nike and Adidas to pay the money they owe to workers, and cut them if they refuse.
    • Unfortunately, it’s March and she hasn’t followed any of our advice.
    • We’ll be back in her office this week.

Check out the video from last time:

  • We’ve also met with our Barnes and Noble manager about better promoting Alta Gracia (AG) at UH. For those who haven’t heard, Alta Gracia is the only certified, Union-made, Sweatshop-free clothing line sold with our university’s logo (Check this out for the back story). Unfortunately he misrepresented too much information for our tastes.
    • He said there was AG apparel at the other store, but when our member checked it out there was none.
    • He said they educate store workers about what’s different about Alta Gracia, but he couldn’t answer any questions about the content of that education.
    • He said they promoted Alta Gracia over their Facebook page and website, but when we searched there was no info on the Facebook and only the name Alta Gracia on their items on the website.
  • In the past Barnes and Noble at UH has been cooperative on promoting AltaGracia, so we’re not sure what to make of all of this information. We’ll be paying Felix Robinson a visit soon, so we can nip this in the bud.

And last but not least we’re re-starting the DSP campaign. We’ll have more details on this soon, but if you want to research it, check out:


And as alluded to above, we’ll be having an action this Thursday at 4pm to deliver a report card on Dr. Khator’s poor performance on our last assignment. If you want to get in touch for the action, call Brendan at 832-967-3929.

Our new fliers are attached.

Cougars Hate Sweatshops Flier Spr 2012

SHASTA Hates SWEATshops half page Spr 2012


Remembering Brittany, Tim and Alex.

March 6, 2012

This message is somewhat overdue, but because of the difficulty of 2011 I needed time to prepare for it. Last year was a hard year for myself and the local group in Houston, as we lost three friends and social justice advocates. These three people contributed greatly to workers rights struggles and our local work to make UH affiliate with the WRC, kick Russell off campus, and promote Fair Trade coffee and products. They also fought to create the space for students to resist a largely authoritarian administration (such resistance had been inconsistent our campus for decades) on top of all of their other passions and off-campus work.

These three were wonderful people who I was very close to personally. I write this to all of those who remember them with me, and those in the struggle who may never have had the opportunity to meet them.


Tim O’Brien-

Tim founded UH Students Against Sweatshops and worked tirelessly on many campaigns on and off campus. He provided direction, mentorship and countless hours of advice to myself and many other activists working on workers rights campaigns on campus. He did all of this while raising a wonderful daughter, completing his PhD in African-American history, and being a supportive family member and advocate in his community and around Houston. He was a character, often a difficult one, but his dedication to this work and justice is unparalleled by almost anyone else I’ve met. He was my mentor and one of the largest reasons I started and continue to organize.

Tim fought cancer for two years and eventually succomed to it in April 2011. He is survived by his wife, daughter, mother, sisters, brother, countless friends and supporters, and the impact of his work in the University, community and world..


Brittany Keele-

Brittany was the second member of UH Students Against Sweatshops (our parent group that won the WRC) and also a member of UH Students for Fair Trade. She was a wonderful person, friend and activist. She was a wordsmith and artist who contributed temendously to our campaign and to our group, and remained dedicated to economic justice, feminism and workers rights until she passed. She was a strong, generous, loving, quirky, dorky person and very close friend of mine and former roommate.

Brittany was murdered suddenly in August 2011. She is survived by her parents, grandparents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many, many loving friends. She was taken from us far too soon and we miss her and love her.


Alex Batisti (Alejandro Del Fuego)-

Alex was never an official member of our group, but he was a longtime, dedicated supporter who was blunt, brave and tenacious. Alex was a revolutionary dedicated to the struggle of oppressed people everywhere, who spent the majority of his time dedicated to his work and his loved ones. He was also a musician and artist, and I had the pleasure of collaborating with him on several artistic endeavors.

Alex battled cancer for over two years and eventually passed in June 2011. He is survived by his girlfriend, mother, sister, extended family and many, many friends and comrades in the struggle.


We miss and love you all, and continue the struggle you gave so much of your lives for.


FLAC Member

Third Speak Out on Wednesday Oct. 5th

September 29, 2011

We’re hosting our third of six UH Student Speak Out! (<- click for the facebook page) events going into issues like:

+Corporate tax evasion and Pasadena public school funds going in the pockets of oil companies.

+The corruption of the food industry and how it exploits animals, workers and consumers.

+The 10 year invasion of Afghanistan, US militarization and how UH is tied with the armed forces and war profiteering.

+Many other issues!

If you can make it and speak, we welcome any and all students and community members. If you just want to come out and hear what we’re learning and speaking about that’s great too!

Speak out Poster Updated for October

Made in LA Screening Tonight!!

September 6, 2011

Tonight, the Women’s Resource Center is hosting a screening of a great documentary about Sweatshops behind the UC (on the patio near the business school). We’ll be giving a presentation about the gains made on campus in the fight against sweatshops before a presentation by the Houston Interfaith Workers Justice Center’s presentation and the screening.

Made in LA English flyer(2)

Tomorrow @11am, UH Student Speak Out!

August 30, 2011

Tomorrow at the UC Satellite we’ll host the first of 6 Speak Out! events where students and other community members can come to listen and/or participate in progressive political issues like  corporate corruption, war and militarism, feminism, racism, workers rights, student movements, immigrant rights and many others.

It will be from 11-2pm right in front of the Satellite.

Speak out Poster


Back to School!

August 21, 2011

The Fair Labor Action Committee is ready to go back to school tomorrow.

It’s been a long and hot summer, with some amazing stuff going on in the labor movement. From the Verizon strike that ended in a big victory over the weekend, to the NFL lockout that ended in a victory for the workers (players of the NFL) to the recent campaign by student exchange workers in a Hershey’s factory in Pennsylvania, and all of the other actions that didn’t garner as much press.

There’s plenty to to at UH, and we’re gonna be hosting meetings at 3:30 pm in the San Jacinto Room of the UC second floor, and we hope to see you there.

International Workers Day (May Day) 2011 March and Rally in Houston

April 25, 2011