“The Human Lives Behind the Labels”, by Bill Bigelow

“Made by slaves of poverty for slaves of fashion.

The labels represent the hard work of everyday life.

For pennies an hour, these children work in dank sheds, stitching soccer balls with the familiar Nike swoosh and logos of other transnational athletic equipment companies.

“Nike knew exactly what it was doing when it went to Pakistan. That’s why they located there. They went because they knew child labor was an ‘ages-old practice.'”

The race to the bottom

minimum wage, child labor laws, environmental regulations, conditions for worker organizing, and corporate tax rates.

In the frenzied competition of the auction, they had created some pretty nasty conditions because the game rewarded those who lost sight of the human and environmental consequences of their actions.

Adrian suggested that “people could go on an area-wide strike against downward leveling and stand firm to let Capital know that they won’t go for it.”

the Nike Code of Conduct

Nike’s production can help build thriving economies in developing nations.

Nike promises to abide by local minimum wage laws but never promises to pay a living wage;

The company also promises to obey “local environmental regulations” without acknowledging how inadequate these often are.

There is a young girl

who lives in a shoe.

Phil Knight makes six million

she makes just two.

When Nike says “just do it”

she springs to her feet,

stringing her needle

and stitching their sneaks.

With Nike on the tongue,

The swoosh on the side,

the sole to the bottom,

she’s done for the night…

When will it stop?

When will it end”

Must I, she says,

toil for Nike again?

Daneeka: “when I was first confronted with the assignment, it really didn’t disturb me. But as I have thought about it for several weeks, child labor is a form of slavery. As a young black person, slavery is a disturbing issue, and to know that Nike could participate in slavery is even more disturbing.” “Even I will continue to wear your shoes, but will you gain a conscience?”

The world is full of many masks, the hard part is seeing beneath them.

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