Academics Studying NIKE & Athletic and Campus Apparel Industry

Web Site revised September 17th, 2000

Maintained by David M. Boje, Ph.D. Professor of Management, NMSU



2000 March 2 - ESPN story Just don't do it By Tom Farrey - All poor Jonah Peretti wanted was a pair of customized sneakers. But here's what happened when the MIT grad student tried to take Nike up on its offer to stitch the term of his choice -- "Sweatshop" -- onto a pair of "Personal ID" shoes that the company markets online:

  • Your NIKE ID order was cancelled for one or more of the following

    1) Your Personal ID contains another party's trademark or other intellectual property.
    2) Your Personal ID contains the name of an athlete or team we do not have the legal right to use.
    3) Your Personal ID was left blank. Did you not want any personalization?
    4) Your Personal ID contains profanity or inappropriate slang, and besides, your mother would slap us.

    If you wish to reorder your NIKE iD product with a new personalization please visit us again at

TODAY SHOW - Nike's new web site feature allows you to select a name to have stitched to your Sneakers. If you have Real Player check out what happened to an MIT student.

TRANSCRIPT of TODAY SHOW February 28, 2001 with Jonah Peretti  and Nike's  Vada Manager

Culture Jamming is one form of critique, but there is also a need to do basic historical and comparative research.

I am sometimes asked why I don't write about other sweatshop supply chains. So I looked about El Paso and the University. Sweatshops. Here is what I found at the University bookstore (This is a first step that any of you can begin to conduct where you shop). 

The other question I am asked, is Why Nike, why not the subcontractors? Next need to research Pou Chen and the other major Korean and Taiwan subcontractors who own the factories. That is the next frontier. But to do this, we have to FIND the factories. Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, etc. and their subs do not reveal many sources. The GLOBE PROJECT is an attempt to compile a list of them.

GLOBE PROJECT: Find the non-disclosed locations of Athletic and Campus Apparel factories. Where are the secret Athletic and Campus Apparel factories? As soon as we systematically identify where they are, we can monitor what they are doing.  

We want to find comparable factories where working conditions are better. 

What are the condition of factories where New Mexico State University Campus Story buys its garments with our logo on them?

Contact if you know where they are.


GLOBE PROJECT - Find the Factories?


Factory List

Hot Spots

Mexico is HOT HOT HOT


Working Conditions

Finally, I get asked why not study the industry instead of just Nike. So I have begun a larger project to trace the tracks of Adidas, Reebok and New Balance across the globe.


 ACADEMICS STUDYING ... What are the Studies?

The Studies focus on the Way Women are organizing to demand LIVING WAGES, SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS, and COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. The Global anti-sweatshop movement is a WOMEN'S MOVEMENT. A reaction to male dominated global capitalism. We are studying this as a Global Movement:




Professional Development Workshop by Academics Studying Athletic and Campus Apparel proposed for August 4, (Saturday) 2001 in Washington D.C.


What is Nike's Corporate Strategy?

Nike Corporate Strategy has gone through several distinct phases:

  • The Ignore it Phase 1963-1991
  • Denial Phase 1992 to 1996 - Nike separated themselves from the subcontractor production of their own goods in order to claim that the working conditions were just not their responsibility. During the late 1980s and 1990s the anti-sweatshop movement pointed out that Nike sets the contract terms, including the percent of labor costs.
  • The Monitoring Phase - 1996 -1997 - Companies, like Nike, began to pay private accounting firms to come into their factories, make announced visits (with pre-submitted questions) and assess the working conditions, then call it "independent" monitors.
  • 2000- 2001 - In your face Counteroffensive Phase,
  • E.G. February 27, 2001- Nike Hardball - University of Oregon withdraws from the WRC.

    E.G. response to Annual Nike Truth Tour - On the First Tour "Nike Security Arrests Protestors: “Nike is so intent on silencing our message that they’re willing to pay-off the police and illegally arrest a camera person in order to keep the video footage from reaching the public. It’s like the secretive way they do business,” Harris said." Nike Truth Tour Coverage -  (1, 2, 3, 4); (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6).

  • E. G. April 1, 2000 - Nike announced this week that it is terminating its contract to provide hockey equipment to Brown University, citing Brown's decision to join the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).
  • E.G. Nike's Phil Knight Stops Giving To University Of Oregon Over WRC Membership. World Monitors. April 26, 2000
  • E. G. On the Second Annual Tour- "While rivals lie low, Nike has launched a counteroffensive true to its 'in your face' culture. A longtime Washington operative, [Vada] Manager says he was hired by Nike in 1997 to provide 'political insight and strategy'... Nike approaches this as it approaches everything—as competition. And we aim to win.” — VADA MANAGER Nike director of global issues management" (MSNBC March 12, 2001).


