Georgetown Students and Workers demand President DeGioia make Nike sign Code of Conduct

On Monday, August 1, 2016, a coalition of Georgetown facilities workers and Georgetown gsc letter deliverySolidarity Committee members delivered a letter to President DeGioia demanding that he pressure Nike to sign on to Georgetown’s Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is an agreement between Georgetown and its licensees that governs the labor conditions, that licensees must maintain in order to continue to work with Georgetown. Nike is the only brand that contracts with Georgetown that has not signed this agreement. This letter delivery is the latest in a string of actions, mostly taken by Athletes and Advocates for Worker Rights, to demand that Nike play by the rules.

When workers at a Hansae factory in Vietnam went on strike last November to protest sweatshop conditions, Nike banned the only independent monitoring organization access to their factories, the Worker Rights Consortium. Although the crisis in Hansae is just now being addressed by Nike, this is only the latest in a string of Nike’s deplorable human and labor rights abuses. Georgetown currently has the largest university contract with Air Joran, a Nike brand, and the administration has the ability to place safeguards in our policies to protect workers abroad.

        It is no coincidence that we decided to deliver the letter to coincide with the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  In his words, “If our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy.”  We demand that Georgetown honor its Jesuit values and stand with garment workers in Vietnam and across the world.  Additionally, as Georgetown works to address its role in the horrific institution of chattel slavery, we ask the University to contend with its continued complicity in racialized wage slavery through its contracts with Nike. For these reasons, we demand that Georgetown pressure Nike to sign the Code of Conduct, and if Nike fails to comply – sever ties in the name of worker’s rights.

IMG_0860 (1)

Labor Violations Documented at Nike Supplier Factory

This week, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) released a memo detailing labor violations found in a Nike supplier factory called Hansae, located in Vietnam. Because Nike is refusing to allow the WRC to enter the factory to conduct a full inspection, the memo is based on conversations with workers outside the factory. In order to provide a complete report, as well as make recommendations on how Nike should resolve these violations, the WRC is requesting that Nike assist the the organization in getting access to the factory. Students at Universities across the country have been demanding this access since workers initially went on strike in October, however Nike is continuing to refuse.

Following the Hansae workers’ strike in October 2015, Nike assured Universities that the violations had been resolved. However, seven months later, the WRC has reported that workers are being verbally harassed, workers are fainting on the job, workers are being denied sick leave, are being forced to work overtime, and workers have restricted access to toilets, among other egregious violations. Clearly these are types of violations  Nike is trying to hide when denying the WRC access to any of its 680 supplier factories. We can only wonder what other violations the brand is trying to cover up.

These violations are not only inhumane, but they are direct violations of University Codes of Conduct. Over the last 20 years, students have ensured Universities uphold only the highest labor standards for brands that make their college-logoed apparel. Workers fainting on the job, or being harassed by management is a clear violation of these university standards. Schools across the country should cut their contracts with Nike unless the brand agrees once more to independent monitoring by the WRC and remediates the conditions at the Hansae factory.

Although Nike only sources 8% of the apparel made in the factory, the Hansae factory employs roughly 10,000 workers, meaning these violations could be impacting as many as 800 workers sewing Nike apparel. This is unacceptable and now it’s more evident than ever that Nike needs to allow the WRC to monitor its factories. Join with students and faculty from around the country who say enough is enough – Nike, #JustDoTheRightThing for your workers.

Georgetown President Holds Nike Accountable

Big news! After months of pressure from students, athletes, and faculty, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia just became the first University President in the country to hold Nike accountable to fundamental labor rights. Georgetown, which holds the largest Air Jordan contract in the country, has notified Nike that the brand must agree to Georgetown’s Code of Conduct in order to continue as the school’s athletic sponsor. Included in this Code of Conduct is obligatory monitoring of supplier factories by the Worker Rights Consortium.

As a founding member of the Worker Rights Consortium, we are proud that even 15 years later, Georgetown remains committed to ensuring its licensees and sponsors are transparent about its working conditions, and cooperate with independent monitoring. Now the choice is up to Nike: allow the WRC to inspect your factories or lose the right to make Hoya apparel. Which school will follow Georgetown’s lead?

Read the full story here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.21.59 AM

Univ. of Texas Administrators Choose Profits Over People

Students at the University of Texas at Austin, are continuing to build their campaign against Nike. Although students and faculty have been demanding for months that Nike be held accountable to basic labor compliance, UT top administrators are instead choosing to let Nike’s $250 million, 15-year agreement silence them.

Prior to the group’s “speak-out,” UT administration heard directly from former Nike factory worker, Noi Supalai, but refused to accept the validity of Noi’s story before hearing from Nike representatives. “Nike didn’t pay the factory and therefore we didn’t get paid for months…Nike did not meet with us and instead, they pulled all of their orders from the factory leaving us in a bad position,” Supalai shared in the meeting. Despite Noi’s story of her and her coworker being refused wages and being detained within their factory, UT administration made clear they trusted Nike to ensure these types of conditions are addressed in supplier factories going forward. But is this any wonder given that these same administrators pocket thousands of dollars as part of the school’s lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike? Administrators at the University of Texas may have been silenced by Nike’s profits, but students and faculty have only just begun their campaign. UT PRIDE, SWEATSHOP SHAME.



