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Workplace Standards & Smith Caps & Gowns

Jostens, the manufacturer of the caps and gowns that Smith seniors wear at commencement, has provided the following information about steps they have taken regarding workplace issues and standards and about Maco-Mex, their supplier of caps and gowns:

  • Jostens contracts with a company called Maco-Mex to assemble caps and gowns. They are our supply partners located in three communities in the State of Aguascalientes, Mexico. Essentially, we contract with Maco-Mex to assemble (sew) graduation cap and gowns that are first cut in the U.S., and then sent back to the U.S. for distribution.
  • Our supply partner owns three facilities and employs approximately 25-120 workers at each location. In addition to Jostens, Maco-Mex contracts for packaging and assembly services with two other U.S. corporations. Jostens has had a working relationship with Maco-Mex for eight years.
  • Be assured that we take appropriate measures to ensure that our supply partner provides an appropriate work environment for worker safety and comfort, including visiting the production facilities four times annually for periodic operations reviews.
  • Our supply partner's facilities have been found to be clean, well-lighted buildings with cement floors, air-handling systems and open-air ventilation. By shifting assembly work to these facilities Jostens is able to be more competitive in the market and deliver greater value to our customers.
  • Mexico does have a minimum wage. In addition to the minimum wage, Mexican federal laws require severance, a social security program and health care provisions available on site. Maco-Mex is the largest employer in each of the communities where it is located. The wages the workers receive are above the minimum wage and considered to be the best in the area. Also, the plant provides on-site health care service, meals, and transportation. Maco-Mex workers also belong to a union.
  • Last year Maco-Mex achieved ISO-9002 certification for their operations, which is an international standard of manufacturing management excellence. An ISO-9002 certification is extremely rare for a textile manufacturing facility in Mexico. To learn about ISO, how companies become certified and to contact ISO and research Maco Mex's application and audit, visit the ISO Web site at
  • Jostens does not employ prison labor. From 1993 through 1997, we did contract with the Leath Correctional Facility in Laurens, S.C., to sew our gowns. It was not a sweatshop environment. Jostens discontinued its association with Leath in late 1997.
  • Jostens does not own or operate any manufacturing facilities outside the U.S. and Canada.

Our Position On Workplace Issues And What We Are Doing

We believe that Jostens is an industry leader that understands the issues related to workplace standards and has proactively taken appropriate steps to inform customers, employees and business partners about our commitment to ethical and lawful business practices through the implementation — and ongoing monitoring and compliance with — Jostens' Workplace Code of Conduct.

In addition to implementing our own Workplace Code of Conduct, we are members of BSR (Businesses for Social Responsibility) and we have signed the Follett and CLC's codes of conduct, as well as several other individual colleges' codes of conduct. Also, Jostens' application to the Fair Labor Association (FLA) was accepted in the fall of 2001, making us one of only 13 fully participating companies nationwide who have met their rigorous application standards. The FLA it is a unique collaboration of companies, human rights and labor rights organizations and 160 colleges and universities that are working together to improve workplace conditions in factories around the world. More than 1,000 U. S. companies have applied for membership in the FLA.