Nike
 

 

1)     Nike and the Bed and Bath Prestige Factory in Thailand (Jones, 2003)

a)     Thailand, Bed & Bath Prestige factory closed without warning, without giving pay

b)     Workers, mainly women, did a sit in (live in!) at Ministry of Labor

c)     Government had a hard time helping workers b/c they are too busy sucking up to investors

d)     Alternative to factory work: home work; only contact is middle man; absolutely no protection, benefits or security and very low piece rate wages (in order to make a living they just extend hours of work…)

i)      Less than 17cents per shoe sewn

ii)    “outsourcing”

e)     Use of foreign subcontractors by corporations(basically getting others to do dirty work)

f)      5yrs ago companies adopted a Code of Conduct, promising to make sure subcontractors follow it

g)     Bed and Bath Prestige was working with Nike under this Code---meaningless, women had to wear a badge stating this agreement (and had to pay to replace it if it was lost!) but that's it

h)     Workers only learned its meaning (and how far off it was) when they started protesting

i)      Rehearsed on how to lie when Nike inspector was coming (lie about wage, overtime, etc)—threatened that the factory would close

j)      Why did factory close? Labor in Thailand is too expensive (excuse given)—basically, workers’ lives are cheaper in other places

k)     Unable to come out of it with money, education, skills…

l)      Washington Consensus: if poor countries would privatize and obey market, poverty would go away (dominated by World Bank and International Monetary Fund)—push free market economy on developing countries


1)     Nike and Indonesia(bullert, 2000)

a)     The working conditions

i)      1988/1989 first signs of labor discontent appeared in Indonesia

ii)    1992- min wage ranged from 50cents to $1.50 a day but 56% of companies were paying less

iii)  Nike subcontractors avoided paying min wage by keeping workers at the “training level” for months or years

iv)   Generally poor working conditions

b)     Became a popular issue in 1996

i)      Jeff Ballinger (did the initial wage compliance study in Indonesia) joined Global Exchange

ii)    National Labor Committee chief Charles Kernaghan launched a campaign against Kathie Lee Gifford who lent her name to clothing made in maquiladoras

iii)  Very public, visible characters w/ voices heard across the nation and the world

iv)   Not accidental—the result of lots of hard work, info collecting and planning by activists; targets were selected, messages were developed, media events arranged, publicity coordinated

c)     1998, Phil Knight announced that Nike would be making changes

i)      Raising min age to 18 at shoe factories, 16 at other factories

ii)    Better air quality controls

iii)  By 2002 to only order footwear from factories offering after-hours education to qualified workers

iv)   Didn’t say anything about wages and work day length, though--- continued to contract w/ factories in China w/ 12 hour days, 2 days off a month and 16-19cents an hour with no overtime

d)     By 2000 Nike has stopped using toxic glues that pose health hazards to Vietnamese workers and was supposedly requiring contractors in Indonesia to pay minimum wage

e)     Phil Knight has taken a public stand against universities that signed on w/ WRC—withdrew a $30million commitment to his alma mater, University of Oregon in Eugene