Nike presents itself as the savior of the poor, the pinnacle of global virtual capitalism, and as the victim of loosely networked social movements and advocacy groups. Still, who is this young woman making those sneakers?


How does Nike Compare to other Factories?

Nike promotes the image that it has used its considerable global corporate resources to reform working conditions. There is a need for independent comparative research to test the claims Nike is making in it $7.6 million dollar GLOBAL ALLIANCE (GA) consulting study.

I would like to compare the GA study of Indonesia Nike working conditions to a study done by Urban Community Mission (UCM), a Jakarata organizations with 16 years of experience on issues facing Indonesian factory workers.




Our Research Project includes Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc. and ATHLETIC and Campus APPAREL INDUSTRY. We seek to go beyond just the study of NIKE to look at Reebok, Adidas, and other players in Athletic and Campus Apparel. 45 Academics from around the world are meeting at conferences on two continents to get at several important research questions.

There is a comprehensive list of academic writing on Nike and the Athletic/Campus apparel industry.

In our research, we want to answer the questions

  • Does Nike, Reebok, Adidas, New Balance (etc.) live up to their Codes of Conduct?
  • What is a sweatshop?
  • What is a living wage?
  • What is the relation of FLA and WRC?

What is a sweatshop?

What is a Sweatshop? A sweatshop is a workplace where workers are subject to (Adapted from S11; See Boje, 2001 for intro to sweatshops):

  • extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or benefits and forced overtime,

  • poor working conditions, such as health and safety hazards, and

  • arbitrary discipline including physical and mental abuse, fines for talking, taking of worker-wage deposits to keep workers from leaving.


We submitted in October, 2000 RESEARCH by 4 Academic study teams to research Sweatshops in Athletic & Campus Apparel Industry
February 23, 2001 - We updated this proposal in February, expanding its focus to study the entire industry -- please comment on it   
Comparison of the Urban Community Mission (UCM) Survey Report December 1999 to the Global Alliance, Center for Societal Development Studies (CSDS) 2000 study. By David M. Boje, Ph.D
Purpose of this site
1999 Preamble     

Nike related LINKS 


SWEATSHOPS press release

Boje's Latest NIKE papers - "Tamara and the Athletic Apparel Industry" ;"Corporate Writing"
TIME AND NIKE Academy 2000 Participants and contact information 
Background Paper - NIKE and TIME Academy 2000 Intro
MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECT BEING REVIEWED BY NIKE from Boje et al. September 16, 2000 And now in February, 2001 we make the proposal to foundations and the other corporate and campus logo purveyors.
See Academy of Management Showcase 2000 Session on "Time and Nike"



KEY RESOURCE ITEMS for Academics Studying the Athletic and Campus Apparel Industry restored From Nike's Web Documents. The purpose is to track the historical record and the PR strategies.
About restored

Amos Tuck Dartmouth wage study

Andrew Young Nike Study 

Ernst & Young Study on Vietnam factory

Nike FAQ restored

Nike Press Releases restored

Phil Knight Speeches 

Older Reports on Nike  

New 1999/2000 Spin on Nike 

Nike PR Archive (press here)

New Pro-Nike media coverage

RESTORED FILES - In this site you will find a restored copy of the 1997-8 FILES - This will allow researchers to compare old and current web-faciality. Nike by their own statements ( is very concerned with helping 3rd world countries to attain economic prosperity and works to have collective bargaining rights and safe working conditions. But the faciality of their story machine has changed.


