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Foxconn Says Vocational Students Aren't Being 'Forced' To Work

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is dept.

China 117

jones_supa writes "Foxconn has responded to the criticism regarding Chinese internship students being forced to work for them. In a statement to Washington Post, Foxconn said that its 'short-term internship program' is in line with Chinese labor laws and that interns comprise 2.7% of its labor force in China. Schools, not Foxconn, recruit students into the programs, the company said, and the programs are supervised by local government authorities and teachers assigned to monitor the students' work. Foxconn has also set up a hotline for interns and outlined procedures that allow them to resign from the program." Related, an anonymous reader pointed at an undercover report on working conditions at Foxconn.

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117 comments

Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41313217)

Unfortunately, we're going to have to kick you out of this school and send you back to your impoverished village. You know, budget cuts and such.

Now, does anyone else here wish to resign from our completely voluntary short-term internship program? Does anyone else wish to not do their part for glorious China? Does anyone else wish to speak to the press?

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (0)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41313341)

There are a lot of American Colleges that require a year or a semester of internship. Fail do do so means you cannot graduate from college, thus you will normally go back home and work a minimum wage job.

Ob. Simpson Quote.
Stanley, Standly,
No Degree,
2 credits short at
M I T

If you look at it, the internship program is basically free labor.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (4, Insightful)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41313389)

But the main difference is that those US internships come with humane working conditions - FTA - 7 hours on a production line with no breaks. This is not the same as an intern in the US who (maybe underpaid) gets regular breaks and time off of work.

American colleges require internships to help a student find careers, make connections and secure a job. If you've ever had an internship - no one in the company is making millions off of your labor - usually you're nothing more than a gopher or paperwork bitch. From what I can tell, this type of Chinese internship exists to pad a few people's pockets with the labor of many.

To use a comparison: American Internship is to Chinese internship as Apples are to Getting punched in the head.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41314109)

American colleges require internships to help a student find careers, make connections and secure a job. If you've ever had an internship - no one in the company is making millions off of your labor - usually you're nothing more than a gopher or paperwork bitch.

That's crap if it's true -- we have placement students at my workplace, and they have to do "real work" (on my team, they do second-line support and have a small project assigned to them in-between (infrequent) calls). The universities check, and if they thought the students were wasting their time they'd recommend next year's students work elsewhere.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

elistan (578864) | about 2 years ago | (#41315323)

Which American internships do you mean? I was watching an episode of Ice Pilots (a documentary TV show about a north Canadian airlines.) They were showing one guy (a ramp hand, aka "rampie") who had aspirations of being a pilot. I guess part of the industry is starting at the very bottom and then working your way up... Anyway, this guy was doing 12 to 14 hours of work each day, seven days a week. Outside in -40F (and C!) weather!

So maybe Canada is as bad as China for punches to the head? (wink) I honestly don't know what a ramp hand is paid, though, and it probably has better prospects for advancement. But it's certainly no cushy office internship.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about 2 years ago | (#41315617)

It wasn't as cold and it probably wasn't at as busy of an airport, but ramp hand (or lineman in the US) isn't a particularly hard job. I did it for several years when I was younger. It's really no different than working at a full service gas station. Except you pump a lot more fuel into far more valuable vehicles.

In the US (I would hope that linemen at northern Canadian airports got paid more) it is a very low paying job in any instance other than working for/at a major airport. The only advancement opportunity was to buddy up with some pilots and get them to teach you to fly and not charge for the lessons.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41318019)

7hrs without a break is not inhumane. Last time I worked in a factory the law was a minimum 30min break every 5hrs, and Aussie labor laws are generally more favorable to workers than those in the US. I'm not saying Foxconn is a model employer but there's a big difference between rough conditions and inhumane treatment. For example, I worked on a fishing trawler in the 80's, 30hrs steaming to and from the fishing grounds, 36hrs straight on your feet sorting fish from things that either bite or sting, with short periods flat on your back on the deck, a 30min break every 5hrs. It was hard work but good pay, as a young bloke I was as happy as a pig in shit and so were the rest of the crew, except for the skipper who was your stero-typical small business pirate.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#41318131)

PS: The first trip you got 1/2 pay + training, no guaranteed "next time", no turning back unless it's a life or death thing, if you do nothing but spew up for the next 3 days you still get the "training pay".

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about a year ago | (#41318391)

But the main difference is that those US internships come with humane working conditions - FTA - 7 hours on a production line with no breaks.

