2010 Summit Special Section Opinions

Take action against unjust low wages

By Rohan Andresen ’12
The Roundup

This year’s Summit on globalization spoke about how we must be citizens of the world and how we must help those who are oppressed by big business, though doing this may conflict with political ideas.

It is important for one with strong views who may oppose the suggestions presented by the speakers of the Summit to remember that the Summit is not on globalization; it is a summit on human dignity through the lens of globalization.

The main focus of this Summit, and the ones of the past, was to realize that there are people all over the world being robbed of their dignity.

Though I do not believe in some of the monetary suggestions made by the speakers, I still believe that people need help, which is why I was a member on the Student Summit Planning Committee.

The problem we must address began when entrepreneurs with a dream started outsourcing the work of America into third world countries for cheap labor. In this way, executives were able to lower prices minimally on products and still bring in more profit.

They turned the American dream, owning a small business, into a multibillion dollar industry and in their quest for money lost all interests in dignity and respect that human beings deserve.

Then, oddly, the products began to cost more.

However, the workers were paid around the same, and the corporations grew even more.

After doing some research for the planning of the Summit and listening to what the speakers had to say, it is clear to me that a reform is necessary.

Though, to me, it is essential that we are able to give dignity back to the workers while not raising prices anymore for the consumers and hurting our own wallets, especially in this critical time.

Jim Keady urged us to send e-mails to Phil Knight, the chairman of Nike, badgering him to raise wages and make reform in third world sweatshops.

However, I do not think that this is the proper approach.

If we are to target Nike, we must speak to the people who are influential and rake in millions; those getting the endorsements.

For example, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have cumulatively made hundreds of millions from Nike sponsors alone.

Instead of making $65 million a year, Woods could make $63 million and ensure that $2 million get channeled to raise pay for those in the sweatshops.

Another reason someone of influence must take on this fight is because the workers are not in a position to fight for themselves.

If they go on strike or refuse to work they can and will be quickly replaced.

There are many unemployed people in third world countries who would rather make $1.25 a day than nothing.

Additionally, the workers have no advanced skills to protect their job, because anyone can do what they are doing.

A reform needs to be made because these workers have been stripped of their dignity.

Though, at the end of the day, what the majority of people care about is the safety and comfort of themselves and their loved ones.

The challenge is educating everyday people to urge those who can make a difference to do something.

I took a stand and I urge you to do the same.

Instead of e-mailing Phil Knight, as Keady suggested, I e-mailed Tiger Woods to urge him to donate some endorsement money to aid sweat shop workers.

To see a copy of my e-mails look at The Roundup online at roundup.brophyprep.org.