Nike Sweatshops Slavery or Opportunity? Nike-Helping the poor Thesis- In the past Nike has had problems with sweatshops, but the company is helping the poor and has changed in many ways. I. Problems A. Worker wages 1. How much they get paid 2. Can they fulfill their basic needs 3. Can they support a family B. Quality of environment 1. Conditions they live in 2. Type of protection they use against harm 3. Chemicals or solvents they used to make a product with II. Improvements A. Sweatshops 1. What are the conditions after improvements? B. Chemicals . What do they use these harmful chemicals for? 2. Any protection? 3. Are they harmful to the environment? C. Wages 1. How much can they get paid now? 2. Can they fulfill their basic needs now? 3. Can they support a family now? III. Helping the poor A. Gives them jobs 1. What other options do they have? 2. How much do they need to survive? B. Keeps them away from bad things 1. Lists of bad things they can do instead of a job IV. Nike as of right now A. What they so far changed 1. Chemicals 2. Environment 3. Treatment B. Worker conditions 1.
Are they cleaner and easy to handle? C. Worker wages 1. Are they happy? Conclusion-Nike has made many mistakes with sweatshops, but they are offering poor people jobs and can help the poor from doing worse things. Nike plays an enormous role in our youth fashion and athletic attire and has a huge role in our world’s economy and the global effect it has on our earth. Working in the enormous Nike factories around the world is an opportunity to help these people survive. It is not slavery; it is a chance for the poor to get a job and support their families.
Nike said they would change their practices and they have. Nike had a few steps to get back into the game. The first step was to identify the problems such as workers’ wages, working environment and then make the improvements, and while doing that they were helping the poor. In the past, Nike has had problems with sweatshops, but the company is helping the poor and has changed in many ways. Nike had many problems they needed to solve and the company was getting harassed about these problems. The first and most well known problem was the workers’ wages.
Most of the workers did not get paid enough. The workers could not even support a family; therefore each person in the family had a job or starved (Connor). The workers did not have enough money to feed their families a decent meal or even pay their bills. The essentials in life that one needs couldn’t be filled by the wages that Nike paid. For example, “In 1996, Nike was not even paying their Indonesian workers the minimum wage. ” (Global Exchange). That is pretty harsh because in 2008 Nike made $18. 6 billion dollars in profit.
Nike can afford to pay more to the workers and the factory, so it helps out the little man in this situation. Another problem Nike had was that the working conditions were poor and barely passed inspection. The conditions were horrible. Chemicals and solvents were everywhere, and the factories needed to have a big meeting with Nike about this hazardous problem (Turner). In 1997 when it was revealed that workers in one of its contract factories were being exposed to toxic fumes at up to 177 times the Vietnamese legal limit.
Although Nike claims that its factories now meet OSHA standards, it gives factory managers advance notice of testing, giving them considerable scope to change chemical use to minimize emissions on the day the test is conducted. (Connor) Nike knew about these problems and did not say anything until they got caught with this accusation. Nike should have known better than to let harm to come to their workers that have been honorable and trustworthy to Nike. Nike was getting blamed for many things such as harsh conditions. They also needed to clean their act up.
The workers were outraged and the whole world had seen the little boy making the soccer ball for Nike. The world was shocked and wanted Nike to do something about this. The company had a plan. On May 12, 1998 the CEO of Nike, Phillip Knight, had a huge press conference with the world. Phil Knight said that there were “some fairly significant announcements” about Nike’s factories and the conditions that needed to be changed as well as some of their policies; these come to be known as the “May 12 Promises” (Connor). There were six promises total: the first promise was that all of the Nike shoe factories will meet the “U. S.
OSHA standards in indoor air quality”; second was the ages of young workers will be raised to 18 for footwear factories and 16 for apparel factories; third was Nike will let non-government organizations in its factories to monitor the regulations and these reports will be released to the public; the fourth promise was that Nike would expand their education program including high school equivalency courses available to everyone in the company; the fifth promise was that Nike would expand their micro-enterprise loan program to help families out; the last promise was that there would be funding universities to research and open forums on responsible business practices (Connor). The workers and the world also demanded six changes as well to the rights.
