Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Just Do It

When I heard of the uproar over Colin Kaepernick's ad campaign with Nike I did bust a move.  First of all this is not the first or last campaign of controversy Nike has embraced over its lifetime and it is just that - a marketing campaign.  There have been many, such as  the one with Charles Barkley, Tiger Woods and even recently over Serena Williams and her catsuit at the U.S. Open.  They are not the first company of late to come under fire for the varying campaigns, comments and donations made by the founders and executives of companies nor again the last.  There are times when companies do clearly with intent take a stand, Bob's Sporting Goods, Delta are two that came out after Parkland but many chose not.  But in the world of social media ## there have been many of late.

Let's list them shall we:

  • L.L. Bean
  • Chick-fil-A
  • In and Out Burger
  • Papa John's Pizza
  • Starbucks
  • T.J Maxx, Marshall's et al for Ivanka Trump brands
  • BP after the Gulf Oi; Spill
  • The N.R.A (and companies that do business with them)  
  • Advertisers on Fox over varying insanity on the network that brings it to you daily
  • Dove Soap
  • H&M
  • Sam Adams Beer
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Facebook 
  • Amazon
  • Target 

The L.A. Times did a good article that covers the issues surrounding boycotts and when they work and when they do not but even that article seems outdated as we have had so many incendiary issues of late I am out for the count.  But #GrabYourWallet can keep you updated on who or what to not buy or buy depending on your level of crazy.

I am all for making decisions that best serve your interests and align with your beliefs and not because the masses or herds have informed you to do so.  I have really appreciated the Colleges and Universities that worked together to find common ground and change how apparel was manufactured and sold on campuses and it was done with the best of intentions to stop what is largely a function of human slavery and trafficking.  We have a lot to do on the front with regards to prison labor as well. And we as consumers have that right to put our money and mouths together and that is the right of both free will and the free marketplace although of late there are fewer and fewer choices due to endless consolidations and mergers but that is idea.

The thing that has bothered me about Nike is not this marketing campaign but that the brouhaha that resulted.  Funny when the New York Times investigated their business practices had exposed them for failing to promote women, pay them equally and had Executives on staff who had long histories of abusing and harassing staff and in turn covering that behavior  there was not a peep from customers or athletes who are paid to promote their products. Interesting that Serena Williams failed to address that issue by slamming a racket into their heads.  That one flew by like a fast serve but some Executives did leave the company as a result.

Since that story, a lawsuit has been filed,  alleging discrimination by ex-employees.  So again you want to burn some shoes?  Great you paid for them they are yours to do with what you like but why did you buy them again?& Oh wait an Athlete you DID like wears them. Good to know. Priorities people priorities.

You are either a head of the pack or firmly in the middle. What I have admired or more importantly who is Colin Kaepernick who has elected to say nothing.  He has been on the Nike payroll for quite some time and they now elected to use his image for their own purpose, what this does for Mr. Kaepernick is again bring attention to an issue that has been in play for decades when we have used the forum to address larger issues.  Ask Muhammed Ali about that. Oh he's dead but Trump planned on pardoning him. For of course nothing but standing up for his rights and the Supreme Court agreed. Funny how Trump seems to pick and choose his battles based on misinformation and histrionics.   The statement or phrase "He is an Idiot" is beginning to have some traction regardless of who has said it.  Yes we are in crazy town folks.

So stand up, sit down, fight fight fight.  I have not bought Nike in years.  And guess what I won't know until they address the real issue - discrimination.   And that too is what Mr. Kaepernick is undergoing by being blacklisted in the N.F.L.  Don't see that changing anytime soon and Nike confirmed it. He is a hot product and not in a good way. I think Ali could easily relate.

Ex-Employees Sue Nike, Alleging Gender Discrimination

By Tiffany Hsu The New York Times  Aug. 10, 2018

Claiming a culture of sexual harassment and gender bias at Nike that left women demeaned and underpaid, two former employees sued the sports apparel company late Thursday, demanding more equitable policies.

The federal lawsuit, which seeks class action status, was filed on behalf of Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston in Portland, Ore., near where Nike is based. Ms. Johnston worked at the company for nearly a decade until she resigned from her analyst role in November; Ms. Cahill gave up her position as a director in July 2017 after almost four years there.

Both women left Nike, the world’s largest sports footwear and apparel company, because of the hostile work environment, according to the complaint.

They said in the lawsuit that Nike spent years hiring women at lower salaries than men, discriminating against women during performance reviews and promoting female employees less frequently than male counterparts doing comparable work. The company hierarchy is described in the complaint as “an unclimbable pyramid — the more senior the job title, the smaller the percentage of women.”

The women also said that complaints to human resources about sexual harassment were ignored or mishandled.

In a statement on Friday, Nike said that it “opposes discrimination of any type.”

“We are committed to competitive pay and benefits for our employees,” the company said.

The lawsuit comes after an investigation by The New York Times found a long history of female employees being iced out of key roles at Nike and subjected to inappropriate behavior by supervisors.
Women at the company quietly surveyed their female peers about their experiences and sent their findings in the spring to Mark Parker, Nike’s chief executive. Within months, at least 11 senior managers had left the company.

In May, at an employee meeting at Nike’s headquarters, Mr. Parker apologized to workers who were excluded and pledged to make changes to compensation and training programs. Nike said in an internal memo last month that more than 7,000 employees, or about 10 percent of its 74,000 employees worldwide, will receive raises following a pay review.

On Friday, the lawyers for Ms. Cahill and Ms. Johnston said that the lawsuit, which requires a judge’s certification to be considered a collective action, could cover more than 500 women. No hearing date has been set.

The lawsuit asks that Nike craft standards to ensure equal pay, fair promotion procedures and nondiscriminatory performance evaluations. The women also seek reinstatement at the company and back pay.

“The way Nike marginalizes women at its headquarters is completely contrary to how it portrays itself to its customers as valuing women in sports and the importance of providing equal opportunity to play,” Byron Goldstein, a lawyer for the women, said in a statement.

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