Copyrighted material

Nike's Track Record

by Alan Pittman

to main article, "Sweaty Sneakers"
Here's a summary of Nike's dismal track record:

Newspaper of Indonesian trade union publishes investigative report exposing poor working conditions at a South Korea-based shoe company producing for Nike.

Articles appear in Indonesian newspapers about wage protests at Nike contractors, Tae Hwa and Pratama Abadi. (Wage at the time, 86 cents a day -- most shoe factories paying illegal "training wage.")

Rise of Setia Kawan (Solidarity) independent trade union -- subsequently crushed by Indonesian authorities after less than a year.

Strikes at Hardaya Aneka and Pratama Abadi factories in Indonesia.

Indonesian daily Media Indonesia runs three-day report on abuses at shoe factories. Headline second day: "World Shoe Giants Rape Worker Rights."

Thames TV (UK),The Economist and Knight Ridder report on poor working conditions at Nike contractors in Indonesia.

The Oregonian prints lengthy article on Nike's Indonesia operations -- Phil Knight (Nike CEO) writes angry denunciation.

U.S. State Department report to Congress on Human Rights highlights shoe factories' refusal to pay Indonesia's minimum wage.

Nike formulates "Code of Conduct and Memorandum of Understanding" for contractors.

Sung Hwa protest leaders fired after 10-week investigation by local security forces -- included intimidation and interrogations.

Critical reports in New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Economist and Jakarta Post.

Sneaker campaigns undertaken in Holland, Italy and Germany

Strike at Pou Chen Indonesian factory.

CBS-TV (US) broadcasts highly critical report on Nike-contractors' labor practices in Indonesia.

Extensive Indonesia sweatshop report in The Rolling Stone.

Nike hires accounting firm, Ernst and Young to do "social audits" at Indonesia-based contract factories.

Donald Katz' book Just Do It characterizes Indonesian operations as "management by terror and browbeating." CEO Knight appears with Katz for Portland book-signing.

Press for Change study in Indonesia documents wage cheating by employers.

Strikes at Pou Chen, Pratama Abadi, Nagasakiti Paramshoes and Tae Hwa factories in Indonesia.

Major investigative reports in Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune expose poor working conditions at Nike's Indonesia factories.

Manager at Pratama Abadi factory making Nike shoes lines up and slaps 15 women from quality control section.

U.S. A.I.D.-sponsored research finds that more than 500 workers at Nike-producing factory in Majalaya, W. Java report problems such as forced overtime and illegal wage deductions.

Strike leads to dismissal of 13 activists at Pou Chen.

Washington-based Multinational Monitor names Nike to annual "Ten Worst" list.

Portland organization, Justice, Do It Nike, begins regular protests at Nike store.

New research by Press for Change in Indonesia uncovers widespread violations of Nike's own "Code of Conduct."

Fair labor advocates submit "anti-sweat" resolution to Nike shareholders meeting.

Kathie Lee Gifford controversy brings unprecedented media attention to sweatshop issue.

White House forms "Apparel Industry Partnership" to deal with sweatshop issues. Fired worker from Nike-producing factory in Indonesia is denied chance to speak at AIP's founding conference.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is refused visit to Nike-producing factory while in Indonesia.

Canadians and French send hundreds of thousands of protest post cards to Nike.

Brutal political and labor union crackdown in Indonesia.

Nike sends five-page letter to universities across North America to "explain" child labor controversy.

Phil Knight, Nike CEO becomes sixth richest person in U.S. with $5.3 billion (all from shoes/apparel).

Several Nike shoe contractors in Indonesia apply for exemptions from paying new minimum wage in Indonesia. Increase is from $2.25 to $2.46 a day.

Strikes by thousands of Nike-producing workers in Vietnam.

Portland's Jobs With Justice helps to organize big May Day protest at Nike store.

Nike hires former UN Ambassador Andrew Young to tour Asian factories. Young uses Nike translators and his report is viewed by fair labor advocates as shallow and unhelpful.

Protests conducted at new Nike store openings in Seattle, San Francisco and Boston.

Massive protest and three-day strike at Garuda Indawa factory in Indonesia.

Asian economic crisis and crash of Indonesian currency brings Nike contractors' per-day labor cost down from $2.50 a day to $.70 per worker.

Campaign for Labor Rights organizes world-wide day of protest concerning Nike's labor practices. Actions in 50 cities.

Berkeley-based Transnational Resource Action Center releases report documenting severe health problems at Nike shoe factory in Vietnam.

Student protests against Nike links with universities erupt at University of Illinois, Penn State, University of North Carolina, Colorado, Florida State, Michigan and others.

Phil Knight vows to eliminate hazardous chemicals from shoe production.

Unions leave White House panel on sweatshops due to irreconcilable differences on monitoring and reporting compliance. Filmmaker Michael Moore interviews Phil Knight for movie, "The Big One."

Nike announces pay increase (25 percent) for Indonesian shoe workers, but adjusting for high inflation, worker wages are still 30% behind mid-1997 figure.

Michael Jordan, Nike's premier endorser, makes the first of several promises to visit Asian production facilities.

Julia, a worker at Nike-producing "Formosa" factory in El Salvador, is beaten and fired for taking a day off to care for her sick child.

Hero of E. Timor independence struggle, Jose Ramos Horta, likens Nike contractors' operations in Indonesia to Japanese occupation of the archipelago.

Joseph Ha, a top advisor to Phil Knight, sends letter to highest-ranking labor official in Vietnam portraying "anti-sweat" activists as enemies of the state with a "political" agenda.

Government survey of 175 businesses in Vietnam shows that shoe factories have largest wage/salary disparities (line workers compared to management).

Under pressure from students, Nike agrees to disclose factory locations where university-licensed apparel is being produced. Vietnam survey shows that worst manufacturing pay rates are in footwear sector.

Nike increases advertising spending by 53 percent for coming year.

Nike factory in Vietnam was scene of country's largest food-poisoning incident of the year.

Indonesian official links bribe-taking by police and military to low wages paid to factory workers.

UO joins the Worker Rights Consortium, a sweatshop monitoring group started by labor and student activists.

Phil Knight angrily cancels planned $30 million gift to UO.

Comments? Send a letter to the editor.

Albion Monitor July 24, 2000 (

All Rights Reserved.

Contact for permission to use in any format.