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The Scarlet & Black

Students protest Nike labor practices


Ronnie Ruse

Students on campus have started to strike back against unfair and unsafe labor practices. Grinnell Students Against Sweatshops (GSAS), a chapter of a larger, national organization called United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), has begun a campaign against Nike, protesting their labor practices and lack of accountability.

The campaign, called “Nike: Just Do the Right Thing,” aims to address Nike’s refusal to allow investigations of their factories. Advocates of the movement believe that the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent, neutral organization founded by the USAS that investigates collegiate apparel factories around the world should be able to investigate Nike factories to determine whether they are meeting fair labor standards.Bookstore and Nike Graphic Bookstore and Nike Graphic

“Nike has recently stopped allowing the WRC into its factories. This is an international solidary campaign to stand with the workers and help them have more power against Nike,” said Nyx Hauth ’19.

Grinnell has a vested interest in Nike, and students hope that the campaign will make the college and Nike reconsider their practices.

“Grinnell has contracts with Nike for the bookstore, but our college has already agreed to only partner with companies that allow the WRC into their companies,” Hauth said.

The GSAS wants to use consumer purchasing power to strike back against the athletic giant by cutting college contracts with Nike until the company stops using sweatshops to produce merchandise and allows WRC inspections.

“By not allowing the WRC in its companies, Nike is setting an example for other companies to follow along that same line,” Hauth continued.

The GSAS has started a petition against having Nike gear in the bookstore and is meeting with the Grinnell Apparel Committee on March 15.

“We expect to get some resistance from them, but we have a lot of information. This campaign has been happening on lots of campuses,” Hauth said. “We have a lot of support on our side from the students. This is what we need to do to hold our campus accountable.”

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    EstherMar 12, 2016 at 10:50 am