Nike “Bites the Dust”: Cornell Commits to Dropping Nike

cornell-cut-nikeCornell University has committed to dropping Nike over its refusal to pay $2.2 million legally owed to 1,800 workers formerly employed at two Nike supplier factories in Honduras.  The decision comes in the wake of protests by the USAS affiliates Cornell Organization for Labor Action and Cornell Students Against Sweatshops.

Inside Higher Ed covered the Cornell victory under the headline “Another One Bites the Dust.”  In April, the University of Wisconsin became the first-ever school to cut ties with Nike over worker rights violations, following a campaign by USAS affiliate Student Labor Action Coalition.

The latest article debunks Nike’s excuses for not paying the $2.2 million they owe workers in Honduras:

While Nike has offered training and vocational programs, the company insists the payments are the responsibility of the subcontractors. That position, however, runs afoul of many university codes of conduct – including Cornell’s, which holds licensees responsible for the actions of subcontractors, the university’s oversight committee maintains.

In a letter announcing the decision, Cornell president David Skorton said that the Ivy league school will drop Nike when its licensing contract with the sportswear giant expires on December 31, unless “significant progress” is made.  Given the clear-cut nature of the case, the only reasonable measure of progress is whether or not Nike has paid the $2.2 million legally owed to workers.

As we celebrate this victory, students around the country continue to wage the “Just Pay It!” campaign on their campuses and in their cities.  To bring the movement to your campus, e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required

See also:

» June 23, 2010: Ex-Workers’ Letters Emphasize Daily Suffering while Nike and Universities Drag their Feet
» May 1, 2010: Thousands march on Nike in company’s hometown
» April 28, 2010: Nike on Trial in its Hometown: Portland Community Leaders Call for Fairness after Hearing

About the Author

Jack Mahoney is a National Organizer for USAS. Jack coordinates our campaigns in solidarity with campus workers, along with various other duties. He graduated in 2008 from Georgetown University, where as a USAS member he organized with campus janitors for a landmark union victory for living wages.