Microsoft caught exploiting child labor in China. Gee, what a surprise.

I have no idea why people act surprised when they find USA companies that have outsourced simply everything overseas are exploiting child labor. Exactly why do they think these companies have relocated so many American jobs  there, because they love the Kung Pao Chicken? 

The National Labor Committee released a report called “China’s Youth Meet Microsoft [MSFT]: KYE factory in China produces for Microsoft and other U.S. Companies” on Apr. 13. It accuses KYE (photo, right), a major supplier to the world’s largest software company, of child-labor law violations in its factory in Dongguan, China. 

The report says: “KYE recruits hundreds (up to 1,000) ‘work-study’ students 16 and 17 years of age, who work 15-hour shifts, six and seven days a week making webcams, mice and other computer peripherals. Some of the workers appear to be just 14 or 15 years old. A typical shift is from 7:45 a.m. to 10:55 p.m. Most of the students work for three months, but some stay longer.” The investigation was conducted over a three-year period. 

No! Say it isn’t so! It can’t be so! Why, Microsoft would never allow that to happen! 

Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the organization and author of the report, says of his group’s findings: “It sounded like torture. The frantic pace on the assembly line, same motion over and over for the 12 hours or more of work they did.” 

The report adds: “As usual, the codes of conduct for Microsoft, HP [HPQ] and the Electronics Industry Council have zero impact.” The report makes a number of other allegations about work conditions in the facility. 

Walmart used to exploit me, but I got lucky and now Microsoft exploits me.

Well what do you expect? If you Americans would just work for free and give us your kids, we would give you a bag of rice now and then for the family. But are you willing to help out? No! 

So what makes us think that every single one of these “American” Icon companies  isn’t front and center with the exploitation of both adults and children? Do we really imagine they don’t have a clue why their “vendors” cost so much less than the vendors here in America?

The truth of the matter is, “Buy American” rarely exists in the USA any longer, so don’t even imagine you are making a dent when you see a tag that says, “Assembled in the USA”. Assembled in the USA is not the same as Made In The USA. It means somebody else made all the parts and we slapped them together. My favorite label euphemism is “Made in America with Imported Materials”. There’s a catchy one.   

In some cases, “American” companies don’t even bother doing an inspection of their own product before you buy it, much less final assembly. I bought a Gateway computer a few years ago and tracked the shipping. It went directly from Taiwan to Alaska and then to my door. It was a major piece of shit. In fact it was so bad I got my money back for it. And then Gateway wondered why their stock was down to $5. 

The dirty little truth is, in many cases, “Made In America” is now a misnomer too, when you consider how many materials vendors are located overseas, with so many of them exploiting child labor.

And when was the last time you called just about anybody’s “Customer Service” department and didn’t have to strain to understand what the person on the other end was saying? Every single customer service person I have spoken to in the past year was either from Mexico or India.  And exactly why do you think Bill Gates fought so hard to increase the number of software engineers he can bring in from India while unemployed software engineers work at Home Depot? Oh yes, that’s right, he said he can’t find the talent here. 

The worst part of Microsoft was once their spying behaviors on your computer. Now they have been upstaged by Google. Now Microsoft is most known for finding ways to profit from your job loss. Worse yet, they get to profit off your misery at the same time. Since they have the monopoly on PC operating systems, the only way you can boycott them is to stop using a computer. How many of us are willing to do that?  What’s that you say? Buy an Apple? Do you really think that Apple’s computers are all made here in America when their ipods are made in China? Really? Guess Again.  Oh look! Child labor again! What a coincidence!

In any event, Bill Gates says he had nooooooooo idea this was happening with his “Vendors”.  He’s shocked! Shocked I tell you! Shocked!  If you believe that, then I can grow coconuts in New York.

Thank you Wal-mart!  Other American companies have learned sooooooo much from you in the past two decades. Those 5000 little piece-work assembly sweat shops in Chinese warehouses are a real inspiration! I think I will just run right over to your place and buy myself a flat screen Tee Vee.

