Nike’s Hot Air

Nike Shox R4 (+) retail price $200 ** Retail store $100 Nike $66 Transport & taxes $10 Manufacture costs $7.20 .


Nike Shox R4 (+)

retail price $200 **

Retail store $100

Nike $66

Transport & taxes $10

Manufacture costs $7.20

Materials $16

Wages $0.80

** Canadian dollars

Rating: NNNNN


Labour rights activists released a report this week that continues to cite appalling working conditions at factories contracted by Nike in Asia. Unlike the catchy “Just Do It” promos, the sportswear giant has been decidedly lead-footed in cleaning up its own labour act – despite promises.

WHAT THE LATEST REPORT ON NIKE SAYS

Workers continue to suffer from respiratory illnesses due to vapours from toxic chemicals at up to 177 times the legal limits for exposure.

Women who ask for unpaid menstrual leave are subject to humiliating examinations by factory doctors.

Workers involved in union activity continue to be dismissed, jailed or physically assaulted.

Employees are often required to work more than 60 hours a week.

Soldiers hired as security guards have been involved in unprovoked attacks on workers.

CELEBRITY STATUS

Total value of Nike’s annual revenues: more than $9 billion*

Annual value of pro hoopster Michael Jordan’s promo contract with Nike: $20 million

Number of Canadian athletes sponsored by Nike: about 500

WORKERS’ STATUS

What workers who make Nike products in factories in Asia earn: about $2.30 a day/$56 monthly

What workers who live in factory dormitories are able to save after living expenses: about $9.70 a month

What it would cost Nike to double the annual wages of its 80,000 factory workers in Indonesia: $20 million

THE VICIOUS CYCLE

Subcontractors eager to win lucrative Nike contracts undercut competitors to the point where they can’t afford to pay workers a living wage.

THE HEALTH HAZARDS

Toxic substances used in the manufacture of Nike shoes:

Sulphur hexafluoride, a global-warming gas used in cushioning in Nike-Air products

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contains known carcinogens and heavy metals as well as endocrine disrupters

Petroleum-based solvents

STEPS NIKE’S TAKEN TO RESPOND TO CRITICISMS

Set up 30-person division to monitor alleged abuses in 900 factories contracted to make Nike products abroad

Is phasing out, reducing and/or eliminating the use of harmful compounds in shoes and apparel

WHAT ACTIVISTS SAY

Nike, as the world’s largest sports and fitness corporation, can easily afford to put in place programs to protect the workers who make its products.

WHAT NIKE SAYS

“We have a system in place that continuously improves as we get more data and learn more about this. We work with independent monitors who work with NGOs. We’re firmly committed to our code of conduct. Unfortunately, there are occasions when something else happens, and we work to correct those situations. With (certain) publications we never get our point of view across no matter how much time we spend doing interviews.” Nike Canada spokesperson Michelle Noble

* All figures in U.S. dollars

Sources: Nike, Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, Clean Clothes Campaign, Maquila Solidarity Network

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