Twenty years ago, Nike’s name was synonymous with sweatshop abuses. Reports abounded of Indonesian workers earning 14 cents an hour – less than minimum wage – and Vietnamese workers who were hit with shoe parts, sexually assaulted, and forced to run outside until they collapsed.
By 1998, iconic Nike CEO Phil Knight had acknowledged that, “the Nike product has become synonymous with slave wages, forced overtime, and arbitrary abuse.” While Nike has trumpeted its corporate social responsibility operation for the past fifteen years, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and other independent investigators have continued to document violations that have been missed – or left uncorrected – by Nike and its monitors. In 2001, the first investigation of the newly formed WRC was conducted at the Mexmode/Kukdong factory in Mexico. As the New York Times explained, workers “fed up with finding worms in their salad” and with other abuses had protested at Mexmode; when the factory fired the protesting workers, universities successfully pressured Nike to require that the workers be reinstated and their union recognized.
Over the past decade, the WRC and other independent investigators have continued to identify serious violations at Nike factories around the world. These violations had persisted despite Nike’s audits, indicating that Nike had either failed to detect the violations or failed to correct them.
Global Day of Action Against Nike
On July 29, students across the U.S. and workers around the world will be taking on Nike in Cambodia, Honduras, Bangladesh and India.
Actions are planned to take place in: New York City, Washington D.C., Seattle, Boston , Denver, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Jackson, MS, San Francisco, CA , Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Columbus, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland OR and more.
Visit the Global Day of Action Page and find out how to become involved!