Companies, especially manufacturing ones, like cheap labour, and Nike is no exception. The US sports goods giant makes 46 per cent of its products in Vietnam, where the minimum wage is about $1,000 a year, and 27 per cent in China, where the average worker earns less than $5,000 a year. Meanwhile last year it laid off 1,400 workers in the US where the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which equates to $14,000 a year, and many states have higher minimum rates.
Mike Parker, the chief executive of Nike, has more than doubled the company’s annual revenue to over $32billion since taking over as CEO in 2006. His pay package was tripled in 2016 to $47.6million (about £36million at the current exchange rate). Obviously President Trump’s plans to bring jobs back to America by placing heavy duties on imports will disrupt Nike’s drive to outsource jobs to low-wage economies.
Now Nike is the news after signing a multi-million-dollar advertising contract with Colin Kaepernick, the American football star who started the ‘take a knee’ National Anthem protest in 2016. He and others involved said they were protesting against several high-profile shooting deaths of black people by police. This provoked an impassioned rant by Trump, and his stance has not softened since.
Kaepernick has also worn socks equating the police to pigs and is a leading member of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Nike customers have been angered by the selection of Kaepernick as the firm’s new face, and shares dropped in reaction.
But maybe Nike is being extremely smart. By undermining President Trump, it hopes to get the cosy, globalist, status quo back. This is not the first time we have seen American companies try to undermine the elected president and to present only one view of the world. It is arguable that social media giants are at the forefront of curtailing freedom of speech and democracy.
Follow the money and it all makes sense.