• Nike is the number one shoe company in the world and controls over one-fifth of the athletic shoe market in the US.
• Nike discloses its factory locations and employs independent monitors to assess compliance with the company's supplier code of conduct, and for purchasing a majority of its energy needs from green sources.
• However, Nike critics maintain that these efforts do not go far enough to improve conditions for garment workers.
• There have been accusations of repeated labor violations at Nike supplier plants where employees are underpaid, overworked, and commonly face verbal and even physical abuse.
• Nike allegedly lied about conditions at overseas factories where their shoes and clothes are manufactured, in an attempt to guard the company from criticism for human rights and labor violations, and as a result the California Supreme Court ruled that Nike can be sued for false advertising after it was found that the company's statements in defense of overseas labor conditions were "commercial speech."
• Visit Go Green and find out how you can be sporty and sustainable.
-- Profile Updated 01/31/2011
Although mostly known for its athletic shoes, Nike also produces some casual and dress shoes and a line of sports clothing and equipment. Its products are sold throughout the US and in over 160 other countries. Based in Beaverton, Oregon, the company employs 26,000 people. Nike recorded $14.954 billion in revenues in FY 2006.
Clean Clothes Campaign
Nike has been one of the The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)'s prime targets. The CCC is an international effort to end labor abuses in the garment industry. The Campaign is carefully scrutinizing Nike's operations in Asia, particularly Thailand, India and China calling for living wages and fair working conditions in accordance with standards set by the International Labor Organization. The CCC asks comsumers to engage in correspondence with managers of the most notorious garment factories, as well as corporate decision-makers to oppose abusive working conditions. Other companies targeted by the campaign include, Fila; Reebok; Adidas; Puma and Wal-Mart.
Compensation for Hermosa Workers
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is calling for consumer action to get Adidas, Nike and Russell to address the wrongful termination of workers at the Hermosa garment factory in El Salvador. Managers at Hermosa closed the factory in May 2005 following the discovery that workers were organizing to form a union. Some machinery was taken to another non-union facility also owned by Montalvo and Hermosa closed its doors leaving workers without their due social security, pension and back pay. When workers applied for jobs at another collegiate producing factory called Chi-Fung, they found that they had been blacklisted. USAS is asking Adidas, Nike and Russell to pay workers their severance and ensure priority rehiring in response to blacklists. Take action by clicking on the URL below.
Nike Suspension at BJ&B Factory
According to United Students Against Sweatshops, 150 workers at the BJ&B garment factory in the Dominican Republic were suspended from their jobs due to a lack of orders. USAS states that "Nike is slowly but surely cutting and running from this factory that had an historic victory in 2003 and was the first factory with an independent union in the caribbean basin. It is imperative that NIKE make a commitment to factories where workers have improved conditions and provide steady orders at fair prices to the factory. In a global race to the bottom- BJ&B is being cut out of the industry." Click on the URL to take action now.
Bauer Nike Hockey USA, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Greenland, NH
- Bauer Sports Inc. - Montreal, Canada
- Canstar Sports Div - Montreal, Canada
Canstar Sports Div - Montreal, Canada
- Cole-Haan - Yarmouth, ME
- Converse Inc. - North Andover, MA
- Nike (U.K.) Limited - Sunderland, United Kingdom
- Nike Apparel - Beaverton, OR
- NIKE Canada Ltd. - Thornhill, Canada
- NIKE European Headquarters - Hilversum, Netherlands
- NIKE France S.A.R.L. - Saint-Ouen, France
- NIKE Germany - Morfelden, Germany
- NIKE GmbH - Vienna, Austria
- Nike IHM - Saint Charles, MO
- Nike Inc - Beaverton, OR
- NIKE International Limited - Kowloon, China (Hong Kong)
- Nike International Ltd. - Beaverton, OR
- NIKE International Ltd. - Solna, Sweden
- NIKE International Ltd.-Denmark - Kokkedal, Denmark
- NIKE International Ltd.-Italy - Casalecchio di Reno, Italy
- NIKE International Ltd.-Norway - Lysaker, Norway
- NIKE International Ltd.-Spain - Barcelona, Spain
- Nike Retail Services Inc. - Beaverton, OR
- Savier Inc. - Portland, OR
- SP Apparel, Inc. - Granby, Canada
Beaverton, OR 97005-6453 USA
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program was created in the early 1990s and collects old, worn out athletic shoes to be recycled into “Nike Grind,” a material used in athletic and playground surfaces as well as certain Nike products. The program has collected over 24 million pairs of used shoes and is one of Nike’s longest running environmental sustainability efforts. Anyone can recycle their used shoes through the program by bringing them to any US Nike retail store as well as some global Nike locations.
