Just DON'T do it.
September 4, 2000 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Just DON'T do it. In findings that Nike admitted were "concerning", the Community Aid Abroad-Oxfam Australia report revealed that, not only were female workers only paid $2 per day, despite legal entitlement to menstrual leave each month, they were forced to pull down their pants in front of the factory doctor to claim that leave.
posted by murray_kester (4 comments total)
Roughly, the anti-sweatshop campaign aims to get Nike to do the following, with regard to its factory workers in Asia:

1) provide a living wage;
2) provide safe working conditions;
3) ensure the right to organize unions;
4) allow genuinely independent monitoring of factories.

Just to clarify, the Nike factory wage is 1.25 US dollars a day (= approx. 2 Australian dollars) See this page to put those numbers in context. Global Exchange calculates that the living wage in Vietnam and China is approximately 4.00 US dollars a day. With last year's profits approaching US $1 Billion, Nike could easily afford to pay this.

For more information:
NikeWages.org is Jim Keady's site devoted to Nike labor issues (and his mission to live off $1 a day in Indonesia while documenting working conditions there)
Global Exchange's anti-sweatshop campaign has done a lot to improve conditions for Nike workers in the last few years; see their Nike section
The report mentioned in the article is from NikeWatch, an Oxfam Australia project.

posted by johnb at 9:54 PM on September 4, 2000

I need to buy a new pair of shoes, but I don't want my money supporting some wealthy fat-cat-rat. Do any clothing/footwear manufacturers pay their workers a decent wage?
posted by ArtieGorFunk at 10:43 PM on September 4, 2000

Good question. For "walking" shoes, try:

Vegetarian Shoes -- UK and international
Aesop Shoes -- United States
Pangea's Shoes -- United States
Vegan Wares -- Australia

For athletic shoes, there is not a great deal of difference among the mainstream brands, but see this page for a rough comparison.

As far as clothing is concerned, Maggie's has the highest standards. Among large companies, Patagonia slightly better than average.

In general, you might find this comparison tool helpful (at the moment it's less helpful than it could be, because many companies have refused to supply the relevant data).

There are also general "responsible shopping" sites such as Ethical Shopper and Sustainability Store.

Needless to say, the most "responsible" kind of shopping is no shopping at all!
posted by johnb at 12:33 AM on September 5, 2000

First of all, I agree the workers are being ripped off. However, I think some people need to put some things into perspective, the horrible multinational corporations actually pay quite well compared to "local companies". At the unversity I work in Thailand there is a human rights program and through my dealings with the department, I have found out that Reebok Thailand look after their workers quite well, they have a human rights officer and are "somewhat concerned about worker safety", the wages and benefits are reasonable and a lot better than local Thai companies. They also let outsiders in to inspect the conditions.Sure I'm cynical and I know that the only reason they gave a shit about the workers is that they are worried about what the people in western countries think about their workers, but at least they do.So if you are thinking to yourself, I won't buy something for that horrible multinational corporation as they exploit the people in Indonesia, then I hope you don't buy anything else from Indonesia as there is a far higher chance that the local Indonesian comapny screwed around their workers more than the horrible multinational.
posted by jay at 1:17 PM on September 5, 2000

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