A global organization of workers who make products for transnational brands, uniting to demand living wages, safe factories and stable jobs.

Adidas Workers Unite!

Our first global campaign began in February, 2013, and is called Adidas Workers Unite! The effort unites the workers within the supply chain of the German sportswear brand Adidas to win living wages, safe factories and stable jobs. Please take a moment to read our “First International Declaration” from February 10, 2013, which explains the Adidas workers’ campaign as well as the League’s overall vision.

Check out recent news on the campaign from our blog:


More information:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 21, 2013.

We are Indonesian Adidas workers: We support the struggle of Adidas workers in China, Taiwan, South America and in every country to fight against: Union busting, bad working conditions, unilateral layoffs, and violations of workers' rights at suppliers and subcontractors of Adidas.

When workers join together to demand fair working conditions, Adidas contract factories seem to have a standard response: Fire the workers, blacklist them so they can't find jobs elsewhere, and threaten the rest of the workers that the same will happen to whoever else dares to organize. Despite clearly violating Adidas' Workplace Standards and local labor laws, this has happened over and over and over again.

But in past weeks, workers at three different Adidas contractors have won decisive victories over this cynical roadblock to workers' rights. At Textiles Opico in El Salvador, Joe Anne Dominicana in the Dominican Republic, and Troon Manufacturing in Nicaragua, workers won their jobs back after being fired for organizing.

Para lograr justicia social, todos a luchar con la Liga Sindical!

(To win social justice, everyone struggle together with the Union League!)

That was the chant last weekend in San Salvador, where workers from Adidas contractors across Latin America convened with other union leaders from around the region for the Americas Regional Conference of the International Union League for Brand Responsibility.

During the conference, the League voted on new members. The Industrial Workers' Federation of Argentina (FeTIA-CTA) reports on its blog:

The following statement was released by the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) on May 1, 2013. In response to a disappointingly small increase to the unlivable minimum wage, workers call directly on the multinational brands buying from Cambodian factories to guarantee living wages.

 » Download PDF in English or Khmer.

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Showing 2 reactions

commented 2014-04-26 12:08:07 -0700
Hi Jack,

You’re making quite a lot of assumptions about the people who took part in yesterday’s action, but I’m not that sure they’re fair.

You speak of the miserable conditions faced by Adidas workers in London as well as in China, and I entirely agree with your assessment of how the managers use low pay and cut shifts to discipline the work force. Two different parts of the world, but the same impulse – to make conditions more and more precarious, and the rewards less and less so that the company can continue to make as much profit as it can. It therefore confuses me why you see the struggle of Chinese workers as somehow separate from your own. You seem to be angry that we were out there backing the Chinese and not the workers at your store; but I can guarantee you’d have exactly the same support if you asked for it, or needed it, for exactly the reason that the difficulties you face are one and the same. I don’t underestimate how difficult that kind of organising can be under the conditions faced by UK workers in precarious jobs, but it’s the kind of organisations and networks which are backing the Chinese workers who you can turn to for help if you wanted it. It’s the people you deride who will come out in support. Check out a union like the IWGB and their recent battles at the University of London with the 3cosas cleaner campaign. http://iwgb.org.uk/

I’ll skip your psychoanalysis, but you’re right that the political left is too often dominated by the middle class. It simply isn’t true though that the people involved in the demonstration were either all middle class or think UK workers are inferior and beneath them. There’s no reason why showing support for Chinese workers because they asked for it stops anybody showing, or desiring to show, support for UK workers. It’s a fact that the people involved in the action yesterday are also involved in political activity relating to the situation of UK workers – many of us are in poorly paid, precarious jobs ourselves. I’d be sceptical about the kind of politics where activists come in to try to ‘inspire’ workers to action, but I hope that the example of campaigns like the aforementioned 3cosas can be inspiring in themselves.

I doubt you’d find that anybody is “pretending” to despise the system they live under. Maybe I can only speak for myself here but I’m pretty sure my sentiments would be shared. It’s a system built on values I find repulsive. It has, and will continue, to do its best to make my life and the lives of those around me as difficult and miserable as possible. It’s a system which brings violence to bear against the people who tried to oppose it, beating, arresting them, dragging them through courts, imprisoning them and so on – all to protect the interests of the powerful; for instance your employers. It’s destroying the country, the world, and the things I love. I’ve committed a good deal of my life and energy to its annihilation. I won’t be rushing to put out any fires if, or when, as you hope, they start.

I don’t see much potential for self-glorification from standing outside the shop in the rain after a long day at work to be honest. My life isn’t so dull as to find the prospect of confrontation with a security guard or being pestered by the police particularly exciting. I suspect most people who are active in politics outside of tedious parliamentary crap have the stories to tell already if it were all about that. You’re right that these protests would be entirely insufficient if it was all we were up to, or that they’ll make a massive difference to the world in the long run. Still, it’s important to show support to people when they take difficult strike action. It’s important to show, in however tokenistic a manner, that there is an international response. It’s important for people to hear more about what’s taking place and why. It’s important for Adidas to see that yes, there are ‘brand’ implications for shitting on its workers. In their own small way, that’s perhaps the most these sorts of actions can hope to achieve. To which I can only say: surely better than nothing? Were the strikes to spread to UK workers, then you’re right, that would mean a lot more. Perhaps this can start the dialogue which could bring about that kind of situation. Let’s talk.

