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Saturday, June 22, 2024
12/15/2009 - Crossword Solution

12/15/2009 - Crossword Solution

End ties with Nike

Recently, the UW Labor Licensing Policy Committee voted 7-2 to suggest Chancellor Biddy Martin take written action against Nike for their violation of UW labor codes. Disregard for labor policies from big corporations is nothing new, particularly with apparel contracts here at UW. In the past, Martin and the LLPC have made their attitudes toward this disregard for human rights known, and it has led to the termination of several UW apparel contracts. This incident with Nike is no exception to previous policies and decisions, and the administration needs to act accordingly. Rather than just sending a scathing letter to Nike, we must take the steps necessary to terminate our contracts with the company.

This most recent dispute comes after the closing of two Nike factories in Honduras, both of which manufactured apparel with the Wisconsin logo. After being terminated in January with no compensation, the workers at the factories are owed a collective $2.1 million. Nike has refused to pay the workers. In a situation like this, UW cannot afford to let this sort of corporate power go unchecked. As a Big Ten university, we have the ability to significantly alter sales for big companies by ending contracts involving our logos. Terminating these contracts shows we will no longer stand for big companies exploiting their low wage workers, and it will hopefully influence companies like Nike to think about the quality of life of their employees rather than their own bottom line.

We should not be wearing apparel meant to represent our Wisconsin pride that is manufactured in such undignified conditions. Weighing the relative importance of inexpensive apparel and human rights should be a non-issue. The touchier balancing act is realizing that the immediate effects of breaking contracts may result in unemployed workers rendered incapable of providing for their families. This case with Nike addresses a different issue, however. Our protest is based on Nike's failure to fairly compensate former employees, people who worked hard and are now being taken advantage of. We must keep pressuring multinational corporations to treat their employees as humans.

It is one thing to call a company out on its ethical gaffes, but in this case it is not enough. Nike will not change its ways until its own bottom line is affected, and for this reason UW must drop Nike for not adhering to the fair policy of paying workers for their jobs.



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