On October 29, 2009, I took part in a meeting at TIAA-CREF Headquarters in New York City to discuss how TC could use their roughly $240,000,000.000 investment in Nike stock to bring about change on the ground for Nike’s factory workers.
The hour-long meeting with Roger Ferguson, TC’s CEO, and John Wilson, TC’s Director of Corporate Governance, went very well. I shared information with Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Wilson about my July/August research trip to Indonesia, including the facts that Nike workers in Indonesia are still paid a poverty wage, that they do not have fair union contracts in place, and that there are still basic worker rights being systematically violated.
Mr. Ferguson made a commitment that TC would continue to dialogue with Nike on these issues and to seek documentation from Nike with regard to their monitoring and remediation mechanisms. Along with this effort, I strongly recommended that Mr. Ferguson seek a clear public statement from Nike with regard to the issue of workers’ wages. To date, Nike has been less than consistent on where they stand on this issue and I stressed that consumers and investors have a right to accurate information.
In what can be seen as a positive step forward in TC’s engaging Nike, Mr. Wilson has recently gone on record stating that:
“We… initiated a dialogue with Nike, Inc. about labor and human rights issues.”
Having TC go on public record stating that they are engaging Nike may not seem all that important, but in this fight for justice, every small victory counts.
Peace, Jim Keady