As for the “after party” (yes we had a beer or two like normal people) there wasn’t much chat about being shoved by security guards. Like you, we mostly talked about hating our jobs.

All the best,
commented 2014-04-26 09:32:46 -0700
To a protester,

Whilst searching for news regarding yesterday’s demonstration outside the flagship Oxford Street store of the Sportswear Brand Adidas, I recognised your face in a picture on Twitter; I’m an employee within the store, and was deployed at the front entrance before, during and after your protest took place. I had the chance to converse with one of your fellow protesters, one of those caught behind the lines after the security guards had expunged the rest of your following. He had a blond moustache in the style of a dandy, and was wearing a black beret; all in all, I found him quite a personable individual, which is perhaps indicative of the fundamental hypocrisy that not so much haunts your action of yesterday as bleeds out of every perforation that exists on the superficial surface that is in fact your entire cause. This is my own personal protest, in the hope that the word may be redeemed from those morons I saw yesterday who have so shamelessly misappropriated it.

The majority of people who worked in the store chosen for your action, are on under £7.50 an hour; that is a full pound beneath the London minimum wage deemed necessary to live with a degree of comfort inside the capital. Again, the majority are on 20-hour contracts, even though they are mainly scheduled to work for 40. It is a good controlling mechanism, to have the spectre of cut shifts constantly hanging over those who may otherwise have bolder opinions on the actions of the people above them. Of course it is even worse for those most recently hired, they start on 8-hours only, and for the first six months can be dismissed immediately for even the most minor infraction, if someone with a thimble of “power” upstairs so wills it. Meanwhile you, and your lot, are “protesting” about Chinese workers. But I know why.

It is because you’re all middle class. That great sweating mass of self-loathing, spitting at itself in horror of its reflection for not being quite affluent enough for the top table whilst simultaneously lacking the credibility to exist down in the kitchens. And so you pretend to rebel; but you choose an exotic choice, not helping the people closest to you because just as those who dismiss you as inferiors, you hold your own prejudices against the people you deem to be beneath you. You, and the rest of your friends yesterday, were the quintessential example of an elitist structure at work, in your disregard for the people financially just beneath yourselves, people who could join the fight if you had the vigour to inspire them, which you never will, if yesterday’s attempt was anything to go by.

As I’ve mentioned, I saw it all unfold, and had a completely uninterrupted view of what you have preposterously deigned, “action”. I was looking through all of you, as you made your little march with your little banner chanting your funny slogan, searching for eye contact with anyone willing to meet my own. Every time I found one of you, they instantly looked away, and it occurred to me; they’re embarrassed. They are all embarrassed of what they’re doing, embarrassed to be seen, because really none of them actually believe in the cause or its ability to bring change. They all feel as somehow they’re misbehaving, like school children, and are secretly yearning for it to be over so they can be immediately inducted back into the society they claim to despise. How could you argue? When I spoke to that member of your group, I questioned him “What would Cromwell think of this? What would Lenin? What would Fanon?” I was pressed for time, and would not normally employ such an unrefined form of rhetoric, but given your actions yesterday, I’m sure you will forgive me a lack of subtlety. I’m sure that other one caught when the glass doors slid shut, who chanted incessantly waving his head in the air, would understand doing what is necessary to get your point across; that is of course, until a manager asked him to politely stop, and so he did! I wonder what the after party was like; where you all there, shouting over each other “did ya see me! I got barged by a guard I did! Am I not a great comrade?!”, high fiving while the other hand busily updated twitter? Are your consciences soothed now, having spent an hour of your day singing outside a shop?

There is one final thing that has stayed with me in great clarity from yesterday. As I was talking to Mr. Beret, I noticed a pair of girls who were squashed up against the other side of the glass, looking at us, and laughing. They were moving their heads up and down in a mocking fashion, and I realised it was at my expense, their impression of my own actions as I tried to encourage your member along in his discourse. I imagine now that they were mocking me as some type of chimpanzee in a uniform who had just been shown fire by one of the zoo keepers. I’m sure they thought he was giving me a thorough schooling on all that was wrong with my world, and that this in turn consolidated their own grand opinion of themselves as fighters of a cause. They were silly little girls, but then that is to be expected in the company of boys with bed sheets.

There are no real women or men in your organisation, not if yesterday was anything to go by. You ask a desperate individual, who has no choice but to believe in what they do because anything else would be failure, how far they would be willing to go to achieve their aims. The answer is the complete exposure of the folly you engaged in yesterday. I lament for the working class people of this country, and whilst I am not callous enough to dismiss the workers of China, I know where the true battle exists. If your action achieved anything yesterday, it certainly exacerbated the extent of my pity for the strikers, and anyone else who’s cause you represent. You are a charlatan, all of you are, and I pray for that day when the true fire of revolution arrives, when I will see you all massed again, but this time around a tap, screaming for buckets.


Jack Sharp