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No Nike Sweatshops, Says Ex-Ambassador

Wed., June 25, 1997

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, hired by Nike to evaluate its labor practices, said in a report Tuesday that he saw no widespread abuse of workers at the company’s shoe factories in Asia.

Young, who made a 15-day visit to factories in the Far East, said they were clean, well-lighted and didn’t resemble what Americans would call sweatshops.

Nike, the world’s No. 1 athletic shoe manufacturer, has been accused by human rights groups of brutal work conditions and meager pay. One report said supervisors groped young women as they worked.

Human rights groups branded Young’s report a whitewash and said it fails to focus on the main problem: that workers aren’t paid enough to live.

Nike workers were paid $2.46 a day in Indonesia, $1.60 in Vietnam and $1.75 in China, according to human rights groups. But the basic living wage is about $4 a day in Indonesia and $3 in Vietnam and China, the groups said.

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