Our big shot business companies

I.J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

By Marc H.

The trouble with some companies in today's society is they look for the easy way to get work done, and they probably don't think it will affect the consumers. Big shot companies seem to have the perfect product. You'd think they would manufacture in a manner that is just as good as their product sells. But it doesn't work that way. Instead, workers are treated terribly in sweatshops and they get very little in return for the excellent products they make.

Recently, a woman named Linda Ross from Oxfam Canada came to our school and told us about the workers' environment and the way they're treated. All I could think about was the big companies could do better than this without hurting thier profit too much. At Nike, for example, the workers get a paltry $0.16 per shoe. Nike then receives a whole lot more for the product and, although the decent thing to do would be to give a good bit to their workers, instead famous sports stars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan get a huge chunk of the money just for endorsing the product! They probably think this will get more people into buying their product because their "heroes" are wearing them.

If the workers couldn't receive more money, they could at least be treated like normal human beings. From what I've heard, they aren't treated with very much respect: bad working environments, being pushed around, and in some examples being physically abused if they didn't finish the product in time. But it should be the workers who should at least receive respect, because if it weren't for them, there wouldn't be much of a product. It is they who are making it possible, not the sports stars. They can hardly feed their families with the salary they're paid. Nike, as well as other companies, should fork over the dough to them. And it's not like they would go bankrupt or anything. They have a lot to spare.

After Linda Ross' talk about sweatshop labour, our class decided to write either letters to her about what we thought of her visit, or complaints to the CEO of Nike. And guess what most of us chose? I don't think any of us wrote to Nike saying they were doing a good job with their workers. Instead, we reminded them of what they were doing and what they could do to fix their attitudes, and hopefully they got the point.

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