The following is a republished press release and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contactus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITHACA, N.Y. – On Monday, July 10th, The Cornell Chronicle officially notified the Cornell Community that President Martha E. Pollack that Cornell is ending its licensing relationship with Nike and Branded Custom Sportswear after both are unwilling to sign a standard contract through IMG Collegiate Licensing,
Following a strike over egregious labor abuses that broke out in October 2015 in a Nike Factory in Hansae, Vietnam, Cornell students along with various universities across the nation launched a campaign in conjunction with workers organizing in Vietnam, Cambodia, Honduras, and Mexico to demand WRC access.
Workers made it clear that when their union is being undermined and they don’t have access to the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labor monitoring system that inspects factories where Cornell apparel is manufactured, that workers are in a very dangerous position. Across the world, union partners sent letters to Nike petitioning the reversal of the brands position and speaking out to Nike’s self -regulatory position. The universities designate the WRC to monitor supplier factories and it’s on students to ensure their schools utilize their strategic leverage to hold transnational corporations accountable to worker demands.
Additionally, in December 2016, the Worker Rights Consortium released a report outlining Nike’s numerous violations in the Hansae factory in Vietnam, a manufacturing facility that produces university licensed goods for Nike and employs nearly 8,500 workers. These violations include extensive wage theft, above 90-degree conditions within the factory, spraying of toxic solvents, mass firings of pregnant women, and physical and verbal abuse of workers.
The Worker Rights Consortium released an updated report on the Hansae factory on April 10, 2017. The updated report states that this factory has enacted remedial measures to improve working conditions but that the “overall progress has fallen short” of what the Worker Rights Consortium and universities require.
Nike has still failed to provide plans for back paying workers for off the clock work, installing cooling systems to bring the temperature in the factory building down to the legal maximum, and the purchase of proper seating for thousands of sewing operators. These are only a few of the many unresolved issues occurring within just one Nike collegiate apparel factory.
Members of COLA thus waged a 2-year campaign to pressure Cornell University to drop Nike. Students organized actions including teach-ins, photo campaigns, call-ins, store actions, rallies, worker speak outs, and engaged with Union leaders from around the world to demonstrate that student-worker solidarity works.
Following the lead of Rutgers University, Georgetown University, UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern University, COLA is proud to see Cornell’s standing commitment towards upholding Cornell’s values and legacy on global labor issues.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.