Chinese labour law mandates 8 hours of work per day maximum, otherwise its over time like here. What most here in the West tend to forget China, like many other old world countries do not have the same concepts as we do. Yes from the start of work till the end its "12 hours" but its not quite that either ...

In China you work 4 hours straight, then have a 2-4 hour lunch time for you to go home, cook a proper meal, take a nap etc, and then another 4 hours of work. None of this "Eat your lunch in a half hour and be thankful" attitude we have here.

Additional Interships for university are a legal requirement in China, the only legal compensation is your room and board during it. During the Cultural Revolution and the period just after it, many Chinese who are now the parents of the kids "forced" to work for 2-3 months at factories like Foxconn had to work for years in the farms in rural areas far away from home to be "sponsored" by the village they were working at's "Workers Unit" to be allowed to go to University.

So you have a choice, go to university for free at a State University, and put up with a couple of months of work, or not go to university, or go to a private university and pay your way through your degree, or worse, do exactly what you know your parents did to get into University. Guess which one of the four the average Chinese student prefers?

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (2)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 years ago | (#41313397)

Except the internship is relevant to your desired career, and there are federal rules for unpaid workers that say basically "This person has to provide a net cost to productivity in order to qualify for unpaid work." Otherwise, they have to be a paid intern.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41313401)

My internships in university had to be paid or they did not count.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 2 years ago | (#41315243)

I've seen both. My co-op had to be paid to count. But I had one job where I worked with other students including an intern who was unpaid. It baffled me. Still does, to be honest. If I'm not providing sufficient value to the company to warrant being paid, I'm not gaining sufficient experience to warrant being there.

Still, my student pay was far far below my post-grad pay. About 50% of my post-grad pay only 8 months later. And yet I was getting paid far above what most non-co-op/non-intern students were likely getting for their summer jobs. I think that both employer and student employee could be said to be happy with the arrangement.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41316845)

Mine did not

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41317095)

Then your university is making a big mistake. For no pay people will take interns and have them doing nothing or useless work. Doing a free internship is nearly pointless.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41317257)

Pay is not very good indicator of good work. I had to submit a letter from my supervisor describing my job to get them to approve my credits (And they get to determine how many credits it is worth too (I was in graduate school, so they were a lot picky)).
 
And I am glad I was able to. It was not a good time to be looking for a job as a computer science student with little experience. My internship got converted into a full-time with a very good pay.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#41318441)

...or perhaps they do an unpaid internship/job at a charity organization. Yes there are pricks who will abuse any system but in general people usually try to be decent human beings, and money is not the only reward. Too often interns just sit in a corner totally bewildered, it's not their fault. Also people do want to help them get up to speed, it's just a fact of life their own work takes precedence over the kid in the corner.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41313543)

If you look at it, the internship program is basically free labor.

No it isn't, because the interns are paid the same wage as the regular workers.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41315249)

If you look at it, the internship program is basically free labor.

No it isn't, because the interns are paid the same wage as the regular workers.

Basically free labor. Q.E.D.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41313347)

Unfortunately, we're going to have to kick you out of this school and send you back to your impoverished village. You know, budget cuts and such.

Now, does anyone else here wish to resign from our completely voluntary short-term internship program? Does anyone else wish to not do their part for glorious China? Does anyone else wish to speak to the press?

Back to the village? More like, we'll just kick you out onto the street and you'll be persona non grata in your own country, with a permanent mark on your record kept by the party. It's not about promoting anything like communist or maxist ideals, but about China's government policy of pushing economic growth at the expense of nothing. China want's to be the big dod in the world, economically and technologically. Why go to war to conquer the world when you can just have the world completely dependent upon you?

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41314409)

China's government policy of pushing economic growth at the expense of nothing.

Yeah, that's the US's job!

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41316065)

China's government policy of pushing economic growth at the expense of nothing.

Yeah, that's the US's job!

They took our jobs!

Dey tuuk ewr jeeerbs!!!

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#41318517)

It always happens, just when I finish spending my mod points a gem like the parent has me literally laughing out loud.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | about 2 years ago | (#41313435)

Yea and if you believe anything these corporations say(and I don't) I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'll sell to you dirt cheap.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (3, Funny)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#41313515)

No one is forcing them to work. They have a choice, work or starve!

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (0)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#41313549)

But isn't China a socialist country? I thought the myth about socialism was that people got money for free without having to work for them!

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 2 years ago | (#41313705)

No in socialism "workers contribute to society based on their ability and receive pay according to their needs"

They are students, they dont need money. The state pays for the school and they can contribute to the state by working for free or for reduced wadges in the factory.

