Just Do It... or forever hold your peace!
"When we go to battle and win, we say Nike," No, this is not a quote from Michael Jordan.
what a soldier in ancient Greece might have said before battle. The soldier's reference would be
to Nike, the winged goddess of Victory. She symbolizes courage and success. Do you see the
entendre" a little French for ya (the double meaning).
She was the ultimate, the Victorious. Isn't that what Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi and all the
A-list sports figures symbolize? And isn't it a coincidence that they all endorse NIKE, the shoe
company we all know and... well, we all know. Not only do they endorse the company, they
away with huge profits from the shoes they endorse. Funny that NIKE's mission statement is "to
number one sports and fitness company in the world." Funny you say? Why is this so funny? Well,
the best of the best someone has to pay the price, right? And you might not like your favorite
sneakers so much once you hear the price NIKE pays to be number one!
Let's take a little field trip shall we? Off to Indonesia we go to find out more about the people
who stitch and sew that "swoosh" onto your favorite shoes. Now, NIKE does not own the
the shoes are made. They contract to various factory owners. NIKE says its job is to market the shoes,
not to make them. But, surely they have a hand in the design, the materials and the price they will
pay for the shoes to be made? To get this all done, the workers face a 60 hour work week with
few breaks, endure verbal and physical abuse from those higher up, and for all this glory they get
paid a whoppin' $30 a month. Now,
there are standards for "living wages," around the world. What are they you might ask? Well,
living wage is one that covers the needs of a family, not just one worker. An Indonesian study says
that $37.50 a month is a living wage for one person. Imagine that an extra $7 is enough for a living
wage. Now, NIKE pulled in $8.7 billion in revenue in 1998, yet they can't pay their workers a
little more? Hmmm... somehow these numbers are just not adding up.
NIKE sure isn't "playing by the rules!" After much media pressure NIKE "got in the
game", so to speak. In May of 1998 NIKE announced it would allow independent monitoring of its
factories. However, the firms they hired to monitor the factories are for-profit accounting firms who
just might be looking out for NIKE's best interests and NOT the workers. Another initiative was
formed in April of 1999 bringing together several businesses, public and non-profit organizations that
involve local NGO's (non-governmental organizations) to survey workplace conditions and issues.
However, this initiative is too new to have yielded benefits. So, what to do? It sounds like NIKE is
ready to play ball and clean up their act, but until then there is still much work to be done. We
should therefore keep the pressure on. So, let's get NIKE to get back to it's roots and live up
to it's name!
Here's how you can help:
- Don't buy NIKE products
- Send a letter to NIKE CEO Phil Knight: Tell him you are unhappy with their labor practices.
- Join a NIKE protest
- Send letters to your Senators urging them for their help
Here are some great resources to get you started:
Just do it!!