In 2005 I interned as a Quality Assurance Technician for a similar plastics company in China inspecting plastic housing for handsets making a USD equivalent of $0.17/hour. I worked 10 – 12 hours a day and because I was only an intern….I only had to work 6 days a week instead of all days of the week. I did it for a month and it ultimately led me to quit the mechanical engineering career path.
When the media reported on the conditions of Foxconn we all thought that the conditions are so terrible, so horrible, so impoverished….but the truth of the matter is Foxconn is one of the best if not the best manufacturing company in China. The factory that I worked at was way “worse” compared to our western ideologies about what is good or bad when it comes to employment conditions. I’m slightly annoyed by how we turn up our noses when people get so uptight about the whole situation simply because this is really nothing new.
For the past 1 – 2 years the US economy has been “in recovery” and I think it has quite honestly made us all a little crazy. Entrepreneurs are refusing the idea of outsourcing overseas, people are cutting back spending, and all of a sudden we all care about employment conditions in China? I don’t know how many of those reporters have actual first hand experience working on the front lines of a plastics assembly line, but I can say from my own experiences that the workers whom I’ve came to work alongside with were humble and happy to have a pay check. I’m not discounting the fact that bad conditions, suicides, and mistreatment occurs….but I have the opinion that these issues are more secluded on a case by case basis rather than a company wide problem that employs 250,000 people.
With Apple being the most valuable company in the world everyone has microscopic scrutiny on their every move. Spiderman taught me that with great power comes great responsibility and you know what? He’s right! Apple and Foxconn in recent efforts to quell the ridiculous reports see to “improve” (the already great environment IMO) the employment conditions at the factories. Welp, they well on their way to fixing it, what are you going to do now? Complain that your iPad3 burns your hands? Everything is going to be ok people…just calm down.
This article made me reminisce about my own personal experience. – http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/11/marketplace-takes-a-look-at-how-the-ipad-is-made-and-who-exactl/