According to a recent article from Fast Company, a new generation of protesters are taking on Nike, following a rash of factory malfeasance allegations, which include “mass fainting, wage theft and padlocked exits.”
The world’s biggest sports apparel manufacturer stopped allowing independent inspectors in their plants in 2015, opting to perform the inspections on their own (always a good idea). And since, according to the story, “there have been reports of terrible working conditions inside these factories.”
The reports include a heinous incident in Cambodia, where “500 workers inside a plant that supplies products to Nike, Puma, Asics, and the VF Corporation were hospitalized after fainting out of exhaustion and hunger as a result of working 10-hour shifts, six days a week, in 98-degree heat.”
And, according to the story, the Workers Rights Consortium snuck into a Nike plant in Hansae, Vietnam, where they documented “a string of alleged abuses… including wage theft, forced overtime, restrictions on the workers’ use of toilets, exposure to toxic solvents,” and those aforementioned padlocked exit doors.
The public response, however, has been encouraging. In addition to protests, six big-time college athletics programs have dropped Nike as a sponsor since August. “This is not the first time we’ve fought Nike,” said Angeles Solis, a national organizer for USAS said. “And in the past, we’ve beat them.”
So, after 16 years of image rehabilitation — a process that included increased factory monitoring and developing an amicable relationship with human rights groups — Nike’s once again back in the hot seat, and it’s pretty much all their fault. And unlike those metallic Air Max 97s, these allegations are a ‘90s callback that no one asked for.
You can read more about it at Fast Company.