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Urgent: Action in support of Nike workers in Mexico
by chuck
Friday Feb 23rd, 2001 12:12 PM
Workers Rights in Nike factories...What a CROC!!
Some folks from Cal Students Against Sweatshops will be meeting at Niketown in SF today to protest Nike\'s lack of action in regards to workers rights, especially freedom of association, at Kukdong in Atlixco Mexico(which produces clothing for Nike under contract with many universities in the US - UCB, Michigan, USC, etc..)

We will also be joining up with the anti--FTAA action today in an effort to get word out about what is currently happening at the Kukdong factory as well as in an effort to stop the FTAA and get folks to come out to a big statewide action next Sat., March 3 at noon at the SF Niketown(called for by CalSAS and allies, there will also be a southern Ca action at Kukdong\'s offices in LA)

read on for more info about Kukdong...

Immediate Alert from Kuk Dong Struggle,
February 23, 2001:
FROC CROC planning
by chuck
Friday Feb 23rd, 2001 12:16 PM


It looks like Kukdong isn't the only source of scandal
sitting on the shelves of the cal student store!
"the abuses Nike admitted to in the
report - physical assault and harassment, sexual
abuse, very low wages,
poor health and safety, and even death." Nike lists a
factory in the same city where workers were
interviewed as producing Cal clothing!
<http://www.nikebiz.org/labor/disclosure.shtml>
A note- I really wonder if Nike's claims that they
don't control enough of the production in the
factories are accurate, since one of their hired guns
tried to pull that re Kukdong, until we pointed out
that their _own report_ said they controlled 85% of
production. hmm...
jon


