Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nike Can't Do Anything To Stop Worker Abuse?

The Associated Press is reporting that workers who make Nike products in Southeast Asia continue to be abused and that Nike says it can't do a thing in the world to stop the abuse. Here's the AP report in brief:

Workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia say supervisors throw shoes at them, slap them in the face and call them dogs and pigs. Nike, the brand's owner,admits that such abuse has occurred among the contractors that make its hip high-tops but says there was little it could do to stop it.

Dozens of workers interviewed by The Associated Press and a document released by Nike show that the footwear and athletic apparel giant has far to go to meet the standards it set for itself a decade ago to end its reliance on sweatshop labor.

That does not appear to explain abuses that workers allege at the Pou Chen Group factory in Sukabumi, some 60 miles from Jakarta. It didn't start making Converse products until four years after Nike bought Converse. One worker there said she was kicked by a supervisor last year after making a mistake while cutting rubber for soles."

The astonishing aspect of this report is not that it is happening. Third World countries have third world conditions and attitudes. They also have labor so cheap that American companies with a serious lack of integrity and morality can say something as stupid as "there was little [we] could do to stop it." That's just bullshit! Nike could cancel its contract and move its factory to a country where these abuses don't take place--a country like ours. It could somehow begin to believe that enormous profits at any cost put a price on the soul of the company.

As the Nike marketing people are fond of saying: Just do it!

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