Bookstore stops selling JanSport

by Lily Rugo / Beacon Correspondent • October 9, 2014

After popular apparel company JanSport failed to sign a workers rights agreement by April, Emerson followed through on its ultimatum and stopped selling its products in the college bookstore.

The Emerson worker solidarity group Progressives and Radicals in Defense of Employees, or P.R.I.D.E., brought the United Students Against Sweatshops’ End Deathtraps campaign to the school’s attention in September 2013. The campaign aims to pressure the VF Corporation, JanSport’s parent company, to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, meant to increase worker safety in its Bangladeshi factories.

When P.R.I.D.E. found that the VF Corporation did not sign the agreement, it asked Emerson to cut ties with the business. In March, President M. Lee Pelton told VF Corporation that Emerson would no longer sell JanSport products if the company did not sign the accord. Since then, 13 other schools, including Boston University and New York University, have joined what USAS calls the “VF Cut List.”

“This year, we didn’t bring in new vendors,” Emerson bookstore manager Holly Marino said in a phone interview. “We’re ordering more from others to replace JanSport.”

The bookstore continues to sell brands like Champion, League, Alta Gracia, and Under Armour.