Nike in Indonesia

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 16:29:42 -0400


## author : clr@igc.apc.org
## date : 01.08.96

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From: Trim Bissell, coordinator Campaign for Labor Rights,
a member of the Working Group on Nike

DON'T BE FOOLED BY NIKE
only their PR line has changed

Labor advocates who have been following news of Nike should
view with skepticism recent statements made by company
spokeswoman Donna Gibbs (known to many as Donna Fibbs) and
by other Nike senior management.

A growing coalition, the Working Group on Nike, continues to
organize around four core demands, that Nike:

* permit truly independent monitoring of its factories
* respect the right of free association (union activity)
* pay a living wage
* stop using child labor

The pension board of the United Methodist Church has
submitted a shareholder resolution, to be debated at Nike's
annual stockholder meeting on Sept. 16, that the company
permit independent monitoring of its production facilities
-- first in Indonesia, and then after a period of
implementation, wherever else Nike produces. The Sports
Shoe Workers Council of Indonesia has sent Nike a proposal
for independent monitoring and dispute settlement. Three
Indonesian nongovernmental organizations have contacted Nike
to offer their services as independent monitors.

Nike, meanwhile, continues to rely on the "monitoring"
services of Ernst & Young, WHOSE REPORTS NIKE KEEPS SECRET.
Monitoring by Ernst & Young has failed to prevent or to
correct a host of egregious labor rights violations,
including Nike's use of child labor in Pakistan and the use
of the Indonesian military to quash lawful union activity.

Nike HAS corrected SOME of the problems brought to its
attention -- NOT because of the inadequate, company-friendly
monitoring activities of Ernst & Young -- but because of
persistent and public efforts by labor rights activists, now
coordinating as the Working Group on Nike, and because of
courageous actions by Indonesian workers and their
compatriots.

The July 24 issue of The Oregonian newspaper reported that:
"Nike has accepted an invitation from the Clinton
administration to join a coalition of government, company
and labor groups to explore the issue of independent
monitoring."

* * * HOWEVER * * *

At the same time that Nike was publicly declaring itself
ready to reexamine its monitoring mechanisms, they were
writing to the United Methodist Church pension board to
reject their shareholder proposal for independent
monitoring: "Ernst & Young has a solid reputation of
thorough and unbiased oversight of manufacturing operations
in developing countries. To say that nongovernmental
special interest groups could do a better job ignores this
reality and the size of the task."

Phil Knight recently told Julie Whipple of Portland's
Business Journal, "I don't think there's any question that
we can do a better job than what we're doing, and I think
the focus on the international nature of business and how
consumer products are made is healthy. I honestly think
Nike is being held to a higher standard that its
competitors. That's just fine with us and when the smoke
clears, we'll be on our way to being better than we are
now."

* * * HOWEVER * * *

This statement coincided with Nike's refusal even to meet
with Cicih Sukaesih when she arrived at Nike headquarters in
Beaverton, Oregon (suburb of Portland). After participating
in a strike at a Nike shoe factory in Indonesia, Sukaesih
was illegally fired and to this day remains blacklisted.

In other recent PR gambits, Nike hurriedly joined Business
for Social Responsibility, whose offers of membership the
company had spurned for the past two years, and has begun
making overtures to the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center
for Human Rights. In a recent interview, Donna Gibbs
explained that now Nike has "found some reasonable groups to
deal with."

NIKE HAS A PROBLEM which cannot be
resolved by its PR department!!!

Nike hopes to bypass dialogue with the Working Group and
with the Indonesian NGOs. While their recent PR blitz may
win them some short-term points, it will not resolve the
issues. The shareholder resolution is moving forward. Also
progressing are plans for monthly leafleting at Nike outlets
all across the U.S. and Canada. The first of these monthly
mobilizations will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14 -- two
days before the Nike stockholder meeting. We are contacting
organizations in other parts of the world. A European
organization, the Clean Clothes Campaign has accepted our
offer to participate in the leafleting actions. A group in
New Zealand has contacted us. THE MOVEMENT IS BUILDING.

JOIN THE ACTION!!!

To find out about organizing leafleting actions at a Nike
outlet in your city, please contact Campaign for Labor
Rights, one of the grassroots-action members of the Working
Group on Nike. We have an extensive background packet on
Nike, including reprints of important news articles and
other essential documents. Within the next few weeks, we
will have an action packet for local organizers, with:
sample leaflet, sample press release, and answers to
frequently asked questions.

Contact information: Campaign for Labor Rights
clr@igc.apc.org (541) 344-5410 1247 E Street SE,
Washington, DC 20003.