By: Addy Dugdale Wed Apr 14, 2010
Underage, underpaid workers working 15-hour shifts, sexually predatory security guards, hourly pay of just 52 cents per hour after deductions for the canteen food. No talking during work hours, no listening to music, no bathroom breaks. These are just some of the conditions that workers at China’s KYE Systems Corp. plant in Dongguan City have to endure. The factory produces hardware for U.S. companies, including Microsoft, and its work practices have been documented in a report by the National Labor Committee. What would the directors of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation say to all this?
The report is the product of a three-year-covert investigation by the NLC, a collective of 22,000 individuals and organizations dedicated to helping “defend the human rights of workers in the global economy.” Its director, Charles Kernaghan, is the man who famously exposed the fact in 1996 that Kathie Lee’s clothing line for Walmart was made in Honduran sweat shops (he’s also taken on Kmart, Gap, Target, Nike, and many more for similar workers’ and human rights issues).
In his latest report, there are some truly spine-chilling first-person accounts of factory life. And it is a life. Workers are billeted, 14 to a dorm, in the compound. If they don’t supply their own mattresses and bedclothes, they sleep on plywood boards. They are permitted three days off each month. The air-conditioning is only turned on when foreigners visit the factory, and when the workers meet their targets, the management immediately raises them.
“Without a doubt, one of the most disappointing things was that one of the workers who had been in a factory for a while just said that the young people in this factory, they have no chance to grow or develop–not emotionally, not intellectually,” Kernaghan tells FastCompany.com. “They’re being destroyed.”
One of the workers agreed to be interviewed for the report. Some of his quotes are below.
•”The manager shouted: Everybody pay attention, while at work, everyone should be full of vigor. Everyone must strictly follow the 6S system! [Sorting, Straightening, Sweeping, Standardizing, Sustaining discipline, Safety] You are not allowed to talk at work. You cannot drop products on the floor. Can you hear me?” We respond, “We hear you! but some of my colleagues didn’t answer with much enthusiasm.”
•”The foreman then calls out commands for workers to: Stand at attention! Turn right!” and sums up the day’s work. One worker who accidentally dropped a product on the ground is called out and scolded by name. Finally the foreman says we can leave. At that time, we only have half an hour before the overtime shift begins.”
•”This factory has a stupid regulation that doesn’t allow anybody to enter or reenter the factory compound after 9 p.m. When workers finish overtime, it is already 10 p.m., and if they leave the factory, they cannot come back in. Most workers live in the company dorm, so they don’t dare risk getting stuck outside. This regulation was crafted to force workers to rest in the dorms and it guarantees workers’ performance the next day.”
Cynics would say that the NLC report is nothing surprising–and that this is the third time that a factory in mainland China with links to Microsoft has been investigated. Last year, Swedish NGO the Fair Trade Center found similar conditions in a quartet of plants that supply tech firms including the software giant, and the NLC has already sniffed out dodgy working practices at a keyboard factory where Lenovo, Microsoft, and HP do business. Let’s not forget the Foxconn plant, either, where Apple’s iPads are made.
It is a given that consumers want cheap tech. But at this price? As well as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and Asus use KYE Systems Corp. for production. Basic wages for the workers are around $112 per month–without overtime–and it only thanks to cheap labor and overheads that allow $300 netbooks to make their way into U.S. stores. It is not that there are no labor laws in China, it is that large factories such as KYE flout the regulations: Its workers’ average of 28 hours of overtime each week exceeds the limit by 237%.
Microsoft has already responded to the report, and has promised an investigation into the treatment of its workers. “We take these claims seriously, and we will take appropriate remedial measures in regard to any findings of vendor misconduct. Actions for non-compliance with our requirements may include corrective action plans, remedial training, certification requirements, cessation of further business awards until corrective actions are instituted, and termination of the business relationship.”
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Every time we think we get a deal on cheap cost goods, we support enslaving of others, to make it available to us.
This is why American does not have jobs.. it prefer’s to have it’s reliance on slaves to fill its needs and wants… and this is why the poor are despised in this nation. Because they won’t work as slaves and indentured servants.. and want quality pay to produce quality goods..
And America say’s no way…. it was built on slave labor, and it is determined to continue to prosper based on slave labor…
Unitl people wake up…and see the light
The days when America changed, and the time came for women and minorities to have means to gain economic parity- suddenly, the extablishment of a nations which denied equality to women and minorities,. Began to claim, we had to export our industry, they shipped away the steel mills, to the Brick making, to the Home equipment, of every electronic component we utilize, and then came the clothing, and now parts within our foods system productions is all foreign produced.
American systems ingored the fact, a strong nation is one where it’s people work, to produce the items they consume and utilize, and they export their surplus. We became so filled with greed and the urge to deny means for widespread equality in the economic parity among our people.. We shipped away everything, and claimed it was because the wealth master’s said it was to our best interest.
