ion“Don’t Do It”, The Nike CorporationThere is a running battle with activists, especially onthe internet, to keep corporations and governments focusedon human rights and the environment. Recent activity hascentered around International Monetary Fund and World Bank. A victory for these such groups came recently when StarbucksCorporation agreed to a deal that could triple wages forthousands of coffee farmers. One battle that has been goingon steadily for a long time with few signs of relief isagainst the Nike Corporation.
Activists charge Nike with having unsafe workingconditions, treating its employees improperly, not payingits workers enough wages and forcing people to work overtimeand without breaks. There have been several reported casesof abuse at Nike factories in Vietnam.One report claimed that on International Women’s Day of1997 in Vietnam fifty-six women were forced to run aroundthe factory grounds at Pouchen. Twelve of the women faintedand were taken to a hospital by friends.
CBS News reportedthat fifteen female workers were hit on the head by theirsupervisor for poor sewing. Two of these women needed to besent to hospitals after the beatings. This report alsocharged that fourty0five workers were forced to kneel on theground for twenty0five minutes with their hands in the air. A Korean supervisor even fled the country after accusationsthat he molested some of his workers surfaced.Workers also told CBS News that the daily quota forproducts made is purposefully set unrealistically high. Theworkers are forced to work over 600 hours of overtime peryear. If the workers do not except the hours he or she willget a warning and after three warning he or she will befired.
One activist group found that Nike workers wereworking about twenty-seven days per month plus forty tosixty hours of overtime. There were even moths found whenworkers were forced to work over one hundred hours ofovertime.An activist group called Boycott Nike reports thatworkers in Nike’s Vietnamese factories are not allowed touse the bathroom more than once per eight-hour shift andthey may not drink water more than twice per shift. It iscommon for workers in these factories to faint fromexhaustion, heat, fumes and poor nutrition during theirshifts.Nike workers are reportedly paid an average of twenty centsper hour or $1.60 a day. Workers told Vietnam Labor Watchthat 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. Theminimum wage in the country is $45 per month.Nike also controls it’s subcontractors by dictating theprice per shoe and the cost of operation so that thecontractors have to set high quotas and pay low wages. ABritish company estimated that the labor it takes to makeone pair of Nike shoes is about $3, but these shoes oftensell for over $100 in the United States.This is not the way that it has to be. Companies suchas Reebock and Coca Cola have been able to treat theiremployees in Vietnam much better than Nike has, pay themmore fairly and offer benefits such as training and Englishlessons.
Activists against Nike gave been using the internetvery wisely to promote this important cause and getlegislation passed. Many sites about Nike’s practices linkto petitions one can sign and addresses were concernedconsumers should write.These sites also include important laws and precedencesindividuals can include in their letters and who theimportant people to talk to are. The sites also have datesof protests being planned and information about how to get amovement for safe labor started in areas where there has notbeen a lot of interest yet.
One site tells which politicalfigures are helping conduct the campaign against Nike andwhich organizations are offering support.Social Issues