NIKPRM~.txt Nike Inc. files; part of nikeworkers.com series; created Saturday, February 14, 1998 2:55:02 PM ; last modified Saturday, February 14, 1998 2:43:40 PM ; saved by D. Boje as NIKprMethodists (file origins).

 

REMARKS BY VIDETTE BULLOCK MIXON

DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE RELATIONS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GENERAL BOARD OF PENSIONS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE UNITED METHODISTS CHURCH

 

NIKE, Inc. Annual Shareholder’s Meeting

Oregon Convention Center

Portland, Oregon

September 22, 1997

 

 

Thank you Mr. Knight. Mr. Chairman, members of the board, and fellow

shareholders, I am Videttte Bullock Mixon, representing the general board of pension and health benefits for the United Methodist Church, official owner of 122,200 shares of NIKE, Inc. stock. The general board invests over $9.5 billion dollars on behalf of 65,000 active and retired participants, and we endeavor to be socially responsible.

 

The United Methodist Church has a long history of advocating for economic justice and promoting decent working conditions and the right to organize and bargain collectively, and has opposed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, ethnic background, gender, age or handicapping conditions. In keeping with this tradition, the general board utilizes its status as a shareholder to encourage companies to be better corporate citizens. Such encouragement takes the form of shareholder resolutions and verbal dialogue with corporate management. In 1996 and 1997 shareholder resolutions were filed by the general board on fair labor practices because we believe that one of the company’s greatest assets is its employees or those who produce its products. We believe that a company will only be successful and achieve its fiscal and ethical goals with well trained and equitably compensated employees who work in a safe and healthy environment. Proponents of the 1997 shareholder resolution not only included the general board, but also informed investors group, Progressive Asset Management, Progressive Securities Investment

Group, and the Missionary Acolytes of Mary Immaculate.

 

The proponents were pleased that NIKE management accepted our invitation to have comprehensive conversations about initiatives being taken and in future plans which we interpreted as responsive to our shareholder resolution about fair labor practices.

After a constructive day, a long meeting on August the first, 1997, and in the spirit of cooperation and in maintaining open communication, proponents withdrew the 1997 shareholder resolution after NIKE committed to comply with five conditions.

 

And those conditions are as follows: First, by January the 31st, NIKE will consider proposals, and I’m pleased that Mr. Knight has indicated today that such a proposal has already been entertained and will be made available to shareholders. And we believe such a study should prove beneficial to NIKE as a source of verifiable data to support statements that contract workers, and I quote "earn enough to live comfortably, spend money on discretionary consumer items, save money and share money with an extended family" end of quote. And we as NIKE constituents and shareholders, we eagerly await the results of this study.

 

The second condition included NIKE’s commitment to continue its participation in the independent third-party monitoring process utilizing non-governmental organizations.

And NIKE is to be commended for being in the vanguard of companies to join President Clinton’s Apparel Industry Partnership. Many challenging decisions need to be made concerning independent third-party monitoring, a process for investigating labor abuses and product certification. Among members of the partnership, these important decisions have the potential to be divisive and potential deal-breakers. But it is very encouraging that NIKE management has agreed to remain at the table until mutually agreeable positions can be established that will be in the best interests of companies, shareholders, workers, and consumers.

 

And the third condition, NIKE has agreed to quarterly conference calls and conversations, and we as proponents of the shareholder resolution look forward to these calls over the next 24 months to discuss the status of various initiatives being undertaken by NIKE to address questions, opportunities, and challenges related to labor practice issues.

 

The fourth condition: NIKE has extended an invitation to shareholders who met on August the first to visit company production facilities in Southeast Asia, and we accept the invitation and we appreciate the opportunity to become better informed about our company.

 

Finally, it was agreed that a proponent could attend the shareholder meeting. And therefore Mr. Knight, on behalf of the resolution proponents, I congratulate NIKE on its 25th anniversary. At this milestone in the company’s history, it is appropriate to reflect on the past and look to the future.

 

Mr. Chairman, we agree with your decision as printed in the 1997 shareholder annual report, which reads, and I quote, "NIKE has taken some time to look at how far we have come and how far we have to go," end of quote. As concerned shareholders, we thank you for the positive steps taken by the company to address fair labor practices, and because there is no finish line, we believe NIKE and others in the industry have a ways to go before victory can be declared for embracing the best labor practices throughout the world. And as shareholders, we will be closely monitoring NIKE’s progress, and encouraging the company to exercise its leadership position to advocate for equitable labor practices. And I thank you.

 

 

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