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Nike Sweatshops Essay - 865 Words

When Phil Knight and the rest of the top officials at Nike were given the 1997 reports regarding the human rights and labor violations being committed in their Asian factories, it was very clear that they were going to have to take swift action to remedy the situation. The fact was that "shoes and clothing are only the secondary products of the fashion industry. What [Nike] primarily sells is image. For Nike to have its image associated with sweatshops in Asia was more than an embarrassment; the revelations threatened sales" (Sweatshop Agreement, Part 1). The shoe and apparel producer could not afford to continue to see its name dragged through the mud. Sales were dropping and Nike was being portrayed in the media as a company who was willing to exploit workers and deprive them of the basic wage needed to sustain themselves in an effort to expand profits.

The first initiative was to stop the use of a toxic adhesive called toulene. Toulene has been found to cause harmful effects among workers who are not properly guarded from the poison and the fumes that it emitts. In its place Nike researchers created a water-based adhesive which has no such side effects. While the safe adhesive is not perfect for use in all shoes (especially plastic soled cleated shoes), Knight assured the public that Nike would continue its research and by the end of the 1998 calendar year would have all Nike factories meeting United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards in indoor air quality. To assure this, Nike stated that it will conduct indoor air testing of all footwear factories and follow-up testing where required. These tests will culminate in a final report made by an independent non-government organization (NGO). Each factory will be given three months from the date the final report was made to make corrections to bring the air quality levels to those set forth by the OSHA.

Nike sweatshop Essay Example for Free

Nike Sweatshops Essays 1 - 30 Anti Essays

In the article Sweat, Fire and Ethics by Bob Jeffcott is trying to persuade the people and tell them how sweatshops are bad.

Many people in our society today are constantly asking, "Why do sweatshops exist?" The answer to this question is that companies like Nike and Wal-Mart use sweatshops to produce their goods for a much cheaper rate, to reduce the cost of their products.

The second argument against the AIP document was that it allows for as few as ten percent of a company’s facilities to be subject to an annual inspection in an initial three-year implementation period and only five percent of factories a year thereafter. In addition, the corporations themselves are allowed to choose the facilities to be inspected. While the Executive Director of the Association has the power to modify the company’s list (although "there shall be a general assumption in favor of the Participating Company’s suggested list of Applicable Facilities"), a firm such as Nike will always know in advance which plants will be inspected ("Preliminary Agreement"). Human rights groups such as UNITE feel that by no means does this assure consumers that all of the factories being used for production are up to basic standards. The non-signers of the agreement also felt that the Association’s annual public report could potentially mislead the public since it would be based exclusively on information provided by the company and its monitor’s own review of the factories.

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Eighteen and one half months later the AIP returned with a document that only a subset of the taskforce had agreed upon. Both unions in the Partnership (UNITE and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a human rights group, refused to sign the "Preliminary Agreement" that had come forth from the subset. These dissenters believed that these documents proved corporations such as Nike were only involved in the AIP for a public relations boost, not to make substantial changes in their behavior. They felt that "Nike has trumpeted its involvement in the AIP as evidence of its moral leadership, all the while stonewalling on several key issues of its labor practices" (Sweatshop Agreement, Part 1).

Nike has had some problems with its reputation due to the location of its suppliers and the linkage of Nike to sweatshops.

Moreover, this is proven as the English Blog states that: “Annually, almost 75% of Nike workers in Indonesia quit due to the deplorable work conditions.” (English Blog RSS) Additionally, the English Blog also says that, “Sweatshop workers earn 1/2-1/4 less of what they need to pay off transportation, food, shelter, energy, education and clothing.” (English Blog RSS) This is very unfortunate as it leaves almost nothing left for workers to use towards the enjoyment of life....

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Nike sweatshop Essay - 1148 Words

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In addition to Nike’s own corporate initiatives, they became big players in the formation of the Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP). The AIP was brought together in October of 1996 by the Clinton administration during the tenure of Labor Secretary Robert Reich. It incorporates representatives of the apparel industry, human rights groups, and labor unions, including Nike, Liz Claiborne, Reebok, Phillips Van Heusen, Business for Social Responsibility, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, the National Consumers League, the International Labor Rights Fund, and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights. Not directly participating in negotiations but affiliated with the organization are L.L. Bean, Patagonia, Nicole Miller, and Kathie Lee Gifford. The AIP was formed because of the public uproar from media reports of sweatshops being the core producers of products such as Nike apparel and shoes, The Gap clothing, and Kathie Lee Gifford’s clothing line sold at K-Mart.

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The paper responds to the following tasks: Explain Nike's mission, vision and values in about 1990, and critically analyze the basis of Nike's competitive advantage at that time....

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