- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2000

Nike sports its global manufacturing practices

Tom Knott's "Nike: Activist for women, but not Asian laborers?" (Sports, June 19) unfortunately perpetuates misinformation by confusing the issues of gender relations in the United States and global manufacturing. In the interest of constructive dialogue, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight regarding Nike's global manufacturing practices.

As Mr. Knott stated, Nike is in the shoe business, but it is not as simple as that. We recognize our responsibility to all our employees and are making continuous improvements. At the same time, we remain committed to athletes. Nike will not shy away from issues our athletes feel are pertinent to their success on and off the track, court or field. Mr. Knott's dislike for our "Mrs. Jones" ads is a separate issue and when mixed with global manufacturing issues only serves to cloud and oversimplify the debate.

The fact is, Nike offers good wages, benefits and desirable jobs in countries where wages are low and jobs are scarce. We start by using country-mandated minimum wages as a foundation. In most cases, however, entry-level workers earn more in cash and allowances than local governments require. In addition to wages, most workers also receive benefits such as housing, transportation, on-site health care and meals. Jobs in Nike contract facilities provide opportunities to build a lifestyle and life skills that are not typically available in other wage-earning opportunities in the areas where our products are manufactured.

This is part of Nike's long-term commitment to the continuous improvement of how we do business, here in the United States and abroad. Nike's most recent effort at improving the way we do business came on May 31, when we launched Transparency 101, a unique effort designed to demystify Nike's factory monitoring process by posting the results of our PricewaterhouseCoopers factory monitoring on our Web site at www.nikebiz.com/labor/ index.shtml. It is also a way to hold Nike accountable to the people who care about these issues. Through Transparency 101, visitors to our Web site will not only be able to track our factory partners' compliance with Nike's manufacturing standards and code of conduct, they will also be able to track, right on the Web site, if and how these factories are improving.

Nike knows that globalization and human rights can and do coexist. That's why we work closely with nonprofit organizations, governmental authorities and other partners to ensure that our workers, and their communities, benefit from their relationship with Nike.

Please visit our Web site at www.nikebiz.com for more details and the most current information about Nike's corporate responsibility programs.

VADA MANAGER

Director of Global Issues Management

Nike Inc.

Beaverton, Ore.

Readers fight Park Service view of history

As a Vietnam combat veteran and voting taxpayer, I am enraged at the attempt to introduce the politics of revisionist left-wing history into Civil War battlefields ("Civil War gets a PC makeover in Park Service view of battle," July 10). If John Latschar, superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park, believes that the "quality of history education has declined," he should engage members of Congress such as Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who was mentioned in the article, to improve the public school system, not the politically correct view that is being forced down the throats of Americans.

I suggest Mr. Latschar reread the Gettysburg Address and pay close attention to Abraham Lincoln's words: "The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." The operative word is "did." No soldier has ever entered into a battle thinking about the political implications or consequences of the killing field. Duty, honor and sacrifice are the rule of the day, and it is for these courageous actions that we revere past American heroes of all wars. And that is why current Americans want to visit the consecrated fields where so many gave up their lives for their cause.

If Mr. Latschar condones the National Park Service's politically correct version of Gettysburg, he should be fired. If he was coerced into it, he should resign.

EMMETT LAUER

Silver Spring

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"Since 1998 … park superintendents, particularly Robert Sutton at Manassas, have been working on "broadening" some would say distorting the history they tell. When Manassas opened its renovated exhibits last summer two panels now told of slavery's role in prompting the war. And Richmond's park opened its new visitors center in June, with slavery front and center in the story."

The preceding quote was taken from "Civil War gets a PC makeover in Park Service view of battle." I challenge your staff and readership to visit Richmond's new Civil War Visitor Center and judge for themselves. Civil War history is in no way distorted. It is objectively offered for the public's consumption. A tour of the grounds reveals Richmond's pivotal role in the Civil War through carefully selected and represented artifacts and reproductions.

Of course, scholars of Civil War history will disagree with any interpretation of this history. Were it not for scholarly disagreement, however, historical interpretation would remain static.

Visit the Civil War Visitor Center and decide for yourself.

JOHN "JAY" WHITE

Richmond

Company's anti-noise rules mean a new Day for local residents

Three cheers for construction company F.O. Day Co. Inc. for taking steps to improve the quality of life for Rockville residents.

A new policy introduced by F.O. Day this month requires all of its truck drivers traveling to and from the company's Rockville plant between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. to take Shady Grove Road to Route 28 or Interstate 270, instead of using Darnestown Road.

The company also has asked its drivers to refrain from using engine brakes, or "jack brakes," in residential areas.

We feel certain that the residents in the neighborhoods along Darnestown Road who were subjected to loud truck noise will be pleased with the changes F.O. Day has made.

It is clear from this commitment that F.O. Day is concerned about maintaining the quality of life for residents in that area, and I hope that other companies will follow its lead.

ROSE KRASNOW

Mayor of Rockville

More laws, more insanity

In her letter regarding abortion laws, Janet Baker makes a mistake ("Law trumps change of hearts on abortion issue," Letters, July 11). She states that laws are what keep society from devolving into anarchy. Actually, the incredible number of laws in this country is a measure of our own depravity.

The desire to control our fellow humans through the force of law (rather than persuasion or incentive) is a symptom of how uncivilized we've become.

Often, rather than having a positive outcome, our laws have a negative outcome, such as gun bans and the drug war. We've piled laws on top of laws, banning and regulating every human behavior, yet would anyone argue that society has become more civilized?

Ms. Baker herself acknowledges that morality is not determined by what is legal and illegal.

In arguing for yet more laws, Americans fit a definition of insanity I once heard. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.

NOELLE STETTNER

Falls Church

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