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Nike's Unethical Business Practices Essay

1640 words - 7 pages

Nike Inc.
Nike’s Unethical Business Practices

Nike’s Unethical Business Practices
Love those Nike shoes your wearing? Have you ever thought how they were made, who made them, and at what price they were made at? I bet you probably don’t. I bet that you see those Nike shoes at the store, and think to yourself, “oh I like those shoes, I have to have them,” and then buy them. What you don’t know is that those pair of shoes you just bought were probably made in a third world factory by employees who are probably working in harsh working conditions. These factories are not owned and operated by Nike, but contracted by Nike. Nike chooses to locate the majority of their production in such ...view middle of the document...

At first glance Nike turns a blind eye to the business practices; however, once the media is alerted about the situation, Nike begrudgingly is forced to do something about the matter because of how the consumers react. Nike’s Code of Conduct now states that Nike “opposes child labor” and that Nike has “set age standards at 16 for apparel and 18 for footwear factories,” (“Code of Conduct”).
In factories in Vietnam, workers were exposed to Toluene, a reproductive toxin, at 177 times the legal limit (“Nike’s Labour Practices”). They were also exposed to other chemicals and glue without proper safety equipment.  The factory workers lives have been severely impacted by this because of the lack of concern for workers safety. By not providing the proper safety equipment to perform a job and exposing workers to toxic chemicals that will reduce workers life spans dramatically, this is unethical and a huge human rights violation. Nike now ensures that all factories provide the right safety equipment for employees to do their job.
Nike has been accused of not paying a “living-wage” which is unethical and another human rights violation. A living wage is considered a pay that is able to supply basic necessities for a small family (Connor).  In Vietnam, workers receive about  $37 a month, which is below the minimum wage of $45 a month (“Fact Sheet”). In Indonesia, Nike has increased wages for workers to above the minimum wage set by the government.  While this is seen as a step in the correct direction, worker’s pay is still roughly one half of what would be considered a “living wage” for this country (“Frequently”). In China, it is common for workers to engage in a 10 to 12 hour work day before working another two to four hours of overtime (“Nike’s Labour Practices”). In Vietnamese factories, workers making Nike merchandize have been found to be forced to work over 600 hours of overtime a year, which is more than 400 hours a year above the legal limit in Vietnam (“Fact Sheet”). Workers have reported being coerced into the overtime hours through threats of unemployment or forced indirectly by the low pay to volunteer for the hours in order to support their families. This in other words is a form of slavery. There are only 24 hours in a day and to spend 16 hours or more at work in order to keep a job is a complete denial of a right to life, or in other words a human rights violation.
Managements Perspective
In America, Nike's owners see the abuse much differently. In front of hundreds of shareholders, after announcing record earnings and another stock split, Nike's president and CEO, Phil Knight minimized the problems in Asia as simply an incident in which a single worker was hit over the head by a supervisor. Nike spokesperson Jim Small, while knowing that the conditions in the sixteen Indonesian plants are not ideal, said, "The bottom line is: Do we abuse our workers? Absolutely not." (Levy, "Working conditions protested at the opening of a new store)....

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