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China's Workers Flex Muscle — Go On Strike At Factories That Make Nike, Adidas and Reebok Athletic Shoes: Workers Cheated Out of Promised Benefits

Pile of Nike Athletic Shoes: Did exploited workers in China make  these?
Pile of Nike Athletic Shoes: Did exploited workers in China make
these? (Photo by Don Hankins)
Forget walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Why not just imagine what it’s like to be one of the people who literally makes your shoes? Evidently, the conditions are rough: an estimated 30,000 shoe factory workers are currently on strike in China.

For the past two weeks, workers at Yue Yuen, the largest sneaker manufacturer in the world, have gone on strike, effectively shutting down at least seven of the company’s ten Chinese factories. The strike could have a massive economic impact considering that Yue Yuen produces shoes for Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok, Timberland and Asics, among others. Since the beginning of 2013, Yue Yuen has manufactured more than 300 million pairs of shoes.
The main dispute seems to center around social security benefits that the company is obligated to pay for, but has instead secretly cut costs by not actually doing so. Strikers have also demanded that the company provide the meals and housing that they were promised. Generally, workers in these factories are housed in on-site dormitories, but Yue Yuen’s employees allege that they are not actually receiving these accommodations for free.

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