12E.6.5a USAS Nike Summer Conference 2018
Photograph of United Students Against Sweatshops demonstrating for workers' rights violations.
What do you notice about the contrast between sources 4 and 5? Note the date of this press release — 2017, close to 20 years after Nike’s updated code of conduct. What does this tell you about Nike’s determination or its success in holding its contractors to fair labor practices? Given what you’ve read about the choices made by Georgetown University and University of California, what role do you think the consumer has in responding to these reports of workers’ rights violations? In a global economy where there is no mechanism for enforcing international labor standards, who, if anyone, should take responsibility for ensuring labor rights? What level of responsibility does a factory and its country have for guaranteeing labor rights? Is it acceptable to make workers’ rights less important than profit? What does this source tell you about how individual workers are affected by global business?
The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent monitoring group that assesses labor rights in workplaces around the world to ensure that university apparel is made under fair labor conditions. The WRC was established in 2000 by universities, international labor rights experts, and student groups. The United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is a member of this consortium. Students may want to compare the WRC to other international organizations that attempt to safeguard workers in the era of globalization (such as the United Nations / International Labour Organization). Consider using this source as an opportunity to discuss with students the criticism of globalization that it exacerbates inequality in the world, allowing multinational corporations like Nike to turn great profits while the workers and factory management enjoy a tiny fraction of the same profits.