RED indicates trouble spots

  • 1962 - Phil Knight's research paper at Stanford asserts that low-priced, high-tech, well-merchandised exports from Japan could replace Germany’s domination of the U.S. athletic shoe industry.
  • 1963 (December)  Phil Knight received his first shipment of "tiger" shoes from Japan. He began to sell them at track meets from the back of his truck.
  • 1968 - Phil Knight founds Tiger Shoes; prior to 1968, Mr. Knight was a certified public accountant with Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand and was an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Portland State University.
  • 1968 - NIKE, Inc. was incorporated under the laws of the state of Oregon.
  • 1969 -Knight resigns his position as Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Portland State University to devote himself full time to the company.
  • 1971 - SWOOSH logo is a graphic design created by Caroline Davidson (student at Portland State University); it represents the wing of the Greek goddess Nike; Davidson handed Knight the SWOOSH, he handed her $35.
  • 1980 -NIKE stock goes public, offering 2 million shares of common stock to the public. Revenues exceed $269 million for the year.
  • 1985 - Chicago Bulls basketball rookie Michael Jordan endorses NIKE line of AIR JORDAN
    court shoes and specialized apparel.
  • 1988 AAFLI-assisted publication links Korean-run shoe factories and logging operations-- both have bad labor records
  • 1988 - "Just Do It" Campaign designed by Dan Wieden is introduced.
  • 1989 AAFLI/Indo gets Human Rights grant from AID to do minimum wage compliance survey -- Nike-producing shoe factories are among worst violators.
  • 1991 Thames TV (London) airs short documentary on Nike workers in Indonesia
  • 1994 Nike hires Ernst and Young to do "social audits" -When the human rights inequalities of the subcontractor-supply chain that produce Nike products were exposed, their market standing was threatened and audit firms were contracted  to control the damage.
  • 1995 (from 1992 to 1996) AAFLI-supported "LAIDS" (Legal Aid for Industrial Disputes Settlement ) research team interviews 550 workers at Nike-producing factory in Majalaya, W. Java. The total survey of around 11,000 workers performed by  AAFLICIO found that only 11% of workers were covered by workers health insurance (LAIDS Survey 1994-95) (1). At the end of 1992, 106 surveyors had interviewed over 23,000 workers in 163 companies about their wages and working conditions and disseminated information about trade union activities. In a number of surveyed plants, when workers found out their wages were not consistent with the legal minimum wage, successful strikes were carried out, resulting in salary increases to bring wages to the legally mandated minimal level (2).
  • 1996 - Life Magazine (June) pp. 38-48.Schanberg, Sydney H. (1996) "On the playgrounds of America, Every Kid's Goal is to Score: In Pakistan, Where children stitch soccer balls for Six Cents an hour, the goals is to Survive." Additional reporting by Jimmie Briggs (See Pakistan).
  • 1996 (October 3) Nike announces the establishment of Labor Practices Department headed by Dusty Kidd.
  • 1996 - (October 17) Nike Labor Practices in Vietnam - 48 Hours Transcript of CBS News 48 Hours, aired  (press here)
  • 1997 (March 2-18)   VLW- Vietnam Labor Watch Report is conducted (press here)- Vietnam Labour Watch Reports This report and its highlights are the result of a six  month effort by Vietnam Labor Watch (VLW) to understand the working conditions of workers at factories in Vietnam.
  • 1997 -September 21,  TRAC Study on Nike in China Released (press here) - Working Conditions in Sports Shoe Factories in China Making Shoes for Nike and Reebok  By Asia Monitor Resource Centre and Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee, Hong Kong
  • 1997 - September 23, (press here) - Nike announced they are cutting ties with four Indonesian companies who refused to comply with the company's standards.
  •  1997 - October 26, - Nike Supports Women in Its Ads but Not Its Factories, Groups Say By Steven Greenhouse New York Times. A coalition of women's groups has attacked Nike as hypocritical for its new television commercials that feature female athletes, asserting that something is wrong when the company calls for empowering American women but pays its largely female overseas work force poorly. (Press here) for story. Fifteen U.S. women's groups, author Alice Walker and the head of the Congressional Black Caucus joined forces on Monday to put pressure on Nike Inc. (NIKE) to improve conditions for its workers in Asia. The groups took issue with Nike's latest advertising campaign, which features women empowered by athletics, saying Nike's treatment of Asian factory workers -- most of whom are young women -- must improve if U.S. women were to buy Nike products in good conscience
  • 1997 October 27,  - (press here) New Jersey schoolchildren staged an anti-Nike play on Broadway.
  • 1997 November 7, (press here) - Transnational Resource & Action Center---Corporate Watch--- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 7, 1997 Secret Ernst & Young Audit of Nike in Vietnam Exposes Hazardous and Unjust Working Conditions: Accounting Firm's Labor and Environmental Auditing Competence Comes Under Fire as TRAC Independently Documents Even Worse Conditions Inside the Same Nike Factory Audit, TRAC Report and First Photos From Inside a Nike Vietnam Plant Available on Corporate Watch.
  • 1997 (November 8) Nike Shoe Plant in Vietnam Is Called Unsafe for Workers
    By STEVEN GREENHOUSE. This is the NY Times article that broke the E&Y audit story (press here) but you will need to get free subscription to enter site.
  • 1997 - (December 11) (press here) - As if things were not bad enought, the Asian Market crashes; Market Skids on Asian Jitters, Earnings Warnings  By Justin Lahart Staff Reporters ; then market for Athletic Apparel Industry slowed; the problem continues through 1998.
  • 1998 - April 2 and April 11, 1998- during the Olympic games, ESPN aired a special program "Outside the Lines" featuring hour-long filmed interviews and tours at both Nike and Reebok, documenting sweatshop abuse allegations in Vietnam factories. The commentator for ESPN is Tom Farrey. The ESPN web site (press here). Interview with Nguyen Thi Lap, a worker for Sam Yang in Cu Chi,  HCMC Vietnam (press here).
