Nike Just Pays It
Nike bows to student pressure on severance pay
Facing pressure from universities and student groups, the apparel maker Nike announced on Monday that it would pay $1.54 million to help 1,800 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when two subcontractors closed their factories.
Nike agreed to the payment after several universities and a nationwide group, United Students Against Sweatshops, pressed it to pay some $2 million in severance that the two subcontractors had failed to pay.
The University of Wisconsin, Madison terminated its licensing agreement with Nike over the Honduran dispute, and Cornell warned that it would do the same unless Nike resolved the matter.
Worker relief fund
A Nike spokeswoman, Kate Meyers, said on Monday that the $1.54 million was for “a worker relief fund” and was not for severance. Nike also agreed to provide vocational training and finance health coverage for workers laid off by the two subcontractors.
“This may be a watershed moment,” Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a group of 186 universities that monitors factories that make college-logo apparel, said. “Up until now, major apparel brands have steadfastly refused to take any direct financial responsibility for the obligations to the workers in their contractors’ factories. Now the most high-profile sports apparel firm has done just that.”