NIKE Cornell Store

Courtesy of Cornell Organization for Labor Action

July 10, 2017

Pollack Cuts Ties With Nike Citing Failure to Meet Labor Guidelines

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After more than a year of Cornell Organization for Labor Action protesting Nike’s relationship with the University, President Martha Pollack took action and cut ties with the leading sportswear brand in a letter dated July 7.

The letter notified Nike and Branded Custom Sportswear — the apparel maker’s exclusive licensee for college apparel — that since they were unwilling to attest to a labor code of conduct, vetted by Cornell and peer institutions, their licensing relationship had been terminated, the University announced Monday.

COLA began protesting the University’s ties with Nike when the company refused to allow the Workers Rights Consortium to independently monitor its factories over two years ago.

Earlier the administration had said that there was “not enough evidence” to make a decision.

The letter marks the second time that Cornell has cut ties with Nike. In an earlier interview COLA member Alfie Rayner ’18 had explained how Cornell terminated its contract five years ago due to Nike’s violations of the Bangladesh Health and Safety Accords.

In the July 7 letter, Pollack allowed for the possibility of the licensing agreement to be renewed if Nike decides to adopt suitable labor conditions.

“To the extent that Nike and/or BCS decide in the future to embrace the IMG standard contract language, Cornell University will be happy to re-engage with you as licensing partners,” Pollack wrote.

The Cornell Store will sell its current stock of Nike merchandise, but no new orders will be placed, the University said.

Members of COLA praised Pollack’s decision in a press release and highlighted that Cornell is now the fifth school to take action against Nike’s alleged labor violations, following Rutgers, Georgetown, UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern.

“COLA is proud to see Cornell’s standing commitment towards upholding Cornell’s values and legacy on global labor issues,” it said.

  • Sad

    These same COLA members complain when prices are too high at the Cornell Store. As always, they don’t care what the consequences of their actions will be.

    • Student

      Odd, I’ve never seen or heard COLA complain about prices, their thing seems to be more about labor rights, something I think we can all get behind, even for marginally higher prices…

      • I’ll Take Capitalism Please

        Speak for yourself. Some of us have to actually work for our money instead of spending our parents money or taking out irresponsible loans.

  • Geoff

    But Cornell athletics will continue to buy nike…

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  • Umm…

    It seems contradictory that Cornell Sports Teams that represent Cornell University near and far will be wearing NIKE products on the field.

    Why was that not the target of this? That is more of a University statement than selling a product to people who have a choice to purchase and/or not purchase in protest.

  • Acturg

    Focus on getting grads decent jobs with wages that justify the high cost of tuition.