WPTS News sits down with Congressman Mike Doyle
By Matt Singer, Assistant News Director
On Tuesday, Assistant News Director Matt Singer and Pi Sigma Alpha President Ankur Sakaria were joined by United States Congressman Mike Doyle, who represents Pennsylvania’s 14th congressional district. They discussed everything from tuition hikes and gun rights to drone strikes and marriage equality.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview, however, was Congressman Doyle’s opinions on the University and the Worker Rights Consortium.
Despite admitting to not being entirely well versed on the issue, Rep.Doyle seemed to indicate support for a campus advocacy group’s push for greater transparency in the production of apparel and other products
purchased by the University.
The organization, Americans for Informed Democracy, hopes for Pitt to sign on to the Worker Rights Consortium, a non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring the workplace environments of factories.
When asked if he was a proponent of fair labor and ethical working practices, and if he thought the University should sign on to the WRC, the Congressman said that he supported workers’ rights globally.
“No one should be abused or have to work in conditions that are demeaning,” he said, signaling broad support for transparent labor production, but not explicitly advising Pitt to take any specific course of action.
“I think more transparency is always better than less transparency so that people can make informed decisions,” said Rep. Doyle, who went on to say that freely disseminated information pressures companies “to do the right thing.”
Members of AID have presented research and studies to the University’s administration that corroborates their belief that signing on to the WRC will provide better certification that Pitt’s apparel is produced in factories that observe fair labor laws and respect workers’ rights.
In terms of factories that may make use of unfair labor practices, Rep. Doyle said that he was in favor of “more pressure on them, and not less.”
AID’s efforts have hit a possible roadblock as the administration continues to weigh its options and research possible affiliation.
Pitt Spokesman John Fedele recently stated that Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kathy Humphrey, who has met with members of AID, “is listening to students’ concerns, and has scheduled additional meetings to further our discussion.”
Rep. Doyle openly approved of meeting with the members of AID to hear about their cause and the benefits of signing on the WRC.
“I’m always willing to sit down and meet with groups,” said the Congressman.