July 07, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
Nike is a brand that’s used to a lot of scrutiny. Since the 1990s, they’ve weathered multiple exposés and campaigns about the conditions under which their clothes are manufactured. But despite the hard work of workers and activists, the conditions in those factories can still be dire. Right now, in countries like Vietnam and Cambodia, workers regularly suffer mass faintings, wage theft and gender-based violence in the workplace. And Nike is going to great lengths to keep that fact covered up.
Nike attempts to hide the mistreatment of its workers by not allowing independent labor rights monitors to inspect the factories where its shoes and other products are made to insure that workers are not being paid poverty wages or exposed to dangerous conditions on the job. Instead, it is only allowing monitors it hires to do inspections.
Trusting Nike is difficult when it has a long history of using sweatshop labor.
United Students Against Sweatshops is holding a Global Day of Action Against Nike, and we ask our supporters to add their voices to the call for Nike to #JustDoTheRightThing. The day of action will take place on July 29th, 2017, with actions in more than 25 cities across five continents. There are lots of ways to support, such as:
Join an Action Near You! Stand with students and community members in your city. Click on the city for details for actions taking place across the country. Actions are already planned in: New York City, Washington D.C., Seattle, Boston , Denver, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Jackson, MS, San Francisco, CA , Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Columbus, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland OR and more.
Sign a Petition to Nike! Add your name to the call for Nike to stop hiding abuses at its factories.
Sample Facebook Post 1:
Don’t buy #NikeLies! Nike will have you believe they promote #equality and empower women, but continue to exploit the labor of working women inside their factories.
I support students and workers fighting back against the worst boss of all – NIKE!
Sample Facebook Post 2:
Looks like Nike is returning to it’s infamous sweatshop legacy. Since restricting independent factory inspector, the Workers Rights Consortium, Nike has pulled production from factories where workers dare speak up, most recently in Honduras where hundreds of workers lost jobs after Nike pulled from their union factory. #NikeSweatshops
Click to Tweet: Don’t Buy #NikeLies, solidarity with Honduran Nike workers!
Click to Tweet: What does Nike have to hide, let the WRC inside! #NikeLies
Click to Tweet: Nike, #JustDoTheRightThing for workers!
USAS has loads of more good information here.
July 07, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
As people ask how things are going with The Human Thread, my most regular reply of late has been “trabajo de hormigas.” From Spanish, quite literally, it is “ant work.” The Chileans, among whom I most often heard it said, understand it to be meticulous work, slow work. Just as ants move small objects (although large in comparison to their bodies), the advancement of dignity, decent work, just wages, and workplace safety is slow in progress, but it has dramatic results in the lives of tens of millions around the globe.
Yesterday, it was announced that Cornell university cut ties with Nike. The result of a two-year campaign by students in Cornell Organization for Labor Action, this administration decision joins Cornell with Rutgers, Georgetown, UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern. This effort began when Nike refused to allow the Workers Rights Consortium to independently monitor its factories. It is pleasing to see Cornell University take these steps. Frankly, if other colleges and universities would stand by their values, the conditions for garment workers around the world will improve. For that matter, if we as consumers, demand better, more complete information and stand by our values, conditions will improve.
It is indeed slow, meticulous work, but we must savor the gradual growth of a movement in a genuine fashion makeover. We want a fashion makeover, not for some clothes that will be out of style in the fall, but for clothes made in justice. If we each do our part, we will achieve, together, a bold example of the “trabajo de hormigas.”
Perhaps it is worth sharing what is known as the Romero prayer.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw
*This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him. For more information, visit the USCCB.
July 07, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
No longer wearing that fleece? Amid the various things we can do to reduce the environmental damage of the garment industry is to Get it to someone who needs it via St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. The one thing that we should NEVER do: dispose of clothing and shoes in the garbage. Currently, only about 15% of clothing in the U.S. is donated or recycled. In the US alone, 12.8 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills each year (about 87 lbs of clothing per person every year). Clothing in landfills results in a myriad of harms. For instance, nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose. This must change, and here are some organizations that can help:
Blue Jeans Go Green, a program of Cotton Incorporated, upcycles denim donations into insulation, which it then gives away — but does not sell — to various entities, including many Habitat for Humanity chapters.
Brides dream of having the perfect dress and a beautiful gown is an essential part of every bride’s special day. From donations of gowns, Brides Across America gives a military or first responder bride a free wedding gown.
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Gently used business attire can help disadvantaged women to succeed at work through Dress for Success. Find an affiliate location near you, and drop off your unneeded office wear.
Worn out athletic shoes can be given a new life as part of tracks, playgrounds, outdoor courts, or other places to play through the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program. They have locations around the country to gather the shoes.
This nonprofit program will distribute your gently worn shoes to people in need all over the world. Find local drop off locations on Soles 4 Souls, and you can also organize a shoe drive to increase your impact.
Use your fashion for good with Union & Fifth. Simply select which charity you would like to benefit, download a free shipping label, and clean out your closet. Union & Fifth will sell your clothes and send 75% of the sale price to your chosen charity.
Remember: ditch the dumpster and donate your goods to a worthy cause!
March 03, 2017
Author: Christopher Cox
In January, Catholic Relief Services re-branded what was their fair trade program as CRS Ethical Trade. It now includes a shopping guide, with categories like home decor, desserts, religious items, jewelry, apparel, and coffee and tea. The new expanded CRS Ethical Trade Program builds upon the strong principles of fair trade while also engaging with other business models that have a positive impact on workers, the environment and local communities. Not all of the companies CRS partners with are designated fair trade but rather they fall into a larger category of companies that are doing business responsibly.
The CRS program has grown to ensure that a consumer can purchase goods that have a positive impact both on producers and on the environment. As well, CRS maintains current resources for faith formation in schools, parishes and faith communities to form people in ethical consumption and to advocate for a more ethical world.
CRS was a part of the initial conversations that launched The Human Thread. With this re-branding, CRS provides useful, improved tools for purchasing ethically.