(en) Congressional sign on letter to Nike

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Sat, 25 Oct 1997 16:45:09 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 11:56:53 -0700 (PDT) To: Campaign@igc.org.for.Labor.Rights.E-mail.list From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Congressional sign on letter to Nike

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

Congressional Sign-On Letter to Nike

REQUESTED ACTION: Please call your Congresspeople at 1-888-723-5246 (toll-free number) and ask them to sign the letter to Nike now being circulated by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) See press release, below. In the first 10 minutes of circulating the letter on the House floor, Rep. Sanders got 19 signatures.

Note: Reps. Sanders and Kaptur are NOT calling for Nike to shut down its Asian factories in order to provide jobs in the U.S. Both of these Congresspeople believe that Nike has a responsibility to do right by its existing workforce. The intent of their letter is that Nike should clean up its sweatshop practices in Asia and should include the United States among the sites for new expansion of production.

October 24, 1997

For Immediate Release

Congress of the United States House of Representatives Washington DC 20515-4501 Bernard Sanders

Member of Congress Vermont, At Large 2202 Rayburn House Office Building Washington DC 20515-4501


Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) announced today that they are circulating a letter for co-signatures to members of Congress addressed to Nike CEO and President Philip Knight. The purpose of the letter is to ask Mr. Knight to meet with members of Congress to discuss how his company can move forward to treat its Third World workers with respect, dignity, and decent wages and start manufacturing athletic shoes in the United States.

The Sanders-Kaptur letter states, "As members of the United States Congress we are deeply disappointed and embarrassed that a company like Nike, headquartered in the United States, could be so directly involved in the ruthless exploitation of hundreds of thousands of desperate Third World workers, most of whom are women."

Furthermore, the letter continues, "According to Forbes magazine, as the primary owner of Nike you are now one of the wealthiest people in the world - worth over $5 billion dollars. Sadly, while your personal wealth continues to grow, you maintain a labor strategy which pays workers in Asia pennies an hour."

Importantly, Sanders and Kaptur are also urging Knight to begin consideration of how his company can invest in sneaker factories in the United States. They pointedly stress; "While Nike employs hundreds of thousands of people around the world to manufacture shoes, virtually none of these manufacturing workers live in the United States. Nike has led the way in abandoning the manufacturing workers of the United States and their families as it produces its products in low-wage Third World countries."

"As we see it, you want American workers and their children to purchase your shoes," Sanders and Kaptur underscore, "but you don't believe that they should earn a living wage by manufacturing them. In community after community across America, as the real wages of American workers continue to decline, there are working people who desperately desire decent-paying jobs. Nike could play an extraordinary role in rebuilding the manufacturing base in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; Toledo, Ohio; Los Angeles, California or any of a thousand other cities. Yet, Nike travels the world in search of the cheapest possible labor and turns its back on the very people you want to buy your products. Apparently, Nike believes that workers in the United States are good enough to purchase your shoe products, but are no longer worthy enough manufacture them."

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