Just Pay It! Worker Tour Comes to Cornell

Worker TourThis Tuesday, April 6th, two workers from factories in Honduras that supplied Collegiate Apparel for Nike will be coming to speak to Cornell Students in Ives 305 from 5-7pm.

The next day, Wednesday April 7th, they will meet with the newly created Licensing Oversight Committee to tell their side of the story.  They’ll then speak in ILR classes before continuing on their cross-country tour of colleges and universities.

The on-campus events are being organized by Cornell Students Against Sweatshops, and the nation-wide tour is being organized by United Students Against Sweatshops, an international organization.

The workers are coming from two factories in Honduras that supplied collegiate apparel to Nike before being shut down last year.  The workers are legally owed over $2 million in severance pay.  While Nike is claiming that it is the responsibility of the sub-contractors who own the factory to pay the workers, Cornell’s Code of Conduct for its apparel suppliers stipulates that labor rights violations by companies producing collegiate apparel are the responsibility of the company, in this case Nike.

Nike at first denied that it was the primary purchaser of goods from these factories, and then denied that these factories produced collegiate apparel.  However, independent investigations have found both that Nike was the primary purchaser and much of the apparel was for the collegiate market.

Given these findings, the newly created Licensing Oversight Committee has sent a letter to Nike requesting that they ensure the workers are paid what they are owed.

These workers will come to tell their story and give a human face to the struggle for workers rights around the world.

About the Author

Alex Bores is a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. He was born and raised in New York City by two union members. Alex does labor research with Professor Kate Bronfenbrenner. Alex is the treasurer of the Cornell Roosevelt Institute, Treasurer of Conflict-Free Cornell, Vice President for Community Outreach of Half in Ten, Vice President of the Cornell Forensics Society and President of Cornell Students Against Sweatshops.