"While doing research for a term paper in Theology, Jim Keady, a graduate assistant soccer coach with the top-ranked St. John’s University Red Storm, discovers that the Nike Corporation is abusing its overseas workforce in sweatshops. At the same time Keady is exploring this issue, the SJU athletic department is negotiating a $3.5 million dollar endorsement deal that would require all coaches and athletes to wear and promote Nike products. Feeling that coaches and athletes would be walking billboards for a company that exploits its labor force in poor countries, Keady publicly challenges the SJU administration. They respond with an ultimatum, “Wear Nike and drop this issue … or resign.” Keady is ultimately forced to resign, and the story hits the major media... ESPN, HBO Real Sports, the New York Times, the front page of the Village Voice, etc..
In an attempt to silence critics at St. John’s and uncover the story behind the statistics about Nike factory workers, Keady assembles a team and travels halfway around the world to Tangerang, Indonesia to learn and document first-hand Nike's overseas’ operations. To gain a more human perspective on the lives of Nike’s factory workers, Keady and college friend, Leslie Kretzu live for one month in an Indonesian slum on the wages that workers are paid: $1.25 / day. In the process, they encounter the local mafia, intimidation, starvation, football-sized rats, fist-sized cockroaches, raw sewage in the streets, massive burning of toxic shoe rubber, corporate complicity and cover-up.
Through their time in Indonesia, Keady and Kretzu discover the reality of U.S. multinational corporations' labor practices in the developing world and how Nike's cutthroat, bottom-line economic decisions have a profound effect on human lives.
Along with Keady and Kretzu's critique and commentary, SWEAT includes powerful interviews with Indonesian workers producing for Nike, Adidas, and the Gap; Audioslave's Tom Morello; US Olympian, Kevin McMahon; Former Indonesian President, Abdurrahman Wahid; Indonesian Democracy Leader, Dita Sari; US Congressperson, Sherrod Brown; Best-Selling Author, David Korten; Comedian and Political Commentator, Janeane Garofalo, all offering suggestions on how things could be done differently and how average Americans can help to stop sweatshop abuses." -sweatthefilm.org
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