Tag Archives | Labor

Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

via BBC:

Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation.

Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken.

It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.

Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme’s conclusions.

Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off.

Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: “Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn’t want to move.

“Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Belabored Podcast #61: When Climate and Labor Converge

1411130826BelaboredLogo_666x305

I stumbled across Dissent awhile ago and added them to my Feedly list. However, I had the habit of skimming past their articles (my Feedly account is large and continues to grow). However, Ross Perlin’s essay, “Radical Linguistics in an Age of Extinction,” caught my eye. I’ve since pored over their website and have even signed up for a print subscription.

Two Dissent authors (Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen) run a podcast, Belabored, which tackles the labor movement in the US and abroad. I thought the podcast-listening Disinfonauts may be interested.

When Climate and Labor Converge (Live!), with Nastaran Mohit and Lara Skinner

This particular episode addresses the relationship between sustainability and “green” jobs and the labor groups in the US.

via Dissent:

As people around the world prepare to converge on New York City for the People’s Climate March, there seem to be more reasons than ever to despair about climate change, but perhaps also more reason than usual to be optimistic.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Let’s Talk About Fast Food Worker Exploitation

Fast Food by SteFou! via Flickr.

Fast Food by SteFou! via Flickr.

Are fast food workers exploited? Don’t they deserve fair compensation for feeding us? If it’s true that “exploitation occurs when ‘the energies of the have-nots are continuously expended to maintain and augment the power, status, and wealth of the haves,'” then it seems that not only are fast-food workers exploited, but many minimum wage workers are as well.

via Truth Out [please follow the link to read the entire article]:

As fast-food workers demand a fair share of the profits they create, the industry, its supporters and assorted critics of the movement have responded by lobbing red herrings, from the contention that workers should find new work if they don’t like their current working conditions to the threat that “robots will replace you.” Others charge that workers don’t deserve a living wage because their job doesn’t require a college education. A Facebook meme posted by Sarah Palin in response to last fall’s Fight for 15 protests pictures US soldiers in combat, accompanied by the text: “We get paid less than minimum wage and you’re demanding 15 bucks an hour to slap a burger on a bun.” These common appeals are part of a tapestry of “plutocratic fallacies” used to justify exploitive wages and foster irrational division among low-wage workers.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Wisconsin Republicans Draft Bill Proposing 7-Day Work Week For Retail Workers

They say do what you love – and if you love working in a factory or the service industry, get ready to get excited. Via the Stevens Point Journal:

Wisconsin manufacturing and retail workers could work seven days straight without a day off under a bill two Republican lawmakers are circulating on behalf of the state’s largest business group. The bill promises to ratchet up tensions between the GOP and Democrats and their organized labor allies.

The measure’s authors, Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend and Mark Born of Beaver Dam, say the bill gives workers a way to make extra money and employers a way to boost production. But Democrats and labor leaders insisted bosses would use the bill to force their employees to work longer and effectively erase the weekend.

Current Wisconsin law requires employers who own or operate factories or retail stores to give their workers at least 24 consecutive hours off every seven days.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Japanese Gangsters Hiring Homeless To Clean Up Fukushima Disaster Area

447px-Yakuza_sign_near_Sento

Pic: Sean Wilson (PD)

Organized crime controlling construction and waste disposal? That sounds familiar. Crime bosses in Japan are recruiting the nation’s homeless and paying them next to nothing to clean up the deadly remains of the Fukushima disaster.

Japan’s three biggest crime syndicates have established illegal recruitment under construction powerhouse Obayashi, a top contractor. Reuters speaks to one man paid by a gangster to collect potential homeless workers: Seiji Sasa would find men at a local train station and get them work through a number of smaller contractors that eventually reported to Obayashi (which has not been fingered in the scheme). The workers would be paid less than minimum wage after middlemen skimmed some and deductions were taken for food and housing; in other cases, those deductions were taken from their scant pay, leaving the workers with no money, or even in debt.

