I LOVE your idea, Ellemm,
I remember being a kid at the breakfast table, and hearing on the radio about the Russians and sputnik. Then of course, the space race was on, and tied to that, in my mind, is President Kennedy's speech in which he reminded citizens to "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
Then of course, everyone piled onto the idea of winning the space race -- and I mean everyone. How many of us drank Tang in the morning because it was what the astronauts drank? (Not sure they really did, but we bought into it.)
I love the idea of rallying around an idea nationally and supporting it, rather than what we've fallen to these days. All of the political sniping that goes on these days is just not good for anyone. And it certainly does not build national pride.
However, I want to be fair and even-handed here. That article about Apple and Chinese manufacturing has brought some other information to the table. So to be fair, we need to look at it, as well.
Jabber was wondering how those people at Foxconn could work 12 hour days, etc. Well, I guess they can't without terrible stress.
If you need a reminder about Foxconn, here's a clip from the article I posted up at the top of this thread:
In Foxconn City
An eight-hour drive from that glass factory is a complex, known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.
That’s because nothing like Foxconn City exists in the United States.
The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day.
When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. “The scale is unimaginable,” he said.
Foxconn employs nearly 300 guards to direct foot traffic so workers are not crushed in doorway bottlenecks. The facility’s central kitchen cooks an average of three tons of pork and 13 tons of rice a day. While factories are spotless, the air inside nearby teahouses is hazy with the smoke and stench of cigarettes.
Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.
“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”
And here's an article
here's an article I just read this morning, indicating that Foxconn has had to install suicide nets on their buildings. Yes, suicide nets. Nets to keep the workers who have tried jumping off the top of the building from killing themselves. Here's a bit of a quote from the article:
Earlier this month, workers at Foxconn's Xbox factory in China grew disgruntled after their requests for pay raises were denied. On January 2, the employees reportedly said they would stage a mass suicide--by jumping off the roof of the factory--if their demands were not met.
Microsoft took the threats seriously and immediately launched an internal investigation into the matter. Although that investigation is still ongoing, the company announced what Foxconn reiterated today, telling CNET that a deal had been reached.
"It is our understanding that the worker protest was related to staffing assignments and transfer policies, not working conditions," a Microsoft representative told CNET yesterday. "Due to regular production adjustments, Foxconn offered the workers the option of being transferred to alternative production lines or resigning and receiving all salary and bonuses due, according to length of service. After the protest, the majority of workers chose to return to work. A smaller portion of those employees elected to resign."
Over the last two years, at least 16 Foxconn employees have committed suicide in the company's Shenzhen, China factory. Three other workers attempted to kill themselves at the factory. Those deaths have prompted the company to say that it will install "suicide nets" around the factory to discourage employees from jumping from buildings. Foxconn has also offered some workers a 20 percent wage increase to improve morale.
Now, I'm not sure that just offering these workers more money is what is needed to improve morale. How about fewer hours, or better working conditions?
But I suppose if the workers were to choose to unionize, some would say this is another example of us Westerners trying to impose our values on the Chinese society...
By the way, I saw several other articles written in response to Apple's decision to manufacture in China. Here's a link to several more.