Primary Nike/Anti-Sweatshop Campaign Network Sites
(Sites gathered from Summer, 2000, until mid-February, 2001).
The Global Exchange site is a great resource for links to a wide array of activist campaign sites. The organization itself is involved in many campaigns and activities, but its Nike anti-sweatshop site is particularly instructive and useful. Unlike other sites, it has the muscle and the resources to enforce its campaign. The recent media exposure of working conditions at a Nike contract factory in Mexico got wide attention. So while GX broke from the Nike Anti-Sweatshop campaign in 1998 (after the U.S. government sponsored "Code of Conduct" initiative), it still maintains interest in the campaign.
Academics Studying Nike's Labor and Environmental Practices
A webpage showing a fake Nike ad that's more about the exploited sweatshop worker than running shoes.
Last updated in 1999 (although it hyperlinks to a stock-quote website that gives the latest Nike stock price), the site features a medley of news and hyperlinks concerning the Nike anti-sweatshop campaign in Alberta, Canada. It has a homegrown feel to it, and it tries to be sincere. It seems to throw everything at you - musings, letters to Nike CEO Philip Knight, the outraged vitriol of those who mean well but who are not always the most well-articulated.
Religiously-affiliated website (United Methodist Church and Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, ICCR) that has used novel ways to exert pressure on Nike's labor practices. In 1997 it led a shareholder resolution demanding better working conditions for workers in its sweatshop factories. It also meets "regularly" with Nike officials to monitor progress. As part of its anti-sweatshop campaign, it also targets Disney and Walmart.
CLR appears to be a group labor rights activists who respond to action against union members. They have been around for more than 15 years and use direct political action (e.g. protests) to promote their campaigns. CLR is involved in a number of campaigns, including Nike abuses, most recently the protests over the Korean-owned Kukdong factory in Mexico manufacturing for Nike.
Formed in the Netherlands in 1990 as part of an effort to expose giant European retailers' use cheap labor abroad to maximize profits. Based in Europe. Targeted companies include Nike, Adidas, Disney and Levi Strauss. Effort has since expanded to other countries. CCC is a network organization. It uses innovate publicity stunts (e.g. leaflets, postcards, etc.) to garner media attention. It also conducts and sub-contracts various types of research projects to learn more about economic and social impact of sweatshop practices.
Site managed by a small NGO of volunteers in Italy. Last updated October 10, 2001. It's Involved with the European Clean Clothes movement, but specially emphasizes the rights of children (who make up a large percentage of exploited sweatshop workers) in the "Southern" developing world.
Not specifically against Nike, but general information site on sweatshop issues dealing with children. It provides a rich plethora of information on sweatshop practices, both in the U.S. and abroad, probably the most comprehensive site for such purposes of all. It also follows legislation on the subject. Its tone is more suggestive than polemic.
Does not target Nike specifically, but the practice of sweatshops (although it seems to target Wal-Mart and Disney). It may be the most historically-minded of all the sites, tracing the sweatshop history back to the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York in 1911. It has a strong anti-corporate bias.
This is an all-purpose anti-sweatshop site that focuses on many abusers, not just Nike. Interestingly, the Nike page seems skimpy and piggybacks off of Global Exchange. Also, much of the information presented is old and outdated. It seems the page stopped being updated in 1997, and has a propensity for hyperlinks. The page feels homespun and semi-slick in production.
Specifically targeting Nike, and run out of Australia. It seems the initial impetus for the organization may have been via government funds, but since 1996 it has been run by a single individual, Tim Connor (the power of the Internet?!) and the "Basic Rights" Campaign. Unlike other sites, this one is continually updated and its campaign activities are on-going. Its most recent "big" event was the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Press For Change (Not Active)
This site belongs to Jeff Ballinger, although his name is hardly mentioned at all. The site is simple, almost too simple; little explanation of campaign, but more barebones approach to nailing Nike. Photos of campaign are poignant and even sad (one hunger striker worker died). This is not the place to get a lot of information on campaign.
The site has the feel of being written by a single determined individual. It seems more like a personal Internet newsletter, pulling articles here and there to forge a singular leftist message against exploitation and equality. It is continually updated twice a month. The latest feature is on continued sweatshop practices in Nike-contracted factories (this time in Mexico). Informative and provocatively written.
Labor site based in England, so the slant is British and European, although it isn't necessarily limited by that. The look and feel of the site is more "newspaperish," probably a useful propaganda tool. As an anti-sweatshop site it may have limited value, but as part of labor issues it may not.
Available in Spanish and French. Site looks like a cross between a portal and CNN website. Very slick. It doesn't focus on Nike, unless it were in the news, which on this day that I'm checking it the company is not featured, but one imagines that it would be. Since it's a labor site, naturally the main emphasis is on labor issues, particularly involving children. (Note: I've noticed that the more slick sites seem to emphasize children issues a lot - because it's a powerful issue? Or are children exploited by everybody, even those who mean to do good?)
