NIKE OFFERS GIRLS LEAGUES; CRITICS TAKE AIM AT NEW REFORMS
Nike yesterday announced plans for a girls basketball
league in all 10 WNBA markets, according to W.H. Stickney of
the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The program, geared toward girls age
eight to 18, "is an extension of Nike's successful
grassroots initiative to increase awareness and interest for
women's basketball" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/20).
NIKE REFORMS: In a N.Y. TIMES op-ed, Bob Herbert writes
on Nike's planned labor reforms, "Let's not be too quick to
canonize Nike." While there is "both merit and a lot of
smoke" in Nike Chair Phil Knight's recent child labor
initiatives, the "biggest problem with Nike is that its
overseas workers make wretched, below-subsistence wages,"
which Nike failed to address. Nike "blinked last week
because it has been getting hammered in the marketplace and
in the court of public opinion." But the company's "current
strategy is to reshape its public image while doing as
little as possible for the workers. ... Nike's still got a
long way to go" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21). In an op-ed piece in
USA TODAY, Lorraine Dusky writes that while Nike "can give
away dazzling, multimillion-dollar piles of money to dozens
of athletes ... surely it can afford to pay a living wage to
those who make the shoes." Despite a 15% raise this year,
Nike workers "are faring poorly." Dusky adds, "[W]hether I
like it or not, my Nikes and I are at least partly to blame
for the current crisis in Indonesia, no matter how far
removed it all seems from us" (USA TODAY, 5/21). S.F.
attorney Alan Caplan, a lead figure in CA's public-interest
lawsuit against Nike which claims false advertising and
unfair business practices, said Nike's recent initiatives
"won't affect our litigation" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19).