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.
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 trade.gov site where unpaid internships in international trade are being offered. Just saying.
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