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Nike Update: 11/2/97

/* Written  7:50 AM  Nov  3, 1997 by clr in igc:labr.announcem */
/* ---------- "Nike Update: 11/2/97" ---------- */
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Nike Update: November 2, 1997

1) We pass along part of a recent UPI story. California State Assemblywoman
Dion Aroner joins a growing list of prominent people who are coming forward
to denounce Nike's labor practices. Other recent events included:

A letter to Nike from a women's coalition including: the National
Organization for Women, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Feminist Majority
and author Alice Walker.

A sign-on letter to Nike being circulated in the U.S. House of
Representatives by Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).

Nike labor practices hit at Capitol

SACRAMENTO, Oct. 28 (UPI) _ State Assemblywoman Dion Aroner has 
launched a
public awareness campaign aimed at persuading the Nike Co. to stop what she
says is the exploitation of women workers at Asian shoe factories.

The Berkeley Democrat held a Capitol news conference today to call attention
to the so-called sweatshop issue, although she stopped short of calling for
a boycott of Nike products.

Aroner says U.S. consumers targeted by Nike's current ``female empowerment''
ads must decide for themselves whether to buy $100 Nike shoes. But she
suggested they may not buy them once they learn the human cost to Asian
women who comprise 90 percent of the labor force that make the shoes.

2) University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) students from the Nike
Awareness Campaign met on October 31 with former North Carolina basketball
coach Dean Smith to discuss their opposition to the school's $7.1 million
contract with Nike. Smith now has a personal contract with Nike to promote
the company's products. Students who participated in the meeting found Smith
cooperative although he has relied entirely on Nike sources for information
about the company's labor practices.

3) Nike still has refused to release the wage-and-needs study it
commissioned from Dartmouth College. Nike so far has released only a summary
of the document, with great fanfare in the press. According to the study's
authors, Nike employees not only make a living wage but they have
significant amounts of discretionary income. Human rights advocates point
out, however, that Nike continues to resist a provision for a living wage
being included in the accord of the Apparel Industry Partnership. If Nike
truly were paying a living wage, say these advocates, then why does the
company not agree to such a provision in the accord?

Nike representatives met with four journalists at about the same time it
released a summary of the Dartmouth report. In that meeting, a Nike
spokesperson claimed that a family of four could live on the Indonesian
minimum wage. The government of Indonesia has stated that the minimum wage
there is inadequate to meet the needs of even a single worker.

4) Students at Arizona State University are now organizing to prevent their
university from signing a proposed $1 million/year contract to have all of
its teams outfitted with Nike gear. ASU joins a number of other schools
where students are protesting such contracts.

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