Just Shopper's Guide to Sports Shoes (April 1996)
An informative site on sweatshop business practices, mostly citing Nike, although there Other targets as well (e.g. Nestle). It gives a strong account of how Nike makes its shoes. Of course, we must rely on their word for it, since much of the prose is not academic but geared towards non-eggheads. While this may be stimulating, it makes the site feel just polemical and vindictive. It also doesn't help that it was last updated in 1996.
Part of the Institute for Global Communications, which pops up in one or two sites found on this list. As such, this Network is made up of healthcare professionals landing their know-how to promote more worker safety at the maquiladora plants. It never explicitly mentions "sweatshop," but the underlying tone is clear, if not transparent.
Activist organization based in Canada that promotes anti-sweatshop campaigns against a variety of companies, including Nike, Wal-Mart, Sears, Disney and others. Has an extensive campaign against Nike, including information about the campaign, how to join, announcements, press releases, etc.
Nike is one part of an overall campaign against sweatshops. It seems to be kept up-to-date. Its description of time-motion practices that Nike uses in its factories is not fully developed but convincing.
Like it name implies, this is an interfaith organization that supports a number of causes, not just labor issues that may involve sweatshops (it doesn't specifically cite this), but also migrant workers, poultry employees, etc. I did not see Nike mentioned anywhere on the site, nor the word "sweatshop." The site appears to be updated, although how often is another issue.
Very well-organized, thoughtful and persuasive site that rather than target Nike, discusses the entire issue of sweatshop - offering useful data and statistics on the topic. It is fully updated, daily it seems. The self-description of the site claims that it is made up of workers, and there is a verisimilitude about the information given that gives it a strong authenticity. One of the best sites found on sweatshops so far.
A compelling concept in anti-sweatshop activism. A group of Bangor, Maine, residents got together and created a movement to abolish sweatshop-made gear in the local community. They are trying to pass on this model to other communities in the U.S. It's a slick site, well-crafted, and informative in some ways. Its main target is not companies like Nike, but retailers and, especially, consumers. It is also part of the Clean Clothes campaign.
This site has nothing to do with Nike, but is a historical exhibit of sweatshop activities and its development. The site gives some general information about sweatshops, but it is skimpy and can be better found in other sites. But its interesting that it exists. At times I was reminded of slaver exhibits; why the morbid fascination to showcase man's inhumanity to man? Is this part of the Age of Spectacle we live in?
By all intent and purposes, the site claims itself as a "Sweatshop Watch is a coalition of labor, community, civil rights, immigrant rights, women's, religious & student organizations, and individuals committed to eliminating sweatshop conditions in the global garment industry. We believe that workers should be earning a living wage in a safe and decent working environment, and that those who benefit the most from the exploitation of sweatshop workers must be held accountable." Okay, all well and good, kudos for being fully updated, but how it goes about it is another story. Like commercials blaring at us to do this, buy that, this site puts the onus on YOU!!
While the site has a homespun quality to it, it makes it up in earnestness. It primarily advocates campus pressure to get universities to enforce a "code of conduct" with those clothing companies (e.g. Nike) who make clothing with a university logo on them. The site is updated and even offers a calendar of upcoming events. SOLE is a member of the United Students Against Sweatshops.
Gandhi meets Monty Python. The site uses humour (offering its hossanahs to the benefits sweatshop labor, and even its own spoofy "sweat gear," with prices but ones that you can't buy!). After you laugh guiltily, and want to get serious, it introduces CISPES (discussed later in this paper) and its real purpose - to actually fight against sweatshop labor. Very clever. Very, very clever. The entire site unfolds like Kabuki theatre - continually drawing you deeper and deeper into its clutches.
Site offers an interesting timeline on the developments of sweatshops, beginning in 1900. It also, provocatively, contains a diary of someone who snuck into a sweatshop and documented its goings-on for posterity. It seems to have last been updated in 1996. It does not specifically mention Nike.
This site feels more like a window poster than anything else. Sponsored by the AFL-CIO, it emphasizes "unionism," although it does so in a heavy-handed way. I searched for any mention of Nike and did not find any. There are campaigns a plenty that the site emphasizes, making it feel scattered and unstructured.
Somewhere in this AFL-CIO sponsored site is the germ of a really good idea, but it ran out of steam. It seems to have last been updated Summer, 2000, shortly before the Republican Convention. It sees sweatshops as a union issue, although it admits that unionizing a factory doesn't insure that workers are fully protected - frequently the owners shut down the newly-unionized plant.
Like other student anti-sweatshop organizations, this one focuses on pressuring university administrations to make sure that any university logo sportswear is made under fair and equitable labor. The site offers a welter of information on the Kukdong situation, with reports by a representative that details the situation up close and personal. Surprisingly effective account.
A complete expose on Nike practices in show factories in Vietnam. Last updated on Jan. 30, 1999. Site useful, as an archival site for information about the Nike anti-sweatshop campaign, which gets the full-board treatment here. Totally savages Nike in an effective, but overt way.
Woman consciousness raising site that seeks to elevate the status of women workers around the world. It offers a lot of information (e.g. publications, most recently from 2000)and promotes conferences on the issue. A lot of platitudes, but seemingly few actual details. I didn't see Nike mentioned, so that gives a clue. Yet, because women make up the bulk of sweatshop workers, this site hits the right target.