|JUST DOING IT?
CEO Phil Knight answers questions on
Nike's new labor initiatives.
May 22, 1998
in this forum:
Will Nike agree to the use of a 3rd party auditor? What is Nike's position on uninionization in their Asian factories? How do we know the incidents in the factories are not an uncommon practice of there culture? Do any other shoe manufacturers do it differently? Why are you defensive when you are supplying jobs to people? Are you providing a livable wage? Don't you think it's a little hypocritical to be making these changes now? How does your product get marked up so high? Do Nike critics have another agenda? Daniel Hyduke of Okemos, MI asks: During your interview on PBS, I noticed that the question of wages being $2/hr was frequently posed as a method of creating a negative feeling towards yourself and your company. I have seen this used over and over again in literature regarding the practices of foreign factories employed by Nike. Why is this question never really answered? I understand that not all countries have the same cost of living as each other, especially when comparing the third world with the United States. Does your company have data that would should the cost of living for people in these countries and if the data exists why is it not made public? Is the preceding due to Nike or media-based manipulation?
A Spokesperson from Nike responds:
Actually, independent analysis has been conducted on wages in our manufacturing countries. For example, Dartmouth College MBA students conducted a study last year that examined the minimum wage at two factories in Vietnam. They concluded that workers had enough to make ends meet while also having money left over for savings for discretionary spending. In fact, over 54 percent of factory worker households surveyed had purchased VCRs and stereo equipment. So, wages may seem low by American standards, but the cost of living is much less expensive too.