(en) Nike pull-out: analysis

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Thu, 25 Sep 1997 23:04:13 -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, 25 Sep 1997 18:22:17 -0700 (PDT) To: Campaign For Labor Rights E-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Nike pull-out: analysis

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

PLEASE LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR PLANS for participating in the international mobilization in support of Nike workers on October 18. If your organization has not yet made 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).

NIKE WITHDRAWS FROM 4 INDONESIAN FACTORIES Nike announced on September 22 that it had severed ties with four Indonesian-based factories because they failed to adhere to the company's requirements for wages and working conditions.

ANALYSIS: We have no way to verify Nike's motivation for this pull-out. This is one more illustration of why there needs to be independent external monitoring by local human rights and religious organizations. If there were adequate monitoring, we would know the basis for Nike's departure and we would know whether Nike tried to work with those factories to get them to improve their labor practices. As it stands, we have only Nike's claims about its motivation for leaving the four factories in Indonesia. Nike can never clear its name as long as it uses only monitors who are beholden to the company and whose reports to Nike are kept secret.

We are not trying to drive Nike out of any factories where the company currently produces -- quite the contrary! We believe that, once a company is producing someplace, it has an obligation to do right by those workers and not to cut-and-run for the sake of expediency. We urge Nike to work with its contractors to improve labor conditions -- and to cut contracts only as a last resort. (We make an exception to this policy in the case of international boycotts against investment in particular countries, such as the Burma boycott. All transnationals are urged to put their operations out of Burma. As far as we know, Nike has no production in Burma.)

Nike claims that it severed ties with four Indonesian factories because of concerns about their labor practices. However, consider that Nike continues to do business with -- and is increasing its production in -- Chinese factories which are probably even more repressive and where wages are even lower than in the Indonesian factories.

One has to suspect that labor concerns were just a cover for Nike to shift more of its operations out of Indonesia and into China -- for lower wages and less scrutiny by human rights groups. Consider this: Earlier this year, when Indonesia raised its minimum wage by 20 cents a day to $2.46 a day, a Nike spokesperson stated that Indonesia "may be pricing itself out of the market." Isn't it more likely, then, that Nike is making good on its threat to start pulling out of Indonesia than that the company is making good on its often-broken promises to clean up its act?

CAMPAIGN FOR LABOR RIGHTS newsletter subscriptions: Send $35.00 to 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. For a sample copy, send your postal address to <clr@igc.apc.org>. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- To receive our email Labor Alerts, send a message to <clr@igc.apc.org> with "labor alerts -- all campaigns" in the subject line or specify which labor issues interest you: Nike, Disney, Guess, child labor, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, US farm workers, US poultry processing workers. If you would like to receive information which falls outside those categories (prison labor, workfare, other policy issues, additional briefing material on some campaigns), indicate that you want to be on our Additional Labor Information list AS WELL AS our All Campaigns list. To stop receiving this service, check to see whether you have received our alerts directly from us or as a reposting via some other list. Send an email message to the address listed in the "return path" saying that you want to unsubscribe. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- IF YOU EXPERIENCE A BREAK IN OUR LABOR ALERT SERVICE, send us an email verifying that you still want to receive our alerts and indicating which lists (see above) you want to be on. For various technical reasons, many email messages are "bounced back." Our largest lists are now on an automated system which drops any address which malfunctions, even if because of a temporary problem with your email server. Although our alert system is becoming automated, YOU CAN STILL COMMUNICATE WITH A REAL PERSON at Campaign for Labor Rights. Send your messages to <clr@igc.apc.org>.

****** A-Infos News Service ***** News about and of interest to anarchists

Subscribe -> email MAJORDOMO@TAO.CA with the message SUBSCRIBE A-INFOS Info -> http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ Reproduce -> please include this section