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The article, “Nike: From Sweatshops to Leadership in Employment Practices”, begins by explaining how Philip Knight is a “self made billionaire”. He is worth $7.3 billion and used to sell shoes out of the trunk of his car in 1964. In the 1990’s Nike combated allegations concerning subcontractor labor and human rights violations. According to the case study, critics viewed Nike’s response as nothing more than a public relations, damage-control stunt, rather than a sincere attempt at labor reform.

Although Nike is known as a footwear company, one-third of its revenue comes from apparel manufactured in Asia. Because of Nike’s increasing size of operations and costs, suppliers in Korea and Taiwan have had to subcontract with cheaper labor markets in third-world countries. The case study states, according to Nike’s corporate responsibility report, the pool of suppliers came from seven hundred factories in fifty countries. Since 1990 labor rights activists and media have criticized Nike for human rights violations. Indiscriminate hiring and firing practices, deficiencies in health and safety conditions, and low wages are some of the accusations faced by Nike. According to the case study, several cases of human rights abuse were revealed in Indonesian factories. In Vietnamese factories, unacceptable standards of chemical levels caused employee health problems.

In 1998, because of boycotts, picketing and universities, Nike’s revenue and stock prices dropped fifty percent. Since Nike had established a code of conduct in 1992, their initial reactions to specific criticisms was laize faire due to the fact the company didn’t own the factories in question. In 1996 Nike chairman Philip Knight claimed responsibility regardless of where Nike products were produced, but denied the sweatshop issue. At this time Nike began an extensive public relations



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