(en) Nike: rpts from local committees

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 00:32:57 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 22:44:19 -0700 (PDT) To: Campaign for Labor Rights E-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Nike: rpts from local committees

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 Mobilization: Reports from Local Committees [Following are excerpts from reports sent to us by local committees concerning their activities around the international Nike mobilization. If we receive enough reports from others of you, we will issue a second collection of excerpts. Please keep those reports coming in. They are some of the most enjoyable reading we have done in a long time!]

* * *

Albuquerque - Jerome Chavez, Progressive Student Alliance, University of New Mexico:

Members of the Progressive Student Alliance, a group at the University of New Mexico, passed out anti-Nike leaflets at two shopping centers in Albuquerque, NM. First we handed out leaflets at Coronado Mall. Mall security ordered us to leave. Afterwards, vowing to continue to inform more people about Nike's practices, we went to Winrock mall, a few blocks away from Coronado. We passed out more flyers to patrons until, predictably, the mall security came and told us to leave there too.

Many people were receptive to what we were doing, even some of the security guards who had to enforce the mall rules. We had many people sign a letter to Nike CEO Phil Knight and President Clinton about Nike. A lot of the patrons thanked and congratulated us for informing people about the issue. We plan to continue to campaign against Nike in our community and on our campus.

* * *

Ann Arbor -- Rich Goff

There was a great deal of student interest in the action. We were successful in getting several student/labor/activist groups to participate or lend support. We held a rally in the center of campus which was attended by about 50 people. We marched to the gates of the stadium (there was a home game). We were able to set up pickets and one huge banner at the main gate. Anyone who went in the gate could see us. There we distributed flyers to the fans. There were also two Nike reps there distributing pro-Nike info. They said they were volunteers. Fortunately, we outnumbered and outvocalized them.

We see this as just the beginning. Other student organizations are getting involved. The University President is rumored to be questioning the wisdom of the UM contract with Nike. More pressure is needed.

* * *

Baltimore - Brian Connors, the Student Socialist Forum from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

We leafleted at Westview Mall. Security had originally stopped us, but we continued in another area until a policeman arrived. We then went to the Security Square Mall. This mall was larger and we went unnoticed until we had distributed all of our 350 fliers. There was a generally good response from the public. Many people told us that they never bought Nikes for this reason. One man from a letter carrier's union told us that his group were already boycotting Nike. It was a very successful day. We look forward to working with you again in the near future.

* * *

Toronto - Lynda Yanz, Maquila Solidarity Network/Labour behind the Label Coalition

We held a rally outside a large sporting goods store in a busy shopping area. We received media coverage from two national TV stations. One camera crew followed our group into the store where we asked the manager to sign our petition on sweatshop abuses. We also got an op-ed piece in the Toronto Star, a major Canadian newspaper.

On Sunday a couple of us diehards took our leaflets, petitions, buttons and a few balloons to the Toronto International Marathon. It seems that many athletes really care about these issues. That was the same message we got during the campus leafleting blitzes at the athletic centres at both York University and the U of Toronto. Thus we're particularly keen to know about and connect with groups working on campuses and around corporate sponsorships.

* * *

Vancouver, BC - Robert Strang

The Justice Do it NIKE! Coalition protested at 2 NIKE store locations. Thousands of people witnessed the largest of 4 NIKE protests since last autumn. About 30 people held placards, scrawled chalk slogans on the sidewalk, made up and performed songs and handed out leaflets. One skit was an advertisement for NIKE "Air Genocides." One person displayed the shoe to the crowd while the other gave a mock sales pitch linking East Timor to companies like NIKE. Also on sale were the NIKE Worker Kicker and the Sexual Harassment Cross-Trainer. At 4 PM ,15 of us proceeded to the NIKE store in Pacific Centre mall and started leafleting in the store. A mall security guard put one "pamphleteer" in a choke hold when he stated he wouldn't leave until the police came. The protester (not the security guard!) spent the night in jail and was released this morning without charges.

* * *

Chapel Hill (University of North Carolina) -- Jeff Jones and Marion Traub-Werner

We've heard here that Florida State is one of the many Nike schools where protests have been brewing. We're planning a campus speak-out on the Nike issue for Nov. 7, the day before UNC's big home football game against FSU, and we'd love to hook up with some folks from FSU.

* * *

Everett, Washington - Kat Overman

About 30 people showed up (which, in Everett, is a big crowd for something like this). We had wonderful signs that said, "Don't Do It, Nike," "Nike Unfair to Women," "Stop Sweatshops." We also had signs from the Snohomish County Labor Council that said, "A Family Wage Is a Family Value." About half the people we leafleted said that they do not buy Nike shoes and the other half were glad to be educated on the sweatshop issue. We got lots of support from the passers-by -- honking horns, waving and giving us thumbs up. All-in-all it was a very successful event!

