Despite having a long, documented history of allegedly employing workers at slave wages, the multinational Nike corporation has become the face of the social justice wing of the political left with its newest ad featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
As Breitbart News reported, the Nike corporation laid off 1,400 Americans just last year in the state of Oregon, cutting out workers who were older and likely sending their jobs overseas as the sports brand has done in the past.
In 2015, a screen printing factory in Clarence, New York used by Nike to make T-shirts that once employed nearly 170 Americans announced it was closing up shop and sending the jobs to low wage Honduras. The average minimum wage worker in Honduras earns less than $8,000 a year.
Nike’s history of alleged employment of slave labor in countries like Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and Honduras dates back so far that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blasted the corporation’s business practices in 1997, as Breitbart News noted:
Now, Nike has a habit of going to wherever in the world, wages are at rock bottom. Mexico is much too high wage for Nike. They’re now in Vietnam. They have determined that wages in Vietnam are the lowest in the world. [Emphasis added]
Let me quote this, ‘In demonstrations on Friday, workers burned cars and ransacked the factory’s office, saying the company, Nike, wasn’t paying them a $2.50 a day minimum wage.’ That’s our competition. That is what much of what the global economy is about. American workers, you really want to compete? You really want to go below $2.50 an hour? Nike might come back to America and hire you if you’re ready to go for $2 a day. You ready to do that? [Emphasis added]
Despite these decades-long outsourcing and cheap labor accusations against Nike, the brand has recently become the face of the social justice left after it released an ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, who infamously protested against the United States by kneeling for the National Anthem during NFL games.
The ad campaign features a black and white image of Kaepernick and reads “Beleive in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
During a New York Fashion Week event celebrating Nike this week, NBA player LeBron James praised the brand despite its reputation for bad business practices.
“I stand for anybody that believes in change,” James said. “I stand for anybody that believes in a positive attitude and a positive matter. And I believe, and I stand with Nike every day, all day.”
The ad campaign featuring Kaepernick will premier on Thursday night’s NFL season opener on NBC, a network that promoted the kneeling of NFL players as a protest to the U.S. and President Trump.
In 2013, the Phillipine Star documented Nike’s business model of moving into third world, poor countries to take advantage of cheap labor where workers are paid less than $10,000 a year. Indonesia, for example, has become somewhat of an unofficial headquarter for Nike, as is Vietnam.
Some estimates indicate that Nike employs about 170,000 workers in Indonesia, where the monthly minimum wage for workers in some regions of the country is just $82 a month. The regions with the highest monthly minimum wage salaries top out at only $232 a month.
For more than three and half decades, Nike has employed most of its workforce in low wage Vietnam and China, rather than the United States. For example, as of this year, Nike has 46 percent of its products produced in Vietnam, where the yearly minimum wage is close to $1,000. About 27 percent of its products are made in China, where the average worker earns less than $5,000 a year.
Nike is just one multinational corporation that has contributed to the outsourcing of American jobs to China. In the state of Oregon in the last ten years, about 21,000 U.S. jobs have been outsourced to China by corporations like Nike.