Nike Agrees To Help Watchdog Group Inspect Its Overseas Factories

After allowing its longtime licensing agreement with Nike to expire in December, Georgetown University has struck a deal with the apparel giant that all sides say will help improve conditions for vulnerable garment workers in Asia.

Under the new contract, Nike will help facilitate inspections at its suppliers’ factories by an independent watchdog, the Worker Rights Consortium. The group claimed last year that Nike had refused to allow it to inspect a Vietnam factory roiled by a labor strike; that, in turn, prompted protests by students at Georgetown and other college campuses who urged their administrators to cut ties with Nike.

Scott Nova, the head of the WRC, said the new agreement guarantees his group will be able to interview workers at factories producing Nike’s Georgetown apparel if there are allegations of abuse. Many universities require by contract that the suppliers making collegiate clothes meet basic labor standards, and, like Georgetown, they partner with the WRC to make sure the facilities are scrutinized.

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