Full on Socialism at work.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41314219)

Socialism means the workers control the means of production.

You seem to have got it mixed up with communism.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 2 years ago | (#41314651)

Ummm, Louis Blanc the most influential of all socialists wrote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!" in his 1839, thesis "The organization of work"

It was repeated by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.

So, it is very Socialist and is true to socialism.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314641)

1. The People's Republic of China is not a socialist government. It is a totalitarian government and nominally Communist.
2. The idea behind 'socialist' governments is that we are all better off if we agree to pay for some things (schools, roads, health care, defense, etc) together rather than let the rich take all the money and work the rest of us to death.
3. The idea behind Totalitarian nations is that you are nothing, the state is everything, and you are luck to live here.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

Artraze (600366) | about 2 years ago | (#41313739)

So work and go to school or don't work and don't go to school. I'm quite missing where the outrage is. Maybe it's that they don't have to option to go into massive debt instead of working like you can in the USA?

It's also worth pointing out that these are vocational students, which means they're learning a trade rather than a general education. So working in factory positions related to their trade is arguably quite like the education they're receiving anyways.

Now, sure, quite like the standard of living in China, the standard of working ain't great. But it is what it is, and that is quite a separate issue. Plenty of people chose to work in these factories rather than struggle with life in an impoverished village. Is it so out of line to force students to (claimed less grueling) work in exchange for an education and life outside their impoverished village?

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (1)

aix tom (902140) | about 2 years ago | (#41315075)

Yep. So it's basically "work for nothing for a time to fill $mega-corps coffers WHILE you are at school" in China with this scheme versus "work for nothing for a time to fill $mega-corps coffers AFTER you left school" to pay back your student loans in the US. Pure Capitalism at work in both cases.

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41316459)

Says the jerkoff who's posting from his Macbook and talking on his iPhone (or any number of products Made In China).
Statistics says 99% of the whiners are jerkoffs like yourself.
Apologies if you are in fact the 1%.

It takes two to tango.
If you are as pious and holier than thou, stop buying MIC goods.
Instead of hypocritically posting on internet forums expressing your utmost outrage (or is that jealousy?) at frankly people working a honest day's job if anything.

How do you like that for "insightfulness"?

Re:Sure, you can resign anytime you like, worker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41316843)

That is _EXACTLY_ what is happening here ... Uuuuh so you don't want to work for free? Fine.
We'll put it in your dangan! A dangan is a dossier with personal information that is started in
school and maintained throughout life of that individual by police, courts, state agencies, employers,
doctors etc. etc.

I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about 2 years ago | (#41313257)

the programs are supervised by local government authorities and teachers assigned to monitor the students' work

So, I'm not sure that statement means "They are watching us so we treat students well" or "They are watching the students to make sure they don't get funny ideas".

Come on, this is the same company which wanted to address the high number of suicides by hanging nets around buildings until the PR disaster struck.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41313315)

the programs are supervised by local government authorities and teachers assigned to monitor the students' work
So, I'm not sure that statement means "They are watching us so we treat students well" or "They are watching the students to make sure they don't get funny ideas".
Come on, this is the same company which wanted to address the high number of suicides by hanging nets around buildings until the PR disaster struck.

Reminds me just a little of the slave shops found in Los Angeles, years back, where Asians were found to be working in buildings, chained to sewing machine stations and such. They of course had the freedom to think about leaving, but not a chance they'd get out alive.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41313879)

"Asians were found to be working in buildings"
those "jobs" have now been outsourced

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41314189)

"Asians were found to be working in buildings"
those "jobs" have now been outsourced

I doubt it, they were making knock-off goods and were run by something of an asian mob. Probably the former bosses of the shop are making picnic tables in San Quentin.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41314415)

guess it was not funny enough... back to my day job

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41313513)

Come on, this is the same company which wanted to address the high number of suicides by hanging nets around buildings until the PR disaster struck.

What were they supposed to do? People were committing suicide to get the insurance money for their families. I suppose they could have just stopped paying out if the cause of death was suicide (and I thought they did actually?) Plus putting up nets is nicer than cleaning up the mess.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (3, Insightful)

happyhamster (134378) | about 2 years ago | (#41313561)

>>What were they supposed to do?

Pay above-suicide wages, provide decent work environment and career path maybe?

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41313731)

Wtf kind of "career path" would you be offering to thousands of poorly educated factory workers, exactly? I have no idea what the work environment is like, but I think the wages