Keep reading at Newser.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Badge Classes And Segregation Inside The Googleplex

Filmmaker Andrew Norman Wilson's eerie short Workers Leaving the Googleplex reveals his brief time employed as a temp in video production at Google's headquarters and how things went terribly wrong. Google fancies itself as creating the future, and its system of separating workers into white, red, green, and yellow badge classes reads like a preview of how society will be organized in some dystopian future. Wilson was fired and threatened with legal action after Google campus security caught him interacting with lowly yellow badge workers, who are not granted the privileges of red and white badge holders, such as riding Google bikes, eating free gourmet Google meals, setting foot anywhere else on Google's campus, or even talking to employees with other badge colors, many of whom do not know that the yellow badge class exists:
Continue Reading

Enraged Workers In Bangladesh Burn Down One Of The Gap’s And Wal-Mart’s Largest Supplying Factories

This is one effective form of protest. Buzzfeed writes:
Workers incensed by rumors of a co-worker’s death in a police firing burned down one of Bangladesh’s 10 biggest garment factories supplying to major Western brands on Nov. 29: According to authorities, factory workers were enraged after a loudspeaker from a mosque announced a worker’s death during a police firing to disperse a road blockade by factory employees earlier that day. Six months’ worth of supplies for U.S. brands, including Gap and Wal-Mart, were burnt in the fire. Other burnt garments included those from huge global brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Marks and Spencer, Sears, Uniqlo, and Zara. A Standard Group official estimated that the firm could lose well over $100 million in the fire.
Continue Reading

Protesting Workers Shut Down Hundreds Of Clothing Factories In Bangladesh

Vast numbers of workers who sew the clothing of many of America's biggest brands didn't get the memo that they are supposed to be grateful for 12 cents an hour in awful conditions. Al Jazeera America writes:
Garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested for the third day in a row Monday, calling on their government to raise the minimum wage from about $38 dollars per month to $100. Garment workers often labor up to 80 hours per week. The protests forced the shutdown of hundreds of factories in the industrial Gazipur neighborhood near the capital, Dhaka, where factory owners and government officials called for workers to return to work. Western corporations that rely on Bangladeshi labor to make much of the clothing sold in their stores -- including Walmart, Gap and H&M -- appeared reluctant to comment publicly on the protests. Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district, told AFP that "up to 200,000 workers" had joined the latest demonstrations.
Continue Reading

100 Wal-Mart Workers Arrested In Nationwide Protests Last Week

walmartIncluding three attempting to deliver a petition to a Wal-Mart executive’s Manhattan office. Imagine how awkward that would have been! Buzzfeed reports:

100 Walmart workers protesting low wages and illegal retaliation against strikers were arrested in 11 cities on Thursday. In response to Walmart’s inaction, workers announced widespread, massive strikes and protests will take place on Black Friday in 2013.

The New York Police Department arrested three Walmart strikers who wanted to meet with an executive. The protesters planned to deliver a petition directly to company board member Christopher Williams’ Fifth Avenue office. The petition demands Walmart provide employees with a livable, annual wage of $25,000, and stop punishing workers who stand up for their rights. Walmart fired or disciplined at least 60 strikers who protested in June.

Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg said that these demonstrations are “just a show.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

It’s Time To Introduce A Global Minimum Wage

global minimum wage

Al Jazeera, Dr. Jason Hickel argues that a global minimum wage is not only just, but doable:

Because of neoliberal economic policies imposed over the past few decades, companies now have the power to rove the globe in search of what CEOs refer to as the “best investment conditions”.

So workers are made to face a stark choice: accept dangerous conditions and minimum wages of $0.21 per hour, or lose their jobs. The constant threat of replacement keeps workers cheap and docile, to the tremendous benefit of corporate profits.

The problem with globalisation is that capital has been globalised while the rules that protect people from it have not. If we’re going to have a global labour market, it stands to reason that we need a global system of labour standards [and] a global minimum wage.

Not only is it now conceivable to have a global minimum wage system, it’s also – for the first time in history – quite doable.

Read the rest
Continue Reading