This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
News Bureau • Schofield Hall 201Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900
Charles Kernaghan to Give
Forum Lecture at UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: Oct. 11, 2001

         EAU CLAIRE — Labor rights activist Charles Kernaghan will speak about “The Fight to End Sweatshops and Child Labor: Students in the Forefront” Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
         His presentation, part of The Forum lecture series, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena and will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
         Kernaghan is executive director of the National Labor Committee, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and defending human and worker rights in the global economy. The group exposes abuses committed by U.S. companies producing goods in poor countries and organizes campaigns to put an end to the abuses.
         Under Kernaghan’s directorship the NLC has placed the issue of sweatshop abuses and child labor squarely on the national agenda by exposing such atrocities as Chinese workers putting in 60-hour to 96-hour weeks for wages between 12.5 and 28 cents an hour, at factories producing clothing for Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Wal-Mart and others. NLC fact-finding missions, including delegations of U.S. university students, also have documented labor conditions and abuses in factories in Central America, Haiti, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
         In the last few years the NLC has helped bring massive media coverage to labor and worker rights issues; established the only existing models of true independent monitoring of factories by human rights groups in Central America; served as a clearing house on labor research and popular campaigns; and built local, regional and national coalitions that have grown into one of the best social justice networks in the country.
         The NLC especially focuses on the working conditions of young women working in Central America, the Caribbean, China and other developing countries who assemble garments, shoes, toys and other products for export to the United States. One recent campaign turned the spotlight on Kohl’s Department Stores, a major Wisconsin-based U.S. retailer whose clothing production was sourced to Taiwanese-owned sweatshops in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
         Director of the NLC since 1990, Charles Kernaghan has run many successful public education campaigns about what consumer, religious, student and labor groups can do to bring pressure on multinational corporations that utilize child labor and violate workers’ rights. He became involved in the struggle to defend international labor rights after participating in a peace march through Central America in 1985.
         Formerly on the faculty of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and SUNY’s Harry Van Arsdale Labor College in New York City, Kernaghan has worked as a photographer, furniture mover, carpenter and shop steward (Carpenters Union Local 608), and cab driver.
         Admission is $7 for the public, $5 for those age 62 and over and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, or $3 for those age 17 and under and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
         Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
         The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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(715) 836-4741

Updated: Oct. 11, 2001