[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
Women's Groups vs. Nike
- Subject: Women's Groups vs. Nike
- From: clr@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 09:19:00
/* Written 9:08 AM Oct 27, 1997 by clr in igc:labr.announcem */
/* ---------- "Women's Groups vs. Nike" ---------- */
Labor Alerts/Labor News
a service of Campaign for Labor Rights
1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
<clr@xxxxxxxxxxx> (541) 344-5410
Nike Supports Women in Its Ads but Not Its Factories, Groups Say
By Steven Greenhouse
New York Times October 26, 1997
A coalition of women's groups has attacked Nike as hypocritical for its new
television commercials that feature female athletes, asserting that
something is wrong when the company calls for empowering American women but
pays its largely female overseas work force poorly.
The commercials show women saying they will be stronger, healthier and more
independent if they are allowed to play sports.
In a letter to Nike's chairman, Philip Knight, the coalition, which includes
the National Organization for Women and the Ms. Foundation for Women, wrote,
"While the women who wear Nike shoes in the United States are
perform their best, the Indonesian, Vietnamese and Chinese women making the
shoes often suffer from inadequate wages, corporal punishment, forced
overtime and/or sexual harassment."
Eleanor Smeal, president of Feminist Majority, a research and advocacy
group, said: "The message in the empowerment ad is strong, but there's a
disconnect between that message and the way Nike pays and treats its
workers, especially its women workers. The sweatshops, which all of us
thought were a thing of the past, are back again. And just like the
feminists at the turn of the century fought them, it's incumbent on us
Nike's factories have become a target for labor rights groups, which have
repeatedly said that they pay too little and force workers to toil in poor
conditions. Global Exchange, a human rights group in San Francisco that has
often attacked Nike, seized on the new television commercials to rally
women's groups behind a new effort to criticize the company.
The coalition is calling on Nike to let local independent monitors inspect
factories in Asia and to increase pay, suggesting that its wages in Vietnam
be raised to $3 a day from $1.60 a day. Vada Manager, a Nike spokesman, said
the women's groups misunderstood Nike's role in Asia, adding that its
factories in Vietnam, Indonesia and China pay considerably more than do most
factories in those countries.
"Nike has created some 500,000 superior jobs with good wages around the
world in developing economies," Manager said. "The job opportunities
have provided to women and men in developing economies like Vietnam and
Indonesia have provided a bridge of opportunity for these individuals to
have a much better quality of life."
Ms. Smeal said, "We think it's great they're providing jobs. It's just that
the level of the wages should be increased and the working conditions
improved." Others who signed the letter to Nike include Alice Walker, the
author, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the Black Women's Agenda and the
Coalition of Labor Union Women.
The coalition's letter said many of Nike's workers in Vietnam could "barely
afford three meals a day let alone transportation, rent, clothing, health
care and much more." But Nike officials pointed to a recent study by
Dartmouth College researchers that concluded that Nike's daily wages in
Vietnam were four times the cost of obtaining three meals a day there.
The letter also faulted Nike for physically abusing workers, referring
incident in Vietnam in which a manager punished workers by making them run
laps in the sun.
Manager acknowledged occasional abuses and said the abusive managers had
been dismissed. He added that the company's factories had passed inspections
by Andrew Young, the civil rights leader.
[Note from Thuyen Nguyen, of the Vietnam Labor Watch: "It must be noted that
Nike has been refusing to sign a living wage provision as proposed by
President Clinton's Apparel Industry Partnership, yet at the same time the
company has been telling people that they are paying above a living
Vietnam and indonesia."]
CAMPAIGN FOR LABOR RIGHTS newsletter subscriptions: Send $35.00 to
Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. For a sample copy, send your postal
address to <clr@xxxxxxxxxxx>.
To receive our email Labor Alerts, send a message to <clr@xxxxxxxxxxx> with
"labor alerts -- all campaigns" in the subject line or specify which labor
issues interest you: Nike, Disney, Guess, child labor, Guatemala, Mexico,
Nicaragua, El Salvador, US farm workers, US poultry processing
you would like to receive information which falls outside those categories
(prison labor, workfare, other policy issues, additional briefing material
on some campaigns), indicate that you want to be on our Additional Labor
Information list as well as our All Campaigns list. To stop receiving this
service, check to see whether you have received our alerts directly
or as a reposting via some other list. Send an email message to the address
listed in the "return path" saying that you want to unsubscribe.
IF YOU EXPERIENCE A BREAK IN OUR LABOR ALERT SERVICE, send us an email
verifying that you still want to receive our alerts and indicating which
lists (see above) you want to be on. For various technical reasons, many
email messages are "bounced back." Our largest lists are now on an automated
system which drops any address which malfunctions, even if because of a
temporary problem with your email server. Although our alert system is
becoming automated, you can still communicate with a real person at Campaign
for Labor Rights. Send your messages to <clr@xxxxxxxxxxx>.