An Opposite Opinion

From a worker at Foxconn: 

Uhm, excuse me? Mr. Daisey? I need to stop you right here. I appreciate you trying to help us Foxconn workers by performing your monologue– but do you have any idea what you’re doing?

I have spent the last 2 years working at Foxconn.  And its not easy here, far from it actually.  I have seen my fair share of friends come and go, worn out by the long hours and the mind-numbing work.  But this is so much better than the alternative.  I came to Shenzen from a small and terribly poor village. I came with no money, no friends, no place to live and no place to work.  And now I have this job, where I can provide for myself, where my life is so much better than the alternative.  Is it bad? Yes of course, but bad is better than the awfulness that was my old life. 

Can’t you see that people want these jobs?  That these positions are something that people covet?  You don’t see that because you are not from here.  You are not us. You don’t know our culture or our life.  They can replace us so easily.  People are lined up outside ready to take my place.  The system, the conditions, they will never change.  They will never change until there is no longer a need for these jobs.  And let me tell you, Mr. Daisey, that time will never come.

All you have done is limit my ability to work overtime hours. Have you raised my pay? Have you halted the number of Chinese workers begging for my job?  Have you offered any real solutions? Of course not.  So do us all a favor: keep your sad story to yourself and let me keep my job.



9 thoughts on “An Opposite Opinion

  1. so two quick things:
    1. Since the workers don’t have any better option for employment, is it still ok to make them work ridiculously long shifts in unfavorable working conditions?
    2. How happy do these people really look?

  2. I do like the perspective you offered here. Jobs are definitely in demand. Also – maybe it’s just because the “I <3" tee is really well known around the world, but I find it interesting that they're all wearing shirts in English…

  3. I agree with both of you on the picture. They do not look super thrilled. Do you think the fact that the shirts are in english suggests that someone else made them where them? Or do you think it was just a message to the Americans who have been so obsessed with this issue?

  4. What a picture! It doesn’t seem like they are happy to be there in the slightest. I agree with Sarah that they may have been paid off to wear them. My question is who made them wear them. Is the goal to support Foxconn, or to poke at this issue that seems to be gaining exposure.

  5. I really liked the perspective you presented here. I think the way I justify the factory conditions there is with the idea of Chinese workers improving their lives. It doesn’t seem like there are any better options for uneducated, unskilled workers, but this also doesn’t mean that workers are happy. Their lives are a struggle whether they are working in Foxconn or not, and that is the bigger issue at hand.

  6. This picture is extremely revealing to the situation at Foxconn, but also could help support Daisey’s arguments. It shows how company officials may be trying to superimpose ideals on workers in order to improve their exterior image.

  7. If this isn’t about company officials attempting to improve FoxConn’s image, I don’t know what is. The photo looks pretty phony to me. Plus, how often do you see any type of worker or professional in shirts promoting their company that say “I ❤ _________," let alone workers in a factory? It just doesn't seem very credible.

  8. I appreciate the way you bring a lot of facts we heard in the last part of the retraction back into the Chinese worker’s position.

    At the same time, I don’t see how pressure from someone (Chinese government, Apple, advocates, a real labor union) to improve pay, hours, or working conditions would threaten the job security of these Chinese workers.

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