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Nike Chairman Pulls Gift to University Over Labor Monitors to Prevent Sweatshops

Phil Knight, Chairman of Nike, has rescinded his pledge to his alma mater, the University of Oregon, for $30 million because the university joined the Workers Rights Consortium, which utilizes local human-rights groups as well as worker input to monitor factory conditions where campus clothing is made, rather than the Fair Labor Association, which he supports.

Nike said they object to the Workers Rights Consortium’s makeup and its requirement for random, surprise inspection visits to overseas factories. “We object to Workers Rights Consortium because it does not provide a seat on the table for companies,” said Nike spokeswoman Vada Manager.

Students, who have staged sit-ins and demonstrations on several campuses in the last year to put pressure on their universities to join the Workers Rights Consortium, argue that the Fair Labor Association is dominated by corporate interests and will not be diligent in its monitoring.

Sources:

The New York Times - 25 April, 2000