The first demand was protection for workers who were speaking about the factory conditions honestly; the second was to allow rights groups to educate workers about their rights and how to complain in a secretive and orderly fashion; the third demand was that the workers would get decent and fair wages, for easy living and basic needs; the fourth demand was that the workers have reasonable working hours; the fifth demand was to have cleaner and a healthy work environment; the sixth and last demand was to have the respect of right to be a part of an association, that meant you could be a part of a union and the company could not fire or hurt you in any form (Connor). Secondly, Nike needed to make a lot of drastic measures to make improvements.
The first thing they changed was the sweatshops and the quality of the conditions (Global exchange). They were bad before but the workers did not complain. Now the conditions meet all of the regulations of OSHA. The workers were happy, so the world knew Nike had started making changes “Frequently Asked Questions” Nike also had to change the chemicals they used to produce clothing and other equipment they make, so “in 1998, dangerous petroleum-based chemicals used in most factories were replaced by less harmful alternatives” (Turner). Nike was changing and they were making sure the environment was not being harmed. In addition to helping the environment, Nike has been taking health precautions for the workers.
They installed exhaust fans and other protection devices so no harm comes to the workers and as well as the environment (Turner). Nike also had to change the minimum wage as well because of the world already knew that workers could not provide for their families. “By 1997, Nike was shamed into telling its Indonesian contractors to stop asking for exemptions to the minimum wage and to stop paying apprentice wages” (Still Waiting for Nike to Do It. )Nike was shamed at how much they paid their workers. So the company started paying enough to live a normal and happy life. The workers were now getting paid $26-30 a month; that was great for them; they could definitely support a family now (Still Waiting for Nike to Do It. Nike was making a lot of dramatic changes to their policies as well to their ways of running a factory and their new and improved company. Nike was not just doing bad things; they were helping the poor and helping the world out as well. Nike made $19 billion in 2009; Nike has a lot to do with our fashion and design choices. They know that if they get cheap labor, the products will be cheap as well. The poor get jobs and the customers get the same product cheaper than the competition. Nike wants to help the poor, not just financially, but health wise as well. “Nike offers the poor higher wages to lure them off the streets (and away from lives of begging, stealing, prostitution, or worse) or away from back-breaking farm labor” (DiLorenzo). Nike was always looking ut for their workers, but the workers turned their backs and got greedy. With the changes Nike made, the workers now could communicate with people around the world and knew how much money people made in other parts of the world. The workers found this out so they started making unions and even sometimes stopped working until their conditions were met. That was pretty bad for Nike. Nike gave them a chance and gave them a job; workers came around and stabbed Nike in the back. This is exactly what happens when humans get greedy, they keep wanting more and more. The poor used to just beg or starved before this job. “In Honduras, where almost half the working population lives on $2/day, ‘sweatshops’ pay $13. 10/day. Sweatshop’ wages are more than double the national average in Cambodia, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Honduras” (DiLorenzo). They can survive and also now they can enjoy life as well. It has been 10 years since the last time Nike had problems with sweatshops, wages and working conditions. Nike, as of right now, is doing very well; they are keeping the factories and environment clean. They are using water based solvents and chemicals (Connor). They are also treating the workers wit respect and paying them well. All of the workers are happy, can now support a family and even can buy cars and other amenities as well. Nike makes a lot of money, but now they are spreading the wealth among the poor (DiLorenzo).
Nike has had hard times with workers, wages, environment problems, and human right violations as well. Nike still stands today, now with their new reputation much better than before. Nike has made many mistakes with sweatshops, but they are offering poor people jobs and can help the poor from doing worse things. Nike is offering new jobs and never thought or has worked with slave labor. Works Cited DiLorenzo, Thomas. “How ‘Sweatshops’ Help the Poor. ” LewRockwell. com. 18 Feb. 2010 . “Frequently Asked Questions. ” Global Exchange. 18 Feb. 2010 . “Still Waiting For Nike To Do It. ” Global Exchange. 18 Feb. 2010 . Turner, Bambi. “Facts About Nike Sweatshops | eHow. com. ” EHow. 18 Feb. 2010 .