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NIKE TO JACKSON: RUN, JEESE, RUN -- AWAY, PLEASE
Published July 23, 1996
Nike "rebuffed" attempts by Rev. Jesse Jackson to tour one of its Indonesian shoe factories, saying it didn't want to give him a "bully pulpit" to attack the company. Jackson is visiting the country to examine the working conditions in foreign companies. Nike's rejection "contrasted sharply" to the response of Reebok, which flew an executive to Jakarta to give Jackson a factory tour. In a letter, Nike's int'l trade counsel, Brad Figel, said the company allow "unbiased observers" to visit its facilities frequently. Figel continued, "Unfortunately, our previous experience with the Rainbow Coalition leads us to believe that your visit would lack that unbiased approach" (AP/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 7/21). BUSINESS WEEK visited factories run by Nike's Taiwanese, South Korean and Indonesian subcontractors. Despite some improvement, Nike "still has a long way to go before it lives up to its stated goal of providing a fair environment for all." Mark Clifford notes, "Although Nike's image is that of an on-the-edge rebel that likes to tweak authority, it has not challenged the Indonesian government. As rumblings from workers grow louder, Nike would do well to be as much of a trendsetter in labor as it is in footwear fashion" (BUSINESS WEEK, 7/29).