Many billion dollar shoe companies prefer not to do their own manufacturing. They subcontract production with foreign businesses in Asia where workers receive rock bottom wages. The shoe companies that are participating in this cheap act include Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma, Hi-Tec, and many others. All of these companies stick to their own advertising, product development, and distribution while contracting Third World factories to produce their products.
No company is paying or treating their workers better than another. This is because in an Asian factory you will see the rival brands rolling ...view middle of the document...
Some 65,000 Nike U.S. shoe workers lost their jobs because of the move over seas (Putnam, Internet). Making these sport shoes does benefit developing countries. It brings money, jobs, and some skills are shared. However, Nike's target is not so. As Taiwan and South Korea democratized, unions became legal, and wages began to rise, Nike immediately began to look for new undeveloped havens of low wages. New operations were set up in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Thailand. Nike now has a work force of only 8,000 employees. The 350,000 people who make their shoes in Asia (Hua, "Nike Protest Charges Abuses of Employees.") are employed by subcontractors, not Nike.
In the past couple of years Nike has taken in and responded to criticism of its contractors' factories with a number of initiatives. The first one was their Code of Conduct for their contractors. The second was the hiring of Ernst and Young to independently monitor the Code of Conduct. Most recently, Nike has announced their plan to form a dedicated labor practices department (Connor and Atkinson, "Labour conditions in the sport shoe industry.") Nike's primary defense to charges of abuse of workers is that they do not own the Asian factories. They are run by subcontractors and they say they don't have control over them, even though Nike has control over each and every stitch that goes on in each product line.