8220Don8217t Do It8221 The Nike Corporation




“Don’t Do It”, The Nike Corporation
There is a running battle with activists, especially on
the internet, to keep corporations and governments focused
on human rights and the environment. Recent activity has
centered around International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
A victory for these such groups came recently when Starbucks
Corporation agreed to a deal that could triple wages for
thousands of coffee farmers. One battle that has been going
on steadily for a long time with few signs of relief is
against the Nike Corporation.
Activists charge Nike with having unsafe working
conditions, treating its employees improperly, not paying
its workers enough wages and forcing people to work overtime
and without breaks. There have been several reported cases
of abuse at Nike factories in Vietnam.
One report claimed that on International Women’s Day of
1997 in Vietnam fifty-six women were forced to run around
the factory grounds at Pouchen. Twelve of the women fainted
and were taken to a hospital by friends. CBS News reported
that fifteen female workers were hit on the head by their
supervisor for poor sewing. Two of these women needed to be
sent to hospitals after the beatings. This report also
charged that fourty0five workers were forced to kneel on the
ground for twenty0five minutes with their hands in the air.
A Korean supervisor even fled the country after accusations
that he molested some of his workers surfaced.
Workers also told CBS News that the daily quota for
products made is purposefully set unrealistically high. The
workers are forced to work over 600 hours of overtime per
year. If the workers do not except the hours he or she will
get a warning and after three warning he or she will be
fired. One activist group found that Nike workers were
working about twenty-seven days per month plus forty to
sixty hours of overtime. There were even moths found when
workers were forced to work over one hundred hours of
overtime.
An activist group called Boycott Nike reports that
workers in Nike’s Vietnamese factories are not allowed to
use the bathroom more than once per eight-hour shift and
they may not drink water more than twice per shift. It is
common for workers in these factories to faint from
exhaustion, heat, fumes and poor nutrition during their
shifts.
Nike workers are reportedly paid an average of twenty cents
per hour or $1.60 a day. Workers told Vietnam Labor Watch
that the cost of three meals per day in CuChi is about $2.
This wage is even lower than Vietnam’s own minimum wage.
During their fist month as Nike workers earn $37. The
minimum wage in the country is $45 per month.
Nike also controls it’s subcontractors by dictating the
p[rice per shoe and the cost of operation so that the
contractors have to set high quotas and pay low wages. A
British company estimated that the labor it takes to make
one pair of Nike shoes is about $3, but these shoes often
sell for over $100 in the United States.
This is not the way that it has to be. Companies such
as Reebock and Coca Cola have been able to treat their
employees in Vietnam much better than Nike has, pay them
more fairly and offer benefits such as training and English
lessons.
Activists against Nike gave been using the internet
very wisely to promote this important cause and get
legislation passed. Many sites about Nike’s practices link
to petitions one can sign and addresses were concerned
consumers should write.
These sites also include important laws and precedences
individuals can include in their letters and who the
important people to talk to are. The sites also have dates
of protests being planned and information about how to get a
movement for safe labor started in areas where there has not
been a lot of interest yet. One site tells which political
figures are helping conduct the campaign against Nike and
which organizations are offering support.


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