Garment Workers are Speaking Out – Will Nike Listen?

Shelton Stromquist
Shelton Stromquist is Professor of History University of Iowa and past President of LAWCHA. He is the author of Reinventing "the People": The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem and the Origins of Modern Liberalism and numerous other works.
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Today marks the first day of our countrywide worker speak-out featuring Noi Supalai, a former union President and Nike worker from Thailand. While manufacturing apparel for Nike, Noi and her 1,100 coworkers were subject to harassment and fought to receive unpaid wages. Nike ignored the demands of workers until the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) intervened. Noi’s story is just one of thousands that prove Nike can’t be trusted to monitor conditions in its own factories.

We know what Nike is trying to hide in its supplier factories, and now Noi is sharing it with the country. Donate now to support Noi’s journey to expose Nike’s sweatshops.

For months, Nike has been claiming it has never, and will never, support independent monitoring organizations accessing and inspecting its supplier factories. But history shows, WRC intervention has been critical for workers who are refused owed wages, subject to violent anti-union retaliation, or are denied safe working conditions. Nike’s heard this from USAS members, from a growing number of our Universities, and now Nike can hear it from one of their own former employees — but will Nike listen?

But is this any surprise given Nike has also recently been targeted by athletes in Kenya and is being investigated by Kenyan authorities for bribery. As a student-athlete myself, I find this news disturbing, and it only serves as further proof that Nike can not be trusted. Given Nike’s continuing controversies, I no longer feel comfortable wearing my Nike uniform at school, and I’ve been encouraging my administration to take action to hold the brand accountable.

Nike can not be trusted to monitor conditions in its factories. We need your support to beat back the brand’s biggest attack on its workers in 20 years.

Noi has traveled all the way from Thailand to lead us in this fight. You can stay updated on the campaign, and find a tour stop near you at NikeSweatShops.org.

Nike, just do the right thing.

Solidarity,
Isabelle Teare
Athletes and Advocates for Workers Rights
Georgetown University