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NIKE MIRED IN MORE LABOR PAINS IN WAKE OF VIETNAM REPORT
Published April 1, 1997
Thuyen Nguyen, founder of Vietnam Labor Watch, issued a 12-page report on Thursday detailing labor conditions at Nike's plants in Vietnam, according to Jeff Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN. USA TODAY was the first to report the details in Thursday's editions. Nguyen: "Nike is not enforcing or monitoring very carefully. They're just going through the motions." Manning wrote although Nike execs "have constantly said the company's well-being depends on cheap overseas labor," Nguyen thinks Nike's policies "may be putting the company in harm's way." Nguyen: "They're making a lot of money. I don't know what they're thinking about to risk this incredible franchise" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/28). Nguyen: "Nike has a good code of conduct. If it wants to, the company could enforce that code" ("Business Tonight," CNBC, 3/27). Hsu Chin-yun, a factory manager at a Nike subcontractor in Vietnam who had been suspended last week following the release of the report, has been charged with abusing employees (USA TODAY, 4/1). AH, JOHN, THIS IS WHY JOBS ARE LEAVING THE U.S.: The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER'S Paul Davies questioned Nike sponsored coaches and programs in Indianapolis at the NCAA Final Four about the report and noted that most people interviewed "were either unaware of the report or did not care." Idaho State AD Irv Cross: "I haven't really thought about it." Temple Coach John Chaney: "Why are you going to pick Nike? Every company does it. You should focus on the bigger problem of jobs leaving America." More Chaney, in response to suggestions that Michael Jordan could influence Nike to change policies: "What the ... is Michael going to do? Now you are going to pick on Michael. Why should he stick his neck out and risk his endorsement deals? You got a ... problem with Michael making money? Michael should pick up every ... dollar possible. If you want to go after someone, go after Bill Gates." Asked by Davies, NBA VP Brian McIntyre said that it "was the responsibility of companies, not athletes to do the right thing." McIntyre: "This is a Nike business issue" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 3/31). MORE REAX: In a N.Y. TIMES Op-Ed, Bob Herbert: "Rather than crack down on abusive conditions in factories, Nike has resorted to an international public relations campaign to give the appearance that it cares about workers" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE/N.Y. TIMES, 3/31). Nike Dir of Labor Practices Dusty Kidd: "Bring us information we can use, and we'll do our damndest to correct any situations that are wrong" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/1). ESPN's Charley Steiner added that Nike was "kicked right in its swoosh" by the "scathing report" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/27).