A walkout at a factory in China may affect your next sneaker purchase. Workers at the Yue Yuen factory in Dongguan, China, are on strike.
You've certainly never heard of Yue Yuen shoes. That's because there's no such thing.
But Nike and Adidas have a lot of their shoes made by Yue Yuen. And you've almost certainly heard of those brands.
The Chinese company is reportedly the largest manufacturer of athletic shoes in the world. And that means the two-week-old work stoppage in Dongguan could limit shoe supply down the road.
The organization has been in touch with workers at the factory, including those close to the negotiations and even some people in managment. But Slaten says there's no de facto leader among the strikers — at least not anyone willing to speak publicly to represent the group.
Workers have been cautious about naming names for fear of being arrested, harassed or fired, he says.
And yet, despite the strike, Slaten says he's heartened to see workers become more aware of their rights. For example, Slaten says demands like "social insurance back pay" is something many workers didn't know about even just a few years ago.
"Factories and the government are going to have to be more aware of worker's rights and what they're demanding and have to meet those demands," he says.
Otherwise, the strikes will continue.