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may 8, 2000. Hot times in Niketown. On April 25, UNITE and a number of other anti-sweatshop groups released a report on their latest investigations. "Sweatshops behind the Swoosh" (www.uniteunion.org) details working conditions in China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia to conclude that old habits don’t die: "Nike remains a sweatshop producer on a global scale."

The giant athletic gear manufacturer responded with a report of its own (www.nikebiz.com) and charged that the "allegations and ‘research’ produced by organizations whose focus has for years been to criticize Nike in order to attack an increasingly global economy, are simply not credible." Reading may not be Nike’s strong suit. Many of the practices turned up by the team of "16 students from 14 universities" support the allegations of the UNITE report.

University of Michigan students have been urging their school to include workers’ rights provisions in its contract with Nike. No way, said Kit Morris, Nike's director of college sports marketing, on April 27. "Our priorities have always included seeking compatible partners that share common beliefs in areas such as athletics, academics, licensing and business practices." The contract is off. At stake was an annual $20 million worth of clothing with Michigan’s logo.

UNITE also reports that even the previously impervious Tiger Woods has been dragged into the act. The Nike spokesman is a member of SAG/AFTRA, the striking actors unions which have refused to film commercials until a more respectful contract is negotiated. (At stake, among other issues, is the right to receive "pay for play" residuals.) The result: no Nike commercial. "There is a strike going on, and we’re abiding by it," said Woods’s agent. The golfer had better get back to work soon. His own contract with Nike is being renegotiated, with a reported $80 million to $90 million payoff during the next five years.

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Days of our lives. It’s amazing what you can find on daytime TV. Wednesday’s Supervisors Finance Committee meeting presented a tale of administrative laxity, or worse, that has been playing out in the lives of the city’s children. Bessie Carmichael is an elementary school located south of Market. It’s in a temp building, one of those quickie constructs that went up 50 years ago until something better could be built. In 1994, somebody noticed that "temporary" was acquiring new meaning and proposed a bond measure so that the little school could be rebuilt. The voters of San Francisco concurred, but in 2000 the old structure is still in place.

Leland Yee wanted to know why. The answer from the school district was, in effect, we’re working on it. A completion date of 2003 was mentioned.

Parents and teachers were skeptical. They’ve seen plans reduced from three stories to two; they’ve seen a projected play area moved into an adjacent park. Repairs to the present building, they protested, have been slow and inadequate.

Tom Ammiano chimed in: What happened to the money that was allocated for construction? SFUSD: "Don’t know." Ammiano recalled his own visit to the school, where he noticed, on the same playground where a body had been discovered earlier, a couple making love. Not the kind of sex education he favors.

The school district’s wed pages (sfusd.com) display the motto, "World-Class Schools In A World-Class City." Parents and teachers worry about the message being conveyed to the kids, many of whom are new immigrants. Their dilapidated school lies just across the street from the well-maintained Hall of Justice.