  • 1998 - (April 20) a class action lawsuit was filed at San Francisco Superior Court. It alleges that Nike has illegally misled and deceived California consumers about working conditions and wages in its overseas factories (a text of the law suit press here). See Also Nike Sued Under False-Advertising Law By Bob Egelko Associated Press Writer  Monday, April 20, 1998  SAN FRANCISCO (AP) (press here).
  • 1998 -May 12,  (press here) - NIKE CEO PHILIP H. KNIGHT ANNOUNCES NEW LABOR INITIATIVES May 12, 1998 Nike's PRESS RELEASE  Washington, DC (May 12, 1998) - At a National Press Club luncheon today, Nike CEO Philip H. Knight announced a series of new initiatives to further improve factory working conditions worldwide and provide increased opportunities for people who manufacture Nike products.
  • 1998 August 14,  (press here) - NO BONUS FOR PHIL KNIGHT - Bloomberg News reported on August 14 that Nike awarded no bonus to Chairman and CEO Philip Knight for the most recent fiscal year, cutting his pay to $1.68 million. Consumer concern about sweatshop issues, added to Asia's currency crisis and a sluggish U.S. market, slashed Nike earnings 40 percent to $479.1 million. Nike shares fell 20 percent during its fiscal 1998.
  • 1998 -September 18,  (press here) " THE ASIAN MARKET REBOUNDS - Nike shares rose as much as 11 percent today after the world's biggest maker of athletic shoes said lower costs and fewer markdowns resulted in better-than-expected earnings in the fiscal first quarter."
  • 1998- October 9,  September Wage Study on Indonesia released (press here) Wages and Living Expenses for Nike Workers in Indonesia -- An  in-depth report on the economic condition of Nike workers in Indonesia.
  •  1998 October 17, (press here) - Date of 3rd Annual Worldwide International Boycott Nike Day and (press here).
  • 1999 - March 7,  (press here) - Students are organizing across US campuses to fight war against sweatshops and improve conditions in overseas clothing factories.
  • 1999 September 10, Stop East Timor Massacre! by Trim Bissell, national coordinator, Campaign for Labor Rights- Genocide in East Timor. "Nike and Gap sweatshops in Indonesia are part of the same military /economic policy which is manifesting itself in the East Timor bloodbath." (press here)
  • 1999 - September 22,  (press here) -  PROTEST AND SHAREHOLDER MEETING again - Nike Labor Abuses Continue!   International Humans Rights Community condemns Nike's inaction at Annual Shareholders' Meeting.
  • 1999 - October 8,   Nike discloses factory locations (press here) - The company responds to universities' demands for information about where college-licensed apparel is made.
  • 1999 - November Survey Released -  Nike in Indonesia: (press here)  "You Whore! You Dog!"  New survey of 3,500 Nike workers finds evidence that workers are subjected to  excessive punishment and extreme verbal abuse.
  • 1999 - November 12, Anti-Sweatshop Group Calls Nike-Sponsored Inspection Tour a Sham CORPORATE WATCH - United Students Against Sweatshops Says Proposal Uses Pricewaterhouse [Coopers]
  • 1999 November 20,  (press here) - Ex-Student James Keady Sues St. John's Over Contract For Nike Gear - NY Times.
  • Cruel Treatment Working for Nike in Indonesia  Urban Community Mission Survey Report, December 1999 Source: Press For Change Jeff Ballinger
  • 2000 - February 22, STUDENT SIT-IN VICTORIES AND ARRESTS - United Students Against Sweatshops activists have taken the campus anti-sweatshop movement to a new level. There is no turning back. (press here).
  • 2000 June 5, Boston Globe "Ninety percent of students believe that logging on to real-life successes, like United Students Against Sweatshops, can be effective in motivating them to engage in the political process: (Third Edition, Op-ed section; Pg. A13). 
  • 2000- July-August - Indonesian labor  activist Cicih Sukesih (left center), who was fired by Nike contractors  after military threats failed to intimidate her (
  • 2000 - August 9 Nike Truth Tour - Nine college students and one fired Nike sweatshop worker have launched a 13-city, 12-day "Nike Truth Tour."... "When the group reached Oregon, it visited Nike headquarters and presented a letter calling upon the company to reinstate a
    Honduran worker fired for her organizing activities in a factory producing Nike clothing. Shortly afterward, the factory recalled the worker. This is the second instance in which international pressure has persuaded Nike to see to it that a contractor rehires a fired organizer. The previous instance was the rehiring of an Indonesian shoe worker after a speaking tour organized by Campaign for Labor Rights in the fall of 1999. "
    " (1, 2); (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6).
  • 2000- August 22, Woods does not use the Nike Golf Balls he plugs (press here) USA Today. 
  • 2000 - April 24,  Chronicle of Higher Education. (press here) By KIT LIVELY The chairman of Nike Inc., Philip H. Knight, has decided not to contribute millions of dollars to help renovate the University of Oregon's stadium because the university plans to join the Worker Rights Consortium, an anti-sweatshop group, a senior Nike official said Friday.
  • 2000 - September, NBC pulled controversial Nike-Olympic television  commercials off the air? They spoofed the Halloween movies and showed  "Jason" with a chain saw chasing a female Olympic runner.
  • 16 September, 2000 Nike: American dream on RI sweat from Jakarta news. 
  • 2000, September 28 - Study of PWC released - "Pricewaterhouse officials defended their monitoring, saying their inspectors often uncover violations of minimum wage, overtime and safety laws. But these officials acknowledged that the firm's inspectors occasionally missed things that an expert on industrial hygiene, like Professor O'Rourke, would uncover" (Source  Stephen Greenhouse "Report Says Global Accounting Firm Overlooks Factory Abuses"  New York Times, September 28, 2000 download entire report using ADOBE); Report Says Global Accounting Firm Overlooks Factory Abuses. New York Times.  September 28, 2000 By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
  • 2000, (October 2) PWC comes under harsh critique Business Week- auditing practices of PWC for Wal-Mart, Timberland, New Balance, and Nike. The implication is that "auditing systems can miss serious problems -- and that self-policing allows companies to avoid painful public relations about them." And therefore a study of self-monitoring, PWC, FLA and other monitoring systems is needed.  "While no company suggests that its auditing systems are perfect, most say they catch major abuses and either force suppliers to fix them or yank production."  (Source: Roberts, Dexter & Bernstein, Aaron "A Life of Fines and beatings," Business Week, October 2, 2000 pp. 123-128).

