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Assignment on Nike and alleged human rights violations

Course Code: EM 556 Course Title: International Marketing Submitted By: Nahid Rijwan [ID: 3-09-17-033]

During the past decade many companies facing human rights controversies have learned the hard lesson that human rights advocates, the media, and consumers will no longer be satisfied until they see real and verifiable change not only in company policy but also in company conduct.

Nikes alleged violations:


Plaintiff Marc Kasky is a California resident suing on behalf of the general public of the State of California under Business and Professions Code sections 17.204 and17.535. Defendant Nike, Inc. (Nike) is an Oregon corporation with its principal place of business in that state; Nike is authorized to do business in California and does promote, distribute, and sell its products in this state. The individual defendants (Philip Knight, Thomas Clarke, Mark Parker, Stephen Gomez, and David Taylor) are officers and/or directors of Nike. In 1996 accusations were made that Nike's Asian factories were sweatshops where workers were underpaid and mistreated. The allegations included: i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. Salaries were less than required by local law and/or below subsistence level; Working conditions were unsafe and protective clothing was lacking; Forced overtime was used; Workers were fired for becoming pregnant; Workers were prohibited from talking with co-workers; Workers were fired for seeking to improve working conditions or for going on strike; A Taiwanese factory manager lined up 125 assembly-line workers and slapped them with the sole of an athletic shoe; A Korean factory manager made workers lick the factory floor as punishment; and Workers at one factory were forced to run around three warehouses for punishment; a dozen fainted in the 100-degree heat. Based on these factual allegations, plaintiffs first amended complaint sought relief in the form of restitution requiring Nike to:

Disgorge all monies acquired by means of any act found to be an unlawful and/or unfair business practice. Requiring Nike to undertake a Court-approved public information campaign to correct any false or misleading statement. And to cease misrepresenting the working conditions under which Nike products are made.

Nike Corporate Values:


Nike set out its three core corporate values the strands that compose its DNA. For Nike, these corporate values are: 1. Authenticity: Nike is authentic in everything it does. 2. Athletic: Nike appeals to serious athletes. 3. Performance: Nikes products must meet the highest specs. From this three-legged model, Nike identified its widest access point: the joy in sports fitness thats available to everyone. In other words, Just do it.

Since the issue of labor exploitation in Asia was brought to the media spotlight, Nike has assumed a policy of reformation for its abuses. However, these changes have not come about as quickly as many would have hoped. Nike seems to be dragging its feet with regards to the issues at the heart of the problem: paying a minimum wage allowing workers to afford basic human necessities and granting workers the right to form independent labor unions. It appears that these issues are the ones which will have the greatest effect on Nikes ability to maintain its cheap labor force, and therefore it is economically understandable that the corporation is slow to remedy the problem. Many human rights organizations, however, are not certain that Nike will ever make these changes. They feel that Nike is only taking actions to reform its factory practices because they were caught red-handed abusing poverty-stricken workers. Many are of the opinion that once the public relations nightmare is over for Nike and the media exposure subsides, the shoe and clothing apparel company will revert back to its exploitative ways. While Nike and its CEO Phil Knight ardently deny these accusations, one can only wait and see if Nike will make the additional necessary changes to grant their factory workers the rights that many feel they deserve.