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New Developments in the Case of the "Niketown 7"

In addition to charges of disorderly conduct, on March 30 seven Loyola University Chicago students were also charged with criminal trespass for their actions of civil disobedience at a January 27, 2001 protest inside Niketown Chicago.
In addition to charges of disorderly conduct, on March 30, 2001 seven Loyola University Chicago students were also charged with criminal trespass for their actions of civil disobedience at a January 27, 2001 protest inside Niketown Chicago. The students, who are members of the Loyola chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, dropped leaflets and hung a banner inside the store in support of workers at the Kukdong factory in Puebla, Mexico who make clothing for Nike and are in an ongoing labor dispute. The seven were arrested when they refused to leave the store without delivering a letter to the manager on behalf of the workers.

Two of the five students are graduating seniors and had originally planned to waive their right to a jury trial that could take months to prepare for and possibly keep them from participating in volunteer service organizations that begin in the summer. Unfortunately, prosecution would not budge and allow a separate bench trial at an earlier date, insisting that all seven would be tried at the same time in a few months from now. Since a quick resolution was not in the cards, the two have now opted to join the five for a jury trial, which is slated to begin August 27, 2001.

Defense lawyer Melinda Power will also be filing a brief to attempt to remove the injunction that currently bars the seven from going near the vicinity of Niketown as a condition of their bond. A hearing is slated for late April to address this first amendment issue.

As of March 29, over 500 signatures were collected petitioning Nike to drop charges against the Niketown seven and to ensure the rights of the workers at the Kukdong factory in Mexico. The petitions were faxed to Nike corporate headquarters as well as Niketown Chicago, but the manager at Niketown Chicago refused to accept the hand-delivered copies brought by members of Loyola Students Against Sweatshops on Thursday, saying he had been instructed to make no comment on the issue.

The students would like to thank to all the folks who have given the seven of us and the workers who make Nike clothing so much support. Please continue to send emails, faxes, and letters to Nike, telling them you support the recently formed Independent Union of Workers at the Company Kukdong International of Mexico (SITEKIM), and will continue to support the workers worldwide who make Nike apparel under sweatshop conditions.
 
 

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