Grace Howard Reaction 1

Mr. Daisey’s segment on an Apple Factory and it’s apparent worker abuse is very interesting and powerful, but not too shocking.  For as long as I can remember, I have always been aware of the issue regarding worker abuse in several Asian countries.  Not only are underage workers hired, but the majority of the workforce is underpaid and overworked.  Like Mr. Daisey noted, it is hard to believe that a company that is so highly regarded in the US could fall into the same habits as other massive electronic manufacturers.  Apple products are known to be high quality, but that does not mean that the workers assembling them are paid any more or treated any better.  It does not seem right for such a well-known and large company who prides themselves on being a great place to work would provide such poor conditions to their assembly line workers.

The discussion about long work hours and associated suicides especially caught my attention.  When I was traveling abroad last spring, I had a chance to spend some time in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.  All three of these cities shared a common characteristic: a very structured and almost depressing way of life.  Even though these cities are not home to as many large manufacturing plants as the cities discussed in the podcast, they are home to strong economies with large workforces.  Rush hour in China is earlier in the morning and later in the evening than in the US.  On one occasion, some friends and I had the chance to speak with a 23 year old Chinese man from Hong Kong who was taking the train home to a suburb at 11pm.  He told us that this was his typical workday.  Although he was probably paid much more than manufacturing plant workers, he still shared the burden of having long hours with little free time.  The whole country lacks creativity and expression in daily life, as everything and everyone seem to have an agenda at all times. 

Hearing Mr. Daisey’s account of his visit to the Foxcon assembly plant and the following reaction reminded me of the differences in working conditions and lifestyles in general between the US and many other countries.  In order to further my understanding of this issue, I think it would be beneficial for Mr. Daisey to visit another assembly plant in the surrounding area and provide a comparison between the two plants. 


5 thoughts on “Grace Howard Reaction 1

  1. Hooray! Lots of responses. Now go ahead and comment on others.

    I think it is fascinating to compare your experiences to those of Mr. Daisy. How did you get into the conversation with the Chinese man? In what language?

  2. It is interesting how we usually do not consider that a company as large and successful as Apple could engage in such questionable practices. It was insightful to hear about your own experience with the worker in China. In the US, when someone has work hours like that, we consider it almost inhumane; therefore, I found it disheartening to learn that in another country excessively long work days are just a part of everyday life. It could be fascinating to explore the working conditions in another country as well in order to compare them to those of the factories in China.

  3. Your opportunity to travel abroad to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing must have been such an eye opening experience. It was very interesting that you were actually able to talk to a 23 year old man who worked under such conditions that his day didn’t end until eleven at night. The work ethic between China and the United States are definitely very different. CEO’s and those working in finance probably experience extremely long hours as well, but the conditions that they work under is completely opposite. While we are able to take breaks and at least speak in our work environments, I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to work in places like Hong Kong and Shanghai. I’m very envious that you were able to take a look at this first hand.

  4. Professor Comas- My friends and I got into this conversation with the Chinese man simply by chance. He happened to be sitting in a seat nearby on the train and noticed that we seemed to be around his age. He approached us and asked us if we were students and why we were there. The conversation was in English and he seemed to be pretty comfortable with it. He was clearly well educated and hard working. Unlike many other countries that we visited, people in China didn’t seem to be too interested in starting conversations with us, which was why we were so intrigued when he did so. He seemed truly happy to share his story with us, so we took it as an opportunity to try to understand Chinese culture further.

  5. It would definitely be interesting to hear Mike Daisey compare his experience from the Apple assembly plant with that from another company’s assembly plant. I wonder if the working conditions would be very similar or drastically different. How would the Apple assembly plant compare to a company who solely produces one product? Would the hours, skill level, or conditions be different? Or does the working conditions depend on the point person from the company? Is someone from Apple decided how long these workers spend at the factory each day to ensure the company is able to meet the consumer demand?

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