My name is Sophorn Yang. I am the President of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU) and I have joined United Students Against Sweatshops in the fight against Nike.
Yesterday, across the globe, women walked off the job and marched in resistance on International Working Women’s Day. I took the streets of Washington DC alongside USAS and hundreds of women demanding dignity in the workplace.
As a former garment worker, and representative of over 10,000 garment workers producing in Cambodia, I can speak to the dangerous conditions workers – especially women, face on the job every single day. We face gender-based violence on the job, and when we speak up and organize, we often face retaliation. But I know the power in resistance. Our organizing in Cambodia led to a victory in doubling the minimum wage in my country. However, our union has not been given access to the factories producing for Nike in Cambodia. Nike’s latest decision to bar independent unions and monitors from their factories puts workers in an extremely dangerous position.
Our resistance begins today. We’re launching our nationwide tour speaking to students and universities all around the country to ensure that Nike treats us with respect on the job.
Nike loves to promote women when it comes to company profit, but we are here to make sure Nike respects ALL women workers – especially the ones behind their factory doors.
President of CATU
“My message to other women workers who aren’t organizing is the same thing I tell myself when things are challenging; you have to fight to get what you want and you have to be strong to fight. You have two choices in life; either fight and win, or fight and lose. But if you don’t fight you’ll never have a chance.”