Foxconn Technology Group’s Horrible Labor Issues
Companies such as Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, and Sony outsource labor and hardware manufacturing to a company called Foxconn Technology Group. Foxconn Technology Group is a multinational business anchored in Shenzhen, China. Some of the typical hardware being manufactured are, motherboards, chipsets, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The majority of the factories are in China, three in Europe, one in India, and four in Mexico. Currently there are contracts to expand and build a new factory in Brazil. I believe that there are many ethical problems related to this example; first, the general idea of outsourcing mass amounts of labor, and secondly the mistreatment of employees in facilities such as Foxconn. Employee rights, basic living essentials, privacy, and self-esteem are all stripped away to force employees to work in a modern day sweat shop to produce all those computers and phones that we have grown to rely on. The largest Foxconn factory is set in Shenzhen, China and was constructed in 1988. There are currently 450,000 employees and is usually referred to as Foxconn City or iPod City. Shenzhen has 15 warehouse type mini factories jammed into a one-mile square radius. There are also dormitories, a bank, restaurants, a bookstore, a swimming pool, a grocery store, and a hospital jammed the small area. They also has their own police and fire department which makes Foxconn City totally self reliable. The facility is so large that it even has its own television network. In the first five months of 2010, twelve employees took their own life inside Foxconn City. Chairman, Terry Gou had to act fast in order to shift some of the negative spotlight away from Foxconn. One quick fix was to put up nets outside the bottom of all the buildings where employees were most likely to jump off. He also created crisis hotlines and wages were slightly increased in order to get back into the positive media spotlight. Thomas Lee of wired.com says that most employees are migrants from rural communities that come to work at Foxconn because that is their closest economic zone. One employee commented saying that it feels sort of like going to study abroad. A few female employees that were interviewed by wired.com actually thought their wages were fair and have excellent facilities because to them this is the most consistent work they’ve had in a long time. The suicide rate right now is 12 for every 100,000 people so that means each year there are roughly 50 suicides. Working conditions at Foxconn are like those at similar factories in China. They are extremely sterile and clean. The conditions might be the same except, Foxconn expects overtime as a part of a normal routine without any extra compensation. A nonprofit organization founded in Hong Kong back in June 2005 called SACOM (Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior). SACOM collaborates closely with workers in facilities such as Foxconn and tries to confirm that employees are being treated up to par with the current employment laws of China. According to SACOM, Foxconn’s workforce is currently made up of about half student interns, which gives way for cheap labor in a lot of departments that requires pure grunt labor. Some people compare Foxconn city to a modern day prison because of the over extended work shifts, exposure to hazardous materials, and of course the fact that the employees are extremely underpaid. Foxconn claims they are meeting all the employment laws, but SACOM suggest that Foxconn should go even above and beyond to set standards higher than competitive factories. The new dormitories that opened last year have eight workers to a room with one bathroom, a balcony, air conditioning, and internet. The outdoor café and bookstore look very nice from the pictures and employees do enjoy the newer commodities better than previous years. Many of the pictures taken by wired.com...
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