-- Nike, 01/17/2011
Source URL: www.nikereuseashoe.com/
In July 2010, Nike agreed to pay $1.54 million settlement to former workers in Honduras after a sub-contracted factory closed suddenly without paying any of its workers legally mandated severence pay. The settlement will also provide the workers and their families with a year of health insurance and provide assistance to help the workers find new employment.
-- Workers' Rights Consortium, 07/26/2010
Nike discovered major worker rights violations at the Hytex factory, one of its Malaysian contract factories. Investigation began after a report by an Australian reporter on "human trafficking on a major scale" of foreign workers at the factory was released. Nike officials found squalid living conditions within the factory, garnisheed wages, and learned that factory officials withheld the passports of foreign workers, making it impossible for them to leave. Many of the recent migrant workers in the factory initially paid a fee in their home country to get the jobs, and once they arrived in Malaysia, the factory held their passports. In addition, workers’ wages were withheld until a government required foreign worker fee was repaid. Nike has looked into the situation and said that the workers will be reimbursed for any fees and that in the future fees will be paid by the factory. Additionally, the workers will have immediate access to their passports and any worker who wishes to return home will be provided return airfare.
-- CBS News, 08/01/2008
In December 2005, the Ethical Trading Action Group (ETAG), in association with Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) and AccountAbility, released a report entitled "Coming Clean on the Clothes We Wear: Transparency Report Card." This report evaluates and compares 25 apparel retailers and brands on their efforts to address worker rights in their global supply chain. Retailers were rated in areas such as their compliance with International Labor Organization standards (ILO), methods of monitoring code compliance, steps taken to communicate thoroughly, effectively, and transparently to the public, and so forth. Retailers and brands were given a score 0 to 100. Nike earned a score of 69.
-- Maquila Solidarity Network, 12/01/2006
Source URL: en.maquilasolidarity.org/node/230
The Clean Clothes Campaign highlighted a series of worker rights violations in global garment supplier Paxar Corporation’s Turkish factory. The Turkish factory and Paxar Corporation have repeatedly tried to destroy trade union activity:
In early 2005, Paxar fired 11 workers shortly after a union successfully organized the factory and opened negotiations with Paxar. According to the Turkish High Court of Appeals' decisions, these firings were illegal and Paxar was ordered to reinstate all 11 workers. The company has yet to implement the High Court’s instructions.
In late 2005, the Turkish factory dismissed at least four trade union members. Ayce Bagbakar, who joined the trade union in March 2006, was fired in April 2006. The Clean Clothes Campaign states that these cases, which are still underway, “represent clear-cut unfair dismissals.”
In August 2006, Textile, Knitting and Clothing Industry Workers' Union of Turkey (TEKSIF) tried to negotiate with Paxar on issues such as wage and bonus payments. The Clean Clothes Campaign asks consumers to pressure brands that buy from the Turkish factory to express their disapproval over these labor violations. Turkish factory’s clients include Gap, Levi Strauss, Wal-Mart, Disney, Adidas, Puma, and Nike.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 06/20/2006
Source URL: www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/06-08-24.htm
Oxfam International’s report entitled “Offside! Labour Rights and Sportswear Production in Asia,” examines how twelve international sports brands are confronting worker rights issues in factories, particularly the right to form and join trade unions. The report highlights several case studies, including Jaqalanka (Sri Lanka), Doson (Indonesia), and MSP Sportswear (Thailand), all of which supply Nike products. Nike has had a proactive response, though delayed, to workers’ rights abuses in Jaqalanka and MSP. The case study of Doson showed the connection between Nike’s decision to reduce orders and negative impacts on working conditions and workers’ right to organize. While Nike expressed a commitment to ensure respect for trade union rights in its supply chain, Oxfam International expressed concerns about Nike’s commitment to tackling such a challenge. Oxfam International recommends that Nike:
- Regularly and publicly communicate their commitment to trade union rights
- Work with governments and unions to ensure that national legislation is present and effective
- Increase transparency to ensure their buying practices do not have negative impacts on workers and their right to organize
- Discontinue sourcing to Free Trade Zone
-- Oxfam, 06/01/2006
According to “Play Fair at the Olympics” a 2004 report by the Clean Clothes Campaign, a number of workers at an Indonesian factory producing for Fila, Asics, Puma, Nike and Adidas stated, “Pretty girls in the factory are always harassed by the male managers. They come onto the girls, call them into their offices, whisper in their ears, touch them at the waist, arms, neck, buttocks and breasts, bribe the girls with money and threats of losing their jobs to have sex with them.”
