Nike’s Achilles Heel: Women Work in Slave-like Conditions to Make $100 Shoes

One million Nike shoes are made monthly by women some as young as 15, who work 12 hour days, for 20 cents an hour, in overheated, noisy and unhealthy conditions. The labor cost per shoes runs below $2, the shoes retail for up to $149. These revelations come after a 16-day inspection of four Vietnamese plants by the U.S. based Vietnam Labor Watch. Thuyen Nguyen reported that, “Supervisors humiliate women, force them to kneel, to stand in the hot sun, treating them like recruits in boot camp.” During an eight hour period, women were allowed only two sips of water and one bathroom break. At one of the plants, supervisors forced 56 women who had worn non-regulation shoes to run around the plant in the hot sun; twelve of the women became so sick that they had to be hospitalized. The incident occurred on March 8th, International Women’s Day. The investigation also observed multiple violations of minimum pay requirements and overtime work regulations.


Associated Press - March 28, 1997

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