On the CBS TV news program, Sunday Morning, the cover story was a hatchet job on Apple. It exposed a Chinese firm that supplies with some of their products. The company’s plant is huge: over 400,000 workers.
Most workers that we could see were young: twenty-somethings. They were all dressed in Western clothes: T-shirts, jeans.
Some guy on a New York stage said he found 14-year-olds working there. Even 13-year-olds. Proof? His word. He interviewed some workers outside the plant.
There were no scenes of what it’s like to work in rural China.
There was no discussion of why these workers remain on the job. Hint: it’s the best job available.
He said they work 12 hours a day or more. He offered no proof.
“I had never thought ever, in a dedicated way, about how they were made,” said performer Mike Daisey, an admitted geek. That is the centerpiece of his monologue, “The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs.”
“Shenzhen is a city of 14 million people that is larger and denser than New York City. It’s the third-largest city in all of China. It’s the place where almost all your **** comes from.”
He reported on suicides. There was no mention of a common phenomenon in history: copy-cat suicides. In ancient Greece, Athens stopped one wave of them by displaying the corpse of young female suicides naked. Their shame stopped the practice.
“While I was there, in May and June 2010, that’s really at the peak of when the suicides were happening with kind of terrible regularity,” he said, “where week after week, workers would go up onto the roofs of these buildings and throw themselves off the buildings.”
“When you were there, were there nets around the building to prevent further suicides?” asked Teichner.
“There was,” he said. “They look a lot like the nets you would put out to catch fish.”
I thought they they looked like what fire departments might use. But, then again, I’m not promoting my New York City monologue. (What New Yorkers will pay to see amazes me.)
There is this thing about suicides. People with perceived alternatives don’t kill themselves. So, if this job is the end of the road, their problem is the road.
No; the liberal media had noticed. The world bought 46 million iPhones in the last three months. Apparently, the world doesn’t care how the iPhones get manufactured.
Foxconn employs approximately a million people throughout China – not just in Shenzhen. It claims to follow strict industry standards of conduct, and to respect its workforce.
So, let me get this straight. A firm with 1,000,000 employees, most of them twenty-somethings, has some disgruntled employees. So, they can quit.
“A lot of companies have codes of conduct or standards that they apply to their factory partners in China,” said Ian Spaulding, who heads Infact, a consulting firm that helps companies in China improve working conditions. “And what we’ve learned is a lot of those standards are aspirational in nature. The market practices that a lot of these factories employ are well below those standards.”
So, Foxconn is average. So, why does it warrant a lead story on Sunday Morning?
Because CBS is liberal and Apple is rich.