Nike, the “Sweatshop” Debate
Nike is now one of the leading marketers of athletic shoes and apparel on the planet. Nike just designs and markets its products, and it subcontracts the manufacturing of the products to outside sources. The company operates overseas the effectiveness of monitoring the workplace is less effective but the company would save money by paying lower wages to the workers. The workers here don’t share in Nike’s huge profits. Nike has been dogged for more than a decade by repeated accusations that its products are made in sweatshops where workers, many of them children, slave away in hazardous conditions for less than subsistence wages. Many reporters, TV shows, companies and organizations have repeatedly exposed negative comments towards Nike. Some reports showed that Nike hired millions of workers who are literate, disciplined, and desperate for jobs at wages lower than minimum wage, and the majority of Nike shoes were made in Indonesia and China, countries with governments that prohibit independent unions and set the minimum wage at rock bottom. The Ernst & Young report painted a dismal picture of thousands of very young women, laboring overtime in excessive heat and noise and in foul air, for below--subsistence wages. The report also found that workers with skin or breathing problems had not been transferred to departments free of chemicals and that more than half the workers who dealt with dangerous chemicals did not wear protective masks and gloves. Nike stated that it had formulated an action plan to deal with the problems cited in the report. Nike had staff members in each factory monitoring conditions to make sure that they obeyed local minimum wage and child labor laws. The company stated that it had slashed overtime, improved safety and ventilation, and reduced the use of toxic chemicals. Nike formulated a number of strategies and tactics to deal with the problems of working conditions and pay in...
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