Members of UT USAS following a vigil to honor workers suffering at the hands of Nike.


Students Protest Nike’s $169M Deal in Michigan

From Ann Arbor to East Lansing and Grand Rapids, former Nike factory worker Noi Supalai, shared her story with students and faculty across the state of Michigan to urge schools to take action against Nike. Following the speaking event at the University of Michigan – whose upcoming contract with Nike is worth $169 million – students and faculty marched to President Schlissel’s office to demand he ensure Nike either reverse its policy on independent monitoring or be refused the right to make Wolverine apparel in the fall.

At Michigan State University, Noi told the crowd, “When I heard that Nike was trying to monitor its own factories and reject the WRC I was angry. Nike just can’t be trusted to do this, I know from experience.”

After hearing Noi’s story, students across the state made a commitment to join her in the campaign to hold Nike accountable to independent monitoring by the Worker Rights Consortium.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Northeastern Schools Join Efforts Against Nike

Former Nike factory worker, Noi Supalai, met with students from across the Northeast to discuss the importance of independent monitoring in light of Nike’s long history of labor rights violations. Students from Rutgers University, NYU, Northeastern, Tufts, Clark, and Emerson, all committed to support Noi’s efforts to hold Nike accountable after she discussed how WRC intervention ensured that she and her coworkers were paid after being abandoned by Nike at their factory in Thailand.

Rutgers University students highlighted that their school’s contract with Nike is expiring in June. The students are demanding their school not renew its contract with Nike unless the brand commits to facilitate WRC access at its supplier factories.


Campaign Builds at Alma Mater of Nike CEO, Mark Parker

From Penn State University to Villanova, Bryn Mawr, and Ursinus College, hundreds of students came out to hear from former Nike factory worker, Noi Supalai.

At Penn State, Noi said, “’I would like everyone to support each other in campaigning for Nike to be monitored,’… ‘Nike says it has humanity, that it has morality; this is not true. Nike has to be monitored, because otherwise, it will take advantage of workers who are producing for them.'”

Students at Villanova considered Nike’s position on independent monitoring against the Catholic social teaching – questioning the brands ethics if it refuses to allow workers access to an important resource like the Worker Rights Consortium. The students plan to take their concerns to University President, Father Peter.

Outrage Over Nike’s Labor Practices Builds in the South


Students at Virgina Tech and Appalachian State University turned out in big numbers to hear from former Nike worker, Noi Supalai. Following the event at Virginia Tech, students marched to the office of President Sands to demand he sever the school’s contract with Nike if the brand doesn’t ensure its supplier factories are accessible to the Worker Rights Consortium. At Appalachian State University, over 200 students learned the truth about Nike’s unfair labor practices. Students in the South say enough is enough – Nike just do the right thing!

Former Nike Worker Joins Global Labor Leaders at United Nations

Today, Noi Supalai, former Nike worker from Thailand, spoke to a crowd of global labor leaders as part of the Commission on the Status of Women conference at the United Nations. Noi shared her story of how she and her coworkers formed a union to combat Nike’s refusal to pay owed wages.

Also on the panel was Kalpona Akter, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, and comrades of the late Berta Caceres, who was an inspiring indigenous activist in Honduras. All of the presentations had one thing in common: global brands and corporations must be held accountable to the rights of working people. A brand like Nike, who has a long history of human rights and labor violations in countries around the world, including Honduras and Bangladesh, simply can’t be trusted to monitor the working conditions in its own factories. Until workers in Nike supplier factories everywhere earn a living wage and have the right to organize, workers around the world will continue to unite to take back power.




What Is Nike Trying to Hide?

Nike has decided it will no longer compel any of its supplier factories to be accessed or inspected by independent auditing organizations like the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). Not only is this a blatant violation of college and University codes of conduct, but this will have a devastating impact on garment workers across the globe who rely on the ability to communicate with the WRC when their basic rights are violated in the workplace.

Nike has a long history of documented labor and human rights violations, including unpaid wages, violence towards women, anti-union retaliation, and factory fires, among others. In fact, it was violations at a Nike supplier factory in Mexico which led colleges and Universities to take action to ensure independent monitoring in the first place.

If the WRC is refused access and the ability to inspect Nike’s supplier factories, the public will have no way of knowing whether college-logoed apparel is being made under sweatshop conditions. Nike is notorious for its labor violations, and therefore can’t be trusted to voluntarily monitor its own factories with any credibility. And more than that, workers need the ability to speak up when they are paid poverty wages, face violent union retaliation, or are refused safe factory conditions.

The choice is up to Nike now: either let the WRC in, or lose the right to make clothes for colleges and Universities.

Nike, just do the right thing