  • 2001 - January 14 - CHILD LABOR VIDEO FOOTAGE of 15 year old in Factory. -- This video interview was conducted by union organizers outside the home of a child worker at Kukdong, a Nike contracting plant producing university-logo sweatshirts. The interview was conducted on January 14, 2001 in the town of Atlixco, Mexico. In the video, the face of the child worker has been hidden to protect her identity.

    • "Because of the conditions in the factory sometimes my throat closes up... I am 15 years old."

  • 2001 - January 30,Hurrah for the ACLU! The Wall Street Journal Europe Nike has replaced the Vietnam era's Dow Chemical in the activist pantheon of corporate villains. … Nike can claim it is not responsible for labor strife at the Kukdong factory in Pueblo, Mexico -- the plant is not now making any Nike products. see Mexico-Nike page

  • 2001 - February 23 - Mother Jones Does Nike have a First  Amendment right to publicly claim that it is a leader in fighting sweatshops - or is that false advertising? The California Supreme Court may soon decide.
  • 2001 February 22 - Nike report alleges abuse By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York Published: February 21 2001- Nike Indonesia workers face abuse, sexual harassment, low pay - Financial Times London dubs it, the end of Nike's "denial" phase. Nike promises to remedy 'disturbing' problems at Indonesian factories.

  • February 27, 2001- Nike Hardball - University of Oregon withdraws from the WRC.

  • 2000 March 2 - ESPN story Just don't do it By Tom Farrey All poor Jonah Peretti wanted was a pair of customized sneakers. But here's what happened when the MIT grad student tried to take Nike up on its offer to stitch the term of his choice -- "Sweatshop" -- onto a pair of "Personal iD" shoes that the company markets online:

    • Your NIKE ID order was cancelled for one or more of the following

      1) Your Personal iD contains another party's trademark or other
      intellectual property.
      2) Your Personal iD contains the name of an athlete or team we do
      not have the legal right to use.
      3) Your Personal iD was left blank. Did you not want any
      4) Your Personal iD contains profanity or inappropriate slang, and
      besides, your mother would slap us.

      If you wish to reorder your NIKE iD product with a new
      personalization please visit us again at

  • TODAY SHOW - Nike's new web site feature allows you to select a name to have stitched to your Sneakers. If you have Real Player check out what happened to an MIT student.

  • TRANSCRIPT of TODAY SHOW February 28, 2001 with Jonah Peretti  and Nike's  Vada Manager








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