--- LIVINGWAGES [at] aol.com wrote:
> Asian Wall Street Journal
> February 21, 2001
>
> Nike Report Cites Violations In Indonesian Plants
>
> By SHU SHIN LUH
>
> Limited access to medical care, fondling of
> assembly-line workers by factory
> managers and forced overtime are widespread among
> Nike Inc.'s Indonesian
> contract factories, according to a candid report
> funded by the international
> sporting-goods giant to be released today.
>
> Workers in one Jakarta factory told researchers from
> the nonprofit
> organization Global Alliance that female job
> candidates were asked to trade
> sexual favors to gain employment. At another
> factory, a manager threw a book
> at a worker when she was slow to bring materials to
> the sewing division. And
> most of the 4,004 factory workers interviewed feel
> coerced to work overtime
> even though Indonesian law says it should be
> voluntary.
>
> Nike, which has been accused of buying from
> ill-managed sweatshops and being
> evasive in its responses to criticism, plans to ask
> for independent
> verification of the problems raised by the report.
> The company also is
> promising to make it easier for workers to report
> abuses.
>
> The report, a third in a series, set out to learn
> more about factory workers'
> aspirations in their careers and family life. But in
> the course of interviews
> with workers Global Alliance researchers uncovered
> compliance violations. The
> report was solely funded by Nike's $7.8 million
> research grant to Global
> Alliance. Both Nike and Global Alliance officials
> reiterated that the group
> isn't a monitoring organization.
>
> Global Alliance's reports on Thai and Vietnamese
> workers in Nike contract
> factories released last year came under fire from
> labor activists world-wide
> who criticized the group for focusing on soft issues
> such as education and
> skills training instead of investigating compliance
> violations such as
> harassment and overtime abuses.
>
> In the past, critics saw Nike's relationship with
> Global Alliance more as a
> salve to public opinion than an effort to improve
> working conditions. "They
> had taken the most important issues, the questions
> about current workplace
> conditions, off the table," said Dara O'Rourke, a
> professor at the
> Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of
> Nike's harshest critics. "We
> weren't sure what it was or what Nike gets out of it
> if it didn't do
> monitoring."
>
> "It's good that they added in compliance issues,"
> Mr. O'Rourke added.
>
> For this report, Global Alliance conducted hour-long
> interviews with 6% of
> the 53,810 workers at nine factories including seven
> footwear factories, a
> sports-equipment factory and an apparel factory.
> Nike buys goods from 35
> factories in Indonesia. It doesn't own a stake in
> these factories. Workers'
> and factories' participation in the survey were
> voluntary. Dusty Kidd, Nike's
> vice president for corporate responsibility, said
> the factories surveyed
> tended to be ones already attentive to workplace
> conditions and employee
> health issues.
>
> Even so, 56% of the 4,004 workers interviewed on
> factory sites told
> researchers they witnessed supervisors abusing their
> co-workers verbally. And
> 15.7% of workers said they observed sexual touching.
> Another 13.7% said they
> saw physical abuse. In one factory, managers
> punished tardy workers by making
> them clean toilets or run around the factory
> grounds. Physical abuse tends to
> escalate, workers told researchers, when managers
> are under pressure to meet
> production goals.
>
> According to the report, workers also said they
> believed two deaths in two
> factories were work-related and tied to the denial
> of medical attention. Most
> factories have on-site health clinics. However,
> close to 90% of interviewed
> workers expressed concern about these facilities,
> saying they believed
> medication wasn't always available. Workers also
> said it was difficult to get
> time off to visit the clinics. Many women said they
> couldn't get the two-day
> menstrual leave to which they are entitled under
> Indonesian labor laws.
>
> While the findings came as no surprise to Nike, Mr.
> Kidd said they were
> "troubling. No worker should be subject to some of
> the working conditions
> reported in this assessment. . . . But we now have a
> baseline to work with."
>
> In a 40-page response to Global Alliance's report,
> Nike said it plans to ask
> one of the monitoring groups accredited by the Fair
> Labor Association, a
> U.S.-based consortium of labor activists,
> corporations and government
> officials brought together by the White House, to
> independently verify
> incidents of compliance violations. A grievance
> process should be in place to
> allow workers to file complaints without fear of
> retribution. Some factories
> in Indonesia, Mr. Kidd said, already have this
> forum.
>
> Compliance issues are easier to monitor at footwear
> factories where Nike is
> often the sole contractor, said Tammy Rodriguez,
> Nike's senior corporate
> responsibility manager in Indonesia. At apparel
> factories, Nike is often one
> of half a dozen contractors, giving it less leverage
> to implement change.
> Five years ago, Nike began taking steps globally to
> improve the work
> environment, shifting footwear manufacturing from
> petroleum-based solvents to
> safer water- and detergent-based processes. Other
> changes have been put in
> place, Mr. Kidd said, partly because of the negative
> publicity the company
> received.
>
> Mr. Kidd's department was formed in 1996. It hired a
> health management firm
> to address health concerns with factory clinics.
> Nike has six full-time
> staffers in Indonesia who investigate compliance
> issues. However, Ms.
> Rodriguez acknowledged it is almost impossible to
> monitor each worker in
> every factory every day.
>
> Critics who slammed Nike's past evasiveness in
> disclosing workplace
> conditions haven't seen the report yet, but from
> what they have been told
> they cautiously commended Nike for its transparency.
> Still, they worry that
> the public has no tools to hold Nike accountable for
> its promises to improve.
> Global Alliance "can't make Nike do anything because
> they're not a monitoring
> organization," said Bama Athreya, deputy director of
> the International Labor
> Rights Fund, which sits on the FLA board with Nike.
> "Why not invite local
> NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) trained in
> monitoring to come in and do
> a code of conduct investigation?"
>
> But both Nike and Global Alliance say their
> relationship is a productive one.
> "We look at other dimensions of workers' needs,"
> said Kevin Quigley, Global
> Alliance's executive director. "While it's hard for
> an environment with
> harassment to have any kind of developmental
> program, we want to go beyond
> just compliance. There are many organizations that
> already do monitoring."

by chuck
Friday Feb 23rd, 2001 12:20 PM
SATURDAY MARCH 3, 2001: NIKETOWN actions.
ex: In California there will be two major Niketown
protests. All the schools from Northern Cal(contact
Sara Suman(USF)- usf_usas [at] hotmail.com) will be in San
Francisco and all the schools from Southern
Cal.(contact: Chrystine Lawson(UCSB)-
savvsis [at] yahoo.com) will be in Los Angeles.

**THIS IS IT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!! ** California
has decided to do state-wide days of action, and WE
NEED YOUR HELP!!! This is our time-let's do it
together! Peace and Love always!

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