So Today, Executives pay themselves like old time Slaver Masters, and they pay the people like indentured servants. Yet, we have masses of the poor preaching “free market, which is a cry the weathly has instilled in their servant troops- to hail for the greed of the elite. All the while our cities crumble, our schools suffer, and our families become homeless and the people are made jobless. Executive pay themselves not in 10’s of millions a year, and set for the people, a wage that is no higher than the cost to maintain a slave, which is $7.50 per hr. that will get you sub-standard housing, sub-standard food, and basic lights and gas. This is no greater yield than what was afforded in the slave and indentured servant quarters.
We need to awaken. We need to be aware, but first we must move past the game of prejudice, the wealthy used to divide the poor based on skin, and realize – we were duped for the sake of the wealthy, and now we have been made to live without jobs, without homes and now, the assualt comes upon the schools houses of a nation. In the midst of this craziness, the new era of racism has been invigorated – to distract the public of common citizens, while the wealth masters in the executive suites rob a nation and sell away its foundations.
We must support- the “CHANGE” we voted for, and that is to build from the bottom up.
We had no choice but to fund and support the salvation of this nation, but now, it is time to reform every faction of those who conspired to take down this nation for the sake of the few in the 1% of control the wealth of this nations.
If we expect to return to being a democracy, then we have to first realize how we have been turned into a plutocratic system, led by a few monarchical madmen and fools, who engaged “economci treason” against the very people of these United States.
We chose a Leader, who understand this process that took down a nation, and he has mobilized to try and fix and correct it, But the beast masters fight like mad, pouring millions and billions into propaganda, creating groups, to delude the people, and create contention. And what is the result – We see banks making Billions per Quarter, while homes are lost and jobs are non existent.
We need to realize how this nation was born and breed into becoming a slave making nation. And we need to take a stand, that “NO MORE”… today it is not all about being black, but it is about the black and white “POOR”, being made peons by the wealthy, and creating delusions to invigorate racism to keep us from seeing the real truths. Of the Wealthy, trying to maintain superiority over the Poor.
They have made the party lines, Republican Wealthy supporters, vs the common people of this nation.. and again, in the age of today, they use the uninformed whites whom they feel they can make easily into a mob, by half truths and fabrications, to being their pawns to fight their battles, and back their votes. and pretend its a democracy, as they use lobbyist to buy away the voice of the poor everyday people.
It’s time to become aware, but it’s far more time to be wise and act and stand unified against the Tierney that is covert in its manner, and divisive in how it performs to maintain a system of plutocratic dominance, as if to make a nation of share croppers, whom are indentured to financial institutions controlled by the wealthy.
People.. Take time and Listen – We Supported “Change”.. when we found our nation collapsed and the wealth masters profiting from our decline and fall and loss of homes, and they pay the lobbyist and the advertisers, to blind the many, who remain unaware.
We voted in “CHANGE”, to move ourselves away from the evils that we found had been devised that led us to war, sold our industry, and conspired to rip the value from our homes, while they made us live on borrowed money from foreign powers, while they pocket the profits, and then claim to crash every market in the nations.
And here we are with masses yet .. un aware to awaken.
President Obama, has told us to look at the truths, and help him correct the wrongs> He has asked up, let’s build a nation that cares about its, people, and put its people back to work, and to help him regulate and govern the greed masters, and create a nation of civility. and still many remain unaware.
There is no Freedom without Regulatory Controls, and there is no Good governance, without Stern Policy to enforce the Regulatory Controls.. The sooner we see, understand and believe what that means for the equality and economic parity of the people within the make up of this nations.the sooner we can rebuild a nation and it’s people.
The longer we fail to understand, The longer the greed masters will contiue to rob us, and mislead us.
This is one time in the Long History of America – We as a people, both black and whites, need to be aware to truly stand up and respect and see the needs we have, and to Respect and Support Our Leader.
Be not mislead by the smoke and drama of the opposition, because you must remember it was the opposition that left us a desolate nations, in ruins, and war.
let go of prejudices about skin, and much will become clean in the reality, of our conditions and we will see that “unity”. is what will restore and rebuild our lives, our homes and our nation, as well as the industry which keeps us strong. We will understand the needs to reign in the criminal enterprise known as Banking and Wall Street.
Here is a basic simple truth.
Banks were designed for communities to support communities by collective lending based on collective savings.
Wall Street, was designed to allow citizens to invest in the support of Industrial Growth and help build strong companies.
The criminals turned it into derivatives, and short selling, which in simple terms, is… one ( derivatives) making illusions of its value, and devising elaborate pyramid schemes, that had not physical valuation. and the other ( short selling) was and is, betting on its failure. This provides no winners, except the wealth masters who create the game. It amounts to be plain and simple “Economic Treason”.. they turned capitalism into their own methods of robbery of the citizens.