Getting a manager's approval to use a toilet during their only break during a 18-hour work day. Having shoes thrown at them. Being slapped across the face.
These are all current realizations that many Adidas factory employees face every day.
Egregious human rights violations, workforce and labor violations, creating and running sweat shops, and refusal to raise their workers' pay to a living wage are just a few of the many brutal tactics Adidas employs in order to maintain their huge profit margins. Columbia University - a leader in the fight for human equality, human rights, and poverty reduction - should not continue their contract with Adidas nor should they continue carrying their items in their bookstores.
From War On Want: "In Indonesia, workers are paid as little as 34p an hour, with some factories not even the legal minimum wage. As a result, workers said they skip meals to save money and that every day someone in their factory passes out because they are exhausted or unwell. In the Philippines, workers said that their basic wage does not cover their families’ minimum needs; more than of half those interviewed said that they are forced to pawn ATM cards to loan sharks for high-interest loans.
Faced with such low pay, workers often have little choice but to work excessive hours just to scrape together enough to get by. Playfair’s research found workers in China are working from 8am to 11pm, regularly working overtime in excess of the legal limit. In Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines workers all reported that overtime is compulsory in order to meet their production targets.
Long hours are not the only problem workers face – in China, workers live in a state of permanent uncertainty with little job security. The majority of workers are employed on temporary contacts – and their contracts state that they have two places of work over 120 miles apart. The workers say that if they disobey their managers they fear being transferred, effectively dismissing them.
Workers also face an appalling lack of basic dignity and respect at work. In Indonesia workers need their managers’ permission just to go to the toilet. Workers reported being verbally abused, having shoes thrown at them or being slapped across the face."
On top of exploiting labor in developing countries, employing unethical and unfair business practices, and forcing employees to work in hazardous and dangerous conditions, Adidas continues their deplorable practice history as the company refuses to pay over $1.8 million in LEGALLY owed severance to 2,800 employees in Indonesia, formerly employed at an Indonesian sweat shop (roughly half a year's salary per person). Though other major brands have contributed their portion of severance money, Adidas remains the ONLY company that has refused to pay a single cent.
So join the twelve other institutions like Cornell, Oberlin, University of Washington, Rutgers, Georgetown, College of William & Mary and more who have taken a stand and refused to let their schools accept this kind of disregard for basic human rights. Let's get Columbia to stop supporting a company whose employees receive death threats, illegally fire employees if they attempt to become educated on union organizing, require ever-increasing production quotas for poverty wages, and steal owed severance money to its works.
Columbia: Break ties with Adidas and break the chain of human rights abuses.