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 06/08/2005
In September 2004 Jobs With Justice and the United Steelworkers of America called on Nike at its annual meeting to end what the organizations contend is a systematic violation of workers' fundamental rights. The groups criticized Nike's ongoing devastation of Canadian workers and communities through plant closures and drastic downsizing. They also criticized Nike for its continued failure to police some of its Asian contractors' labor practices.
Nike acquired Bauer Nike Hockey, including three Canadian union-represented facilities, in 1995. The company announced in late 2003 that it will close two of these facilities and drastically downsize the third, a USWA represented facility in Quebec. By carrying out this restructuring, Nike will virtually eliminate union representation among its over twenty-four thousand employees around the globe.
According to CSRWire, "The United Steelworkers of America has obtained information through international labor allies that Nike is outsourcing Bauer work previously done at these Canadian facilities to a Thai contractor that is forcing employees to work overtime, exposing workers to excess heat and violating local wage laws. "
-- CSR Newswire, 09/20/2004
Source URL: www.csrwire.com/News/3049.html
In April 2004 four unions representing over three million workers in the US and Canada called on the United Nations to review Nike’s affiliation with the UN Global Compact because, according to the unions, Nike violates workers’ rights. The unions allege that Nike has violated the Global Compact’s Principle Three, that businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. At issue is the company’s ongoing restructuring at a Bauer Nike Hockey subsidiary. In 1995, when Nike purchased Bauer, the hockey apparel and equipment producer employed over 1,100 union-represented workers at three facilities in Canada. Bauer Nike Hockey announced plans to shut two of the facilities and drastically downsize the third. Aside from Bauer Nike Hockey, none of Nike’s over 23 thousand employees are unionized.
-- Common Dreams Newswire, 04/14/2004
Source URL: www.commondreams.org/news2004/0414-03.htm
A previously suppressed report on a 2000-2001 investigation conducted by the government of El Salvador and USAid revealed sweatshop conditions in Nike's Hermosa Factory. Paid just 29 cents for each $140 Nike NBA shirt they sew, workers, mostly women, are also subjected to mandatory pregnancy tests, obligatory overtime, seriously contaminated drinking water (bacteria levels 429 times greater than internationally permitted norms), and excessively high production quotas.
-- Wichita Business Journal, 10/12/2003
A 2000-2001 investigation of the Chi Fung factory in El Salvador by the National Labor Committee revealed that workers were forced into unpaid overtime until quota were met, female workers were forced to submit to pregnancy tests and unions were prohibited. The factory produced clothing for Nike, Puma and Adidas.
-- National Labor Committee, 01/01/2003
Nike, Adidas, Fila and Reebok were involved with a Thai supplier called Bed & Bath which closed down its factory in 2002 owing staff $ 400,000 in back pay. Workers claimed they were forced to work through the night and even drugged to keep them awake.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 12/04/2002
Source URL: www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/02-12-04.htm
A March 2002 report issued by Oxfam Community Aid Abroad stated that Nike workers in Indonesia are overworked and underpaid, but also said the company has taken steps to improve conditions in Indonesian factories. Nike said it welcomed the findings in the report, entitled 'We are not Machines', but also criticized the agency saying the information in the report was based on 35 interviews with Nike workers in Indonesia. The company says it has hired an independent body which has talked with 4,000 Indonesian employees and Nike has addressed all issues of non-compliance found from those interviews.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 03/01/2002
Source URL: www.cleanclothes.org/ftp/we_are_not_machines.pdf
In 2001 Global Exchange issued a report, "Still Waiting For Nike To Do It" that illustrates Nike's failure to live up to the six areas of reform at its overseas factories promised by Nike CEO Philip Knight in a speech before the National Press Club in 1998. The reforms included: protecting workers who speak out about conditions; investigating worker complaints and installing independent and confidential monitoring procedures; providing decent wages; scheduling reasonable working hours; providing safe and healthy workplaces; and respecting workers' rights for freedom of association.
