HIGHTOWER: NIKE SWEATSHOPS

Time again to salute another of Hightower's Gooberheads -- giving recognition to those who have their tongues running at full speed . . . but don't have their brains in gear.Today's Goober is Andrew Young -- the former UN Ambassador, former Mayor of Atlanta, former civil rights leader . . . and current apologist for the Nike corporation. Mr. Young has a distinguished record of service to oppressed people, but in one grab for a pot of Nike gold, he has besmirched his reputation and harmed thousands of impoverished workers laboring in Nike's Asian sweatshops.Nike, unhappy about the bad publicity it's getting for its exploitation of sweatshop labor, decided to pull a publicity stunt. It hired Andrew Young to conduct an "investigation" of Nike's foreign shoe-manufacturing factories, paying him to write an "independent" report.Young's report is out and -- guess what? -- he says, "It is my sincere belief that Nike is doing a good job." Before you take Andy's word, though, consider that:ONE, Young spent only three or four hours in each of only a dozen Asian factories;TWO, he was accompanied by Nike officials on each visit and relied on Nike translators;THREE, his inspections were pre-announced, giving the factories plenty of time to spiff-up; and,FOUR, Young was not allowed to talk to workers in private, nor did his report even raise the issues of the wages they are paid.Asked about the infamous incident in which some of Nike's Vietnamese workers were punished by being forced to run around their factory in the sweltering heat until they dropped, Mr. Young acknowledged that this did happen but he said "This was the way they do things [there]. You run around to race your motor."Andy Young's shameful "report" has got more whitewash on it than Tom Sawyer's fence. What a goober.Source:"Nike's Asian Factories Pass Young's Muster" by Dana Canedy. New York Times: June 25, 1997. "Nike Tries to Quell Exploit" by G. Pascal Zachary and Samantha Marshall. Wall Street Journal: June 25, 1997. "Human Rights Group Responds to Executive Summary on Nike..."Good Works." Global Exchange Press Release. June 23, 1997.Contact us directly at: hightower@essential.org

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