NIKE TO JACKSON: RUN, JEESE, RUN -- AWAY, PLEASE
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).