-- Global Exchange, 05/01/2001
The Global Alliance, a watchdog group for factory workers, released a report stating that "Indonesian workers making Nike clothes and shoes are being sexually and verbally abused, have limited access to health care and are forced to work overtime." Workers at all nine of the factories investigated have reported physical, sexual, and verbal harassment and abuse. Nike has responded by developing a remediation plan to solve these problems that the company describes as "disturbing".
-- New York Times, 02/23/2001
Nike CEO, Philip Knight, canceled a $30 million gift to University of Oregon after the school joined the Worker Rights Consortium, an organization of students, universities and human rights groups which intends to monitor the factories in the developing world that produce college apparel.
-- Alternet, 04/25/2000
Ethics and Governance
According to Global Labor Strategies (GLS), major corporations including Wal-Mart, Google, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Nike, General Electric, and Intel are “acting through business organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the US-China Business Council,” to lobby against China’s Draft Labor Contract Law. This new law proposed by the Chinese government aims to secure minimal labor standards for workers, such as enforceable labor contracts, severance pay regulations and negotiating power over workplace procedures and policies. A GLS report entitled: “Behind the Great Wall of China: U.S. Corporations Opposing New Rights for Chinese Workers,” notes that while the law will not eliminate labor problems in China, it is an important step in improving a system where poverty wages, lack of health and safety protections, and the absence of any legal contracts are common for Chinese workers. Organizations representing US companies have threatened to withdraw business from China if such a law is passed.
-- Global Labor Strategies, 10/13/2006
In 2005, William D. Perez, CEO of Nike Inc, made nearly $17 million in total compensation including stock option grants from Nike.
-- AFL-CIO, 04/05/2006
According to OpenSecrets.org, Nike spent $450,000 in 2004 and again in 2005 lobbying lawmakers. The company has a history of actively involved in lobbying Washington against using trade policy to pressure China to respect workers' rights. In 2000, Nike executives made donations to David Dreier, the Republican whip involved in the successful push for China to be given Permanent Normal Trade Relations.
-- Center for Responsive Politics, 12/31/2004
Source URL: http://www.opensecrets.org/index.php
In February 2003, the Florida attorney general's office began investigating Nike Inc. for allegedly fixing the retail price of shoes and clothing.
-- New York Times, 02/19/2003
The Par Garment factory in Thailand supplies Reebok, Nike, Asics and Fila. Since its founding the factory has had a notorious record of workers’ rights violations. In 2000, international pressure resulted in the compensation of 30 union members and leaders who had been fired. In 2003, Par Garment filed for bankruptcy and the owners relocated to two non-unionized factories. Union members pressured the brand companies to provide compensation and back pay for former workers and jobs for any workers willing to relocate. The dispute between Par Garment and its former workers is still unresolved.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 02/18/2003
In May 2002, the California Supreme Court ruled that Nike can be sued for false advertising after it was found that the company's statements in defense of overseas labor conditions were "commercial speech," and therefore subject to lawsuits. Nike allegedly lied about conditions at overseas factories where their shoes and clothes are manufactured, in an attempt to guard the company from criticism for human rights and labor violations. In June 2003 the US Supreme Court dismissed a claim by Nike that the publicity campaign to counter allegations that it uses sweatshops to make its products was protected by the right to free speech.
-- San Francisco Chronicle, 05/02/2002
Source URL: www.cleanclothes.org/companies/nike02-05-02.htm
Three class-action lawsuits were filed against Nike by its shareholders, alleging that company executives sold stock just before poor earnings were announced and the stock price plunged. The lawsuits represent everyone who bought Nike stock between December 20, 2000 and February 26, 2001. Nike denies the allegations.
-- Associated Press, 04/05/2001
In February 2003 the Humane Society of the United States, rescue groups, breeders and the American Dog Owners Association asked Nike to pull or cut a television commercial which includes a brief shot of a Pit Bull and a Rottweiler attacking each other. The groups say the ad promotes illegal dog fighting and “reinforces negative stereotypes of the two dog breeds.” However, a company spokeswoman says the spot never shows the dogs biting and the dogs facing off were just part of the ad's “edginess, designed to appeal to a specific "hoop culture" that enjoys playing basketball.” She also said that the company chose a Pit Bull and a Rottweiler because that's what they had available. Critics of the advertisement argue that Nike intentionally used the two dogs mostly associated with street dog fighting. Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and a felony in 46.
-- Business Journal, 10/29/2004