Letter Links CSU Golf Vendor to Chinese Sweatshop

    New evidence has surfaced and media scrutiny is increasing in Colorado Confidential’s ongoing probe of ties between collegiate merchandisers and sweatshop labor.

    Earlier this week, Colorado State University responded by taking Team Golf products off its shelves indefinitely, pending an investigation.

    Products by Team Golf, a Dallas-based company that sells collegiate golf merchandise, were removed from CSU shelves following a report from the National Labor Committee, an international human rights group.

    The NLC found that one of Team Golf’s suppliers, Full Start Ltd., owned a Chinese factory where workers were forced to work long hours and live in unsanitary conditions, all for meager pay that was lower than the Chinese minimum wage of 55 cents an hour.

    David McDevitt, a spokesman for Team Golf, has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that his company’s products did not originate from the factory mentioned in the investigation. McDevitt has even questioned whether Full Start owns the factory.

    However, recent evidence would seem to point to the fact that Full Start does indeed own the location where sweatshop abuses were reported. Colorado Confidential has obtained a letter from a Full Start manager taking ownership of the factory.

    Additionally, Colorado Confidential has obtained a message making the same conclusion. A letter sent by The Singer Company, another business implicated in the report, to the NLC claims that Full Start has taken ownership of the factory.

    Today, CSU’s hometown daily, The Fort Collins Coloradoan, reports on the investigation, allegations in the NLC report and the firm’s denials.

    Repeated attempts to contact Full Start have been unsuccessful.

    For more information, view Colorado Confidential’s Ram Shackled series investigating the CSU sweatshop allegations.

    Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.