(en) Nike campus activism

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Tue, 4 Nov 1997 16:54:33 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 16:37:39 -0800 (PST) To: Campaign for Labor Rights E-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Nike campus activism

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 Campus Activism

Students, faculty and staff at a number of universities are protesting their schools' contracts with Nike. Some of these are multi-million-dollar, wall-to-wall contracts covering virtually every team in the athletic department. Some are for only selected teams. In one case (the University of Ottawa), the contract is with faculty of the Human Kinetics Department, to do product research for Nike ice skates. Also, students at the University of Wisconsin are concerned about their school's contract with Reebok and would like to link up with students at the Nike-contract campuses.

We encourage activists at different schools to communicate with each other and share information. Following are some of the contacts we have developed. Please notify Campaign for Labor Rights if your school has a Nike contract and is not listed below. We would like to work with you.


University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill): Marion Traub-Warner, Jeff Jones and Todd Pugatch mtraub@email.unc.edu, jwjones@email.unc.edu, pugatch@email.unc.edu

Penn State University (College Park) Adam Black , ajb188@psu.edu

Florida State University (Tallahassee) Ed Dandrow, edandrow@mailer.fsu.edu

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Rich Goff, RWGJR@aol.com

Arizona State University (Phoenix) Andy English, aenglish@crl.com

University of Arizona (Tucson) James F Tracy jtracy@U.Arizona.EDU

Brock University (Niagara Falls, ON) Blain Butyniec, corduroy@niagara.com

University of Colorado (Boulder) Ann Krohn Rick, Ann.Rick@colorado.edu

University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON) Genevieve Rail, genrail@uottawa.ca

University of Oregon (Eugene) Ben Unger, asuovp@gladstone.uoregon.edu

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Dennis Grammenos, dgrammen@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu

University of Kentucky (Lexington) Kyle Browning, browning@cjnetworks.com

University of Wisconsin (Madison) Ben Manski, brmanski@students.wisc.edu

University of California (Irvine) Alain Dang alain@ea.oac.uci.edu


If you are uncertain whether any teams at your school are covered by a Nike contract, a simple phone call to the athletic department should get you the information you need. If the contract covers only select teams, write down which teams are included, noting whether each is a men's or women's team.

Next, you should try to get hold of a copy of the contract. If your state has an open-records law, this should be easy. It's generally been simple for students to get a copy of the contracts. These tend to be similar from campus to campus. Make special note of an provision which seems to limit freedom of speech by university staff or athletes. Also, try to find out exactly how much money some of the coaches stand to make personally from the contracts they sign with Nike.


If you are a concerned individual, not part of an organization working on the Nike sweatshop/Nike contract issue, your next job is to find allies. Two steps are helpful:

1) Write a letter to the editor of the campus paper, expressing your concerns and giving a way for other concerned people to contact you.

2) Go to the building where campus organizations have their offices and start asking questions. If there is not already a student group working on this issue, there almost certainly is one which would be interested in adding this issue to the list of causes which it promotes. Check out whether there already is a labor action group on campus.

3) Once you have a core group or have found a pre-existing organization willing to take up the Nike contract issue, start to make alliances with other campus organizations, such as:

Asian student groups African American student groups Latin America solidarity groups Amnesty International East Timor Action Network (ETAN) Women's groups The graduate teaching fellows union or association Other unions representing campus staff Progressive faculty Community-based organizations and union locals

Remember when seeking allies: If you are asking them to show support for your cause, you need to show support for theirs. When you have a rally, make sure that representatives of your ally organizations have a chance to speak and to draw the connections between Nike sweatshops and the issues they are working on.


Some of the athletes on these teams may resent having to become walking billboards for a logo which is synonymous with sweatshops. In all of your publicity, extend an invitation to those people of conscience who happen to be on the teams with Nike contracts.


Campaign for Labor Rights has a Nike action packet, constantly updated. It is available free via email and in hard copy for $5.00. Notice that the "resources" section of the action packet lists a number of articles and alerts on Nike in our document library. We can send any of these articles to you via email.

Subscribe to our free email Nike labor alerts service (see below) and become a member/subscriber to our hard copy newsletter, which covers all of the major sweatshop and child labor campaigns.

As we receive information from you, we will put together a special Nike action packet for campus activists.


Nike has some very smooth talkers who are traveling from campus to campus, handing out handsomely printed packets of disinformation. If a Nike public relations rep asks to have a private meeting with your student government association, request that Nike critics also be allowed to attend. Contact Campaign for Labor Rights by phone or email so that we can talk about how to deal with Nike's PR machine.

If you attend the meeting with the Nike rep, get a copy of Nike's packet and read it carefully.


If your group can find the money for an airline ticket, Campaign for Labor Rights can arrange for a speaker to come to your campus to talk about the campaign to win justice for Nike's production workers. There is no speaker's fee.

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