While Adidas has received some accolades for its recent decision to sell off remaining Yeezy product after the termination of its relationship with Kanye West (Ye) and donate the proceeds to organizations combating discrimination and hate, unions representing workers in the Adidas supply chain are also looking for a piece of the pie.

The Pay Your Workers-Respect Labour Rights (RLR) Committee, representing the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, the Free Trade Zones & General Service Employees Union in Sri Lanka, and Workers United, in the U.S., penned an open letter to Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Adidas urging the company not to forget the workers in its supply chain who suffered wage loss during the pandemic.

“We, the undersigned unions, have read your recent announcement regarding Adidas’ decision to sell Yeezy shoes and donate the profits to organizations combating discrimination and hate,” wrote the Pay Your Workers–Respect Labour Rights (PYW-RLR) union committee in the letter. “We welcome this decision, but knowing the high value that the Yeezy shoes represent, we urge you to also consider dedicating a small amount of the proceeds to the workers harmed in the process of producing these shoes.

“Workers, including those producing shoes for Adidas, have suffered greatly during the Covid pandemic,” the letter continued. “Wages were left unpaid during lockdowns and workers who lost their jobs often did not receive severance pay. We tried to negotiate with our employers to receive our back wages and owed severance, but on top of everything, repression of basic trade union rights is also increasing.

The letter went on to say the group believes Adidas can make a significant difference in the lives of workers who make your products if Adidas uses part of the Yeezy shoe sales profits for a ten-year commitment to the Pay Your Workers – Respect Labour Rights (PYW-RLR) agreement.

“It is our understanding that the value of the shoes is estimated at 1.2 billion euros,” the letter states. “The current annual fee estimated for the PYW-RLR agreement for Adidas would be less than three percent of this amount.”

The PYW-RLR agreement is intended to cover Covid-related wage and severance theft and create a global guarantee fund for severance theft going forward.

The group said it wants to negotiate directly with Gulden, “the decision-maker at the top of the supply chain,” and said they are open to any suggestions he may have on the proposed agreement.

For the full letter, go here.

Image courtesy of Pay Your Workers