(en) Nike protest update

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Thu, 18 Sep 1997 22:48:22 -0700


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 20:35:44 -0700 (PDT) To: Campaign For Labor Rights e-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Nike protest update

Labor Alerts/Labor News a service of Campaign for Labor Rights 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 <clr@igc.apc.org> (541) 344-5410 http://www.compugraph.com/clr

NIKE PROTESTS MOVING FORWARD Please let us know of your plans for October 18. If your organization has not yet made any plans for that date, we urge you to consider leafleting at a local store selling Nike products.

Nike action packet: Free via email (send a request to clr@igc.apc.org) or $5 for the printed version (send a check to Campaign for Labor Rights, 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 with a note saying that you are prepaying for a Nike action packet or call 541-344-5410). We have an updated leaflet master available in hard copy (courtesy of Global Exchange).

So far, activists in the following countries have indicated that they are organizing activities for the October 18 international mobilization in support of the rights of Nike workers: United States Canada England Switzerland Australia New Zealand Italy The Netherlands Belgium Finland

PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE NEW REPORT: Representatives of Global Exchange, Justice: Do It Nike and Campaign for Labor Rights have scheduled a joint press conference in Portland, Oregon on Monday, September 22 -- just an hour before Nike's annual stockholder meeting. The groups plan to announce the release of an important new study of horrific conditions in Chinese factories producing for Nike and Reebok. The study was done by two Hong Kong-based human rights organizations with impeccable reputations for careful research. (Watch for later alerts with a summary of the report.)

BRONX NIKE SHOE-IN: Leading up to the mobilization, a neighborhood center in the Bronx has organized a return of Nike shoes at the posh Nike Town store on 57th Street in Manhattan. The Edenwald-Gun Hill Neighborhood Center has joined with young people at 7 other community centers in planning their September 27 action.

KIDS' SWEATSHOP PLAY GOES TO BROADWAY: Last year, 4th graders at the Hawes School in Ridgewood, New Jersey wrote a play depicting the sweatshop conditions under which Nike and Disney products and McDonald's "happy meals" toys are made. The young people were ready to present their play to the entire school when the principal squealched those plans. End of story? No! The play is now going to be produced -- on Broadway! -- starring the original child authors. The one-night-only performance will be at the Roundabout Theater at 7 PM on October 27. For more information, call the kids' teacher, Maria Sweeney. Her work number is (201) 670-2720.

RUN TO RAISE FUNDS AND CONSCIOUSNESS: See You Divest, an activist group at the University of Colorado in Boulder is firming up plans for a fundraising run on October 19. Terms of the run will help to raise consciousness about Nike labor abuses. Participants will pay an entrance fee of $1.60 (daily wages for a Nike worker in Vietnam). The winner will receive $2.10 (the price of three square meals in Vietnam).

UK ACTIVISTS MEET WITH NIKE: Angela Hale, of Labour behind the Label in England reported on a recent meeting between Nike representatives and members of several nongovernmental organizations. If Nike was hoping for a public relations boost from the meeting, they must have been disappointed -- as the following exchange from Hale's report demonstrates. (Excerpt was slightly edited):

"Nike told us that the purpose of the meeting was to explain what they are doing to ensure good labour conditions and to learn from our experience of working on these issues. They then began to tell us about their code, monitoring procedures etc. (for details see their nice new pack) and their new training programme for factory managers and workers on the issues in the code. The shortened version of the code has been translated into 11 languages and will be posted on factory walls.

"I asked them the extent to which this indicated a significiant change of approach since the evidence so far indicated that conditions had not improved as a result of them having a code etc. They replied that it was a process of evolution, that there was always room for improvement -- quoting"there is no finish line."

"We then asked about the clause in the new (Nike) code about the right to organise/collective bargaining and the fact that it was not as strong as in the Clinton Code (the preliminary accord issued in April by the Apparel Industry Partnership -- in which Nike is a participant). They responded by telling us how difficult it was to facilitate collective bargaining in places like China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

"I interrupted to point that that it was not accident that they were in these countries where workers have few rights. It had clearly been their strategy in the past to seek production sites where labour was cheap and unorganised, and that this was why I had asked the question about whether they were saying they now had a complelety new strategy. They replied by denying that these were the reasons for being in those countries and that it was a question of efficiency."

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