You know, I can at least in part understand why companies got fed up with being squeezed by American labor unions, taxes,  and the cost of health insurance in the USA. But this isn’t about cutting costs any longer. When you exploit children, you are greedy. You are not only greedy, but you are barely human.

But not to worry, America. Our “companies” right here in America want you to feel the love. That’s why so many of them are offering unpaid internships to college students. Hey, who knows? Maybe next year they will reach out to High School students and offer them the pleasure of working for free too, just like they do do our trade partners! And while the Obama administration says they plan to crack down on this practice, somebody needs to point them to the site where unpaid internships in international trade are being offered. Just saying.


36 Responses

  1. Made in America is SOOOO 20th century! our children do no work anymore! They are the consumer generation- how many actually even do chores?
    Sad but there it is- with the high cost of doing business here in the States and the lack of work ethic in our children- what’s a company supposed to do to satisfy American consumerism while still making obscene profits?
    Just sayin—–

    ps= I see the surgeon tomorrow to have the bandages removed etc- hopefully he will order the physical therapy and I can start working on getting back in shape! I will write a post soon at my place telling all about it-

  2. Hey Mom! GLad to see ya, girl! It’s been a haul, hasn’t it?

  3. Mom, glad to see you back! Hope all goes well tomorrow.

  4. Uppity, this is nothing other than state sanctioned slavery – worldwide. It happens in every country where these global corporations operate. The big guys get theirs, so why should they care – as long as it’s kept hidden and doesn’t affect their PR bottom line. And if indeed Gates had no idea, as he claims, then he’s an inept idiot. Isn’t his foundation supposed to be about bringing health and education to the less fortunate? Or is that just another PR initiative, wherein he heads the foundation, but has no responsibility whatsoever to investigate conditions on the ground?
    Contrast that with Craig Keilburger.

  5. P.S. Craig was born in 1982. Bill Gates was born in 1955. Ignorance and gullability is not age specific.

  6. More and more they are pushing the global economy shtick. Which I see as code for moving toward the elite and then the rest of us as the way it is everywhere. Using the excuse that Americans have been wrong all these years and should not try to impose their bad ways on others but should give in to what the others are doing. O has certainly been singing this song.

  7. OT
    This story made me very angry. Someone should make the people in that office get off their dead asses and help the veterans.

    In the seventies I started seeing jobs leave the country and foreign goods being sold here cheaper. People did not really look down the road to what it would do to the country.
    Gates had a responsibility to oversee how is money was spend and how his employees were treated and paid and if they were of an age to work.



  8. Not only do they exploit children look how animals can be abused all to make money!
    Makes me feel sick!

    Supreme Court kills animal cruelty law

  9. More screwing of “The Little People” by these filthy Pols – from the side bar

  10. Speaking on animals, we just set momma opossum and her three clingers free. Of course the thing hauled ass back up the road and into our woods again nearly scrapping off a couple kids going through the fence.

  11. O/T and I have no comment. What is there to say.

  12. getfit – I heard about this the other day. A search of the internet to get a real recipe for “spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto” is impossible without seeing reference to this typo. Now – the cookbook is racist.

    Were only such a fuss made about REAL-WORLD nasty practices on women, girls and gays

  13. “Made in America with Imported Materials”

    Or maybe, made in foreign country by enslaved children with American and/or imported materials.

    Gates is too busy apportioning his billions to worthy causes, to see his own company is doing some real scary things. Those are some VERY long hours for kids to be working. They probably promise them the moon and the stars and then toss them some pennies each payday. So Bill can beat his chest and the world can marvel at how he gives away $ from his foundation.

  14. I just spent 122 minutes on the phone with a customer service rep for Dell from India. Not only could I not understand him, he was virtually unable to understand me. We spent 122 minutes of repeated instructions to me as I was unable to understand the numbers or letters of the alphabet needed for him to get into my computer and it was aggravating to each of us.

    Why are we having to be put in contact with India when we have the same number of IT technicians in this country? I now have 122 minutes that I will never get back and will have to pay for as a result of using up that number on my cellphone in order to be told I need a tech to come to the house after all!

    I am all for mutual global trade but this is getting ridiculous.

