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Nike clarifies its stance on sweatshops ahead of protests today

Yesterday, we published a story about how students around the United States are gathering in front on Nike stores in solidarity with workers at a Honduras factory that have lost their jobs because Nike has stopped making apparel there.

Nike has clarified that it did not leave that factory voluntarily, but was rather pushed out because that factory was taken over by Gildan Inc., a large apparel manufacturer that recently acquired American Apparel. “Nike, along with the other brands in the factory, were informed that Gildan would take over 100% of factory production, replacing current brands with their own apparel brands,” Nike’s spokesperson said in a statement. “We have been advocating that Gildan work to minimize the impact on their workers.”

The protests have been organized by United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). In addition to the issue in Honduras, this organization is protesting that Nike has stopped allowing independent monitoring of its factories. Nike has further clarified that it will continue to allow third-party audits of its factories, but has simply chosen not to work with one investigator, the Worker Rights Consortium, since it happens to be founded by USAS, the very group organizing the protests. 

“We respect the Worker Rights Consortium’s (WRC) commitment to workers’ rights while recognizing that the WRC was co-created by United Students Against Sweatshops, a campaigning organization that does not represent the multi-stakeholder approach that we believe provides valuable, long-lasting change,” the statement said.  ES