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Universities charge Nike with abuses

Nike factories that produce University of Washington apparel will be investigated by Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC). This is a labor rights watchdog group that intervenes and mediates when laborers are being deprived of their rights as workers. The contract is the first of its kind in the US.

College-branded athletic wear is big business for Nike. University-logo apparel is a $4 billion market for the company. If significant labor violations are found in a Nike factory where UW-branded apparel is being made, the company must withdraw its orders.

Nike’s involvement with the University of Washington has been under increased WRC scrutiny after a series of labor rights violations in a factory in Vietnam. This factory employs close to 8,500 workers and produces collegiate-branded apparel for many universities including the University of Washington.

Some of the worst labor abuses in Nike’s history were unearthed at this factory. These include forced overtime, denial of sick leave, discriminatory dismissal of pregnant workers, and unsafe building temperatures that resulted in incidents of workers collapsing unconscious at their workstations.

Collegiate licensing issues with Nike regarding labor rights have been happening at other campuses around the US. Georgetown, Rutgers, Berkeley, and UCLA have cut ties with Nike due to lack of cooperation with WRC.