* * *

Lehigh Valley, PA -- Gary Olson, Lehigh Valley Labor Party

About 16 protesters carried picket signs through the Lehigh Valley Mall until police made them leave. One participant wore a goblin mask and carried a sign that read, "Nike, now that's scary." Protests were at two Foot Locker stores and two other shops, all of which sell Nike products.

* * *

Madison, WI -- Ben Manski

We did some street theater and attracted a crowd.

* * *

Olympia, WA - Sonja Sivesind, Clint Burelson and Peter Bohmer

[The main protest in Olympia was on October 5, at a golf tournament sponsored by Nike.] The protest was organized by the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace and local social justice committees from religious groups in Olympia. This is the second year Nike has come to our town and the second year we have protested their visit. This year's protest which was more than twice as big as last year's demonstration. Over 150 people showed up this time, including some with giant puppets, stilt walkers and huge signs for drivers on the highway to read.

The Nike tour goes across the country and we would like to see protests in every city. We believe Nike is very vulnerable at their golf tournaments. The tournaments provide an opportunity to show the stark contrast between what Nike pays for grown men to play outside on a nice green landscape and Nike's refusal to pay a decent wage to young women working all day inside Nike factories.

[ from earlier sweatshop days, by Sara Norcliffe Cleghorn] "The golf links lie so near the mill that almost every day the laboring children can look out and watch the men at play."

* * *

Portland, OR - Justice. Do It Nike!

About 40 people protested at the Portland Nike Town. The event was the focus of an Associated Press story on the mobilization.

* * *

Salt Lake - DeNorris Bradley, the Salt Lake Chapter of Solidarity

Twenty enthusiastic citizens protested the Nike company's overseas labor practices. The protest - which took place at a busy intersection in front of a spoting goods store -- was warmly received by all those driving by. Nearly every motorist honked their horn in response to one of the posters which read, "Honk if You Hate Sweatshops." The demonstration was the turning point in the decision of three (new members) deciding to join Solidarity. The demonstration was one of the key stories of the local evening Salt Lake Fox News.

* * *

Santa Barbara (Paseo Nuevo) - John Hutchinson

I handed out 100 double-sided leaflets at the downtown mall in on Saturday. This was the first time I have passed out leaflets.

* * *

Seattle - Sarah Luthens

[There were two Nike protests in Seattle this month. This is a report on the larger event, on October 4.] There were about 50 rowdy protesters in front of NikeTown with our picket signs and very loud chants, despite the heavy rain.

* * *

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Dennis Grammenos, the Student Labor Support Network

About 60 protesters on October 17 urged the University of Illinois to demand that NIKE rectify conditions in its factories and allow nongovernmental organizations with a solid record in workplace monitoring to monitor conditions in such factories, or else to discontinue the University's affiliation with NIKE.

* * *

New York City - Jeff Ballinger, Press for Change

Both Jim Hightower and Michael Moore showed up at the leafleting action for the Manhattan Nike Town store.

* * *

Otautahi (Christchurch), Aotearoa (New Zealand) - Joe Davies

About twenty of us met in front of a shop on the main street, which was having a Nike sale. We got rid of 400 leaflets in the space of ten minutes. The protest linked the issues of sweatshop labour with:

* financial support for Suharto's dictatorship * repression in East Timor * job losses at home and in other unionized countries * the globalizing economy and its implications

Public response was among the friendliest I have ever experienced on a demo. Most people wanted information and most supported us in word or by honking, thumbs up, etc.

* * *

Boulder, CO - Divest CU

About 10 people leafleted the crowd coming into the home game. Two women carried a huge anti-Nike banner up and down the street through the crowd.

* * *

Wellington, New Zealand - Manu Caddie

An inner-city venue was used as a base with twenty or so fact sheets and articles on Nikes business practices, particularly in SE Asia. Leafleting was done outside the main sports-shoe stores promoting Nike, with one shop-assistant (who we gave the information to before starting) coming out and saying how shocked he was, that he supported what we were doing and shouldn't wear Nike clothes anymore. Most people were very interested and some had read of the situations in the newspaper and New Internationalist magazine.

In the evening we had a public meeting attended by 35 people, had a shared meal, then read from some of the articles and "Behind the Swoosh" book. After this we faxed the New Zealand Rugby Football Union. Rugby is our country's main sport and its administrative body are meeting next week to decide whether our national rugby team should swap sponsors from the NZ-owned Canterbury brand to Nike (Nike have offered the team $70million per year). We all faxed our opposition to this move in addition to a letter sent by the Free East Timor Coalition of New Zealand along the same lines.

We signed individual letters to Nike New Zealand CEO Richard Reid expressing our concerns and asking him to put pressure on Nike International. Then we watched two videos on child labour in Asia and called it a day.

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