ITHACA, NY - For the second time, Cornell has terminated its contract with Nike, primarily due to a cited lack of manufacturing ethics.
Nike and its apparel licensee, Branded Custom Sportswear, have refused to conform to a labor code of conduct proposed by several universities, including Cornell. Among the other academic institutes who have halted their relationships with Nike are Georgetown, UC Santa Barbara and Northeastern University. COLA, the Cornell Organization for Labor Action, has been vocal and persistent in its opposition to the business agreements with Nike.
The first violation that offended Cornell was five years ago, against the Bangladesh Health and Safety Accords. Most recently, COLA protested the company’s secrecy surrounding its factories, seen in Nike’s noncompliance with Workers Rights Consortium. While many of those who participate in COLA are students of the School of International Labor Relations, several represent other areas and interests on campus.
Cornell President Martha Pollack, however, was not excessively harsh in her verdict that was issued on July 7th. She has left open the possibility for a rekindling of the business relationship between Cornell and Nike in the future, contingent on Nike’s adherence to appropriate labor conditions. The Cornell Store will sell its existing Nike goods – hopefully with discounted prices – but there is a pause on any further orders.