  15. Excellent post & thread. I’ve always thought Gates was a hypocrite. I am trying to avoid buying crap from China. Its hard, and you have to take time to read everything, even a lot of our food is coming from there. Besides being brutal slave masters, they make horrible products. Every piece of stainless steel I have bought in the last 20 years rusts. Other products fall apart. An electric shaver we bought from China last year worked once. Their food products are poisonous. This is from a culture that once created astonishingly beautiful artwork, architecture, etc. (of course those were probably made with slave labor practices also) Our own govt has allowed the corps to run amuck for far too long.

  16. Pat, have also had similar experiences. Its very frustrating.

    btw, lakerwade hasn’t started looking for a job yet, but all his friends & cousins in their teens can’t buy themselves a job. Some of them have put in 20-30 appls in minimum wage type places, but no one will hire the teens, they’d rather have older people from Mexico & Cent & S America (hope I don’t sound racist here, I’m really not). When I was young in 70’s & 80’s, I got to pick my job from several offers. Its really bizarre. The few teens we know who are working, got their job because they know someone who got them in. It seems like one way or another, companies don’t want Americans working for them anymore.

  17. Who is the other cat? Is it Cousin Bob?

  18. Uppity! You CAN raise coconuts in New York! All you need is a giant greenhouse and scads of sunshine. You better subscribe to some hopey/changy, too, and you’re all set, as long as you don’t have one of those typical New York winters.

    The picture caption for that smiling teeny bopper (is she over 12?) should read= “Microsoft just promoted me to supervise 600 other kids! Me ah so happy!”

  19. What disturbs me is how they treat the girls, with the long hours, bad food, packed like sardines in the factory. Breaks them as people.

  20. Hal, ROFL!

  21. That’s the idea, Harmony.

  22. Hal, you would think that with Global Warming, by now we should be picking bananas here!

  23. We went to a Dodger game Sunday & I wore my Uppity Woman hat. Everyone else around me was wearing Dodger hats (it was free hat day); anyway, I got a lot of compliments on it.

  24. SoCal – heh – that’s nice to know!

  25. new post up.

    Waving to FF.

  26. HAHAH Socal. You wore the hat! Way to go girl!

    FF you need to revivie the uppity gear!

  27. FF, a moderartor kitteh bill cap!

  28. I second that!

  29. “a moderartor kitteh bill cap”


  30. From our lips to Freedom Fairy’s ears.

  31. Socal cements the widespread fame of our Uppity!=

    “We went to a Dodger game Sunday & I wore my Uppity Woman hat. Everyone else around me was wearing Dodger hats (it was free hat day); anyway, I got a lot of compliments on it.”

    Any leftover UW hats?? I want one. Size HUGE…big head, nothing in it. Aw, shoot, MKBill hat money just goes to feed his nip habit.

  32. My mom cat Clio has a crush on Bill. Since all six of her own kittens were variations on B&W (as is she), I think she has a thing for Tuxedo kitties. Poor thing is mooning around the house and peers over my shoulder to look longingly at Bill’s picture. Clio has yet to figure out that there will be no more litters of her own. She is a great help with the foster kittens but always gets the blues when they are adopted although not as bad as when her own kittens left for new homes (one stayed behind).

    Since Clio’s human found that her job will last a bit longer, a small donation has been made to help Bill’s cat nip fund. Its not much, but Clio assured me that when it comes to cat nip, every little bit helps. Her daughter Echo seconded the motion.

  33. Yes Mt. Laurel, I do hope you saw my thank you for your contribution to bill’s disgusting habit.

    As for Clio, tell her Bill Knows she loves him. This is because bill says all the girls love him, and he can’t blame them. He says taht the very fact that she is either black, white or black and white gives her a strong chance they he might stop by.

  34. Hal Freedom Fairy sells the gear. So look for her answer.

  35. Uppity, just caught up with the newer responses on a couple of the older posts and did see your note.

    Tell Bill that Clio looks suspiciously like the kitty on the post, except that I noticed that his companion in the header has a black dot on the chin while Clio’s is on her nose.

  36. […] Microsoft caught exploiting child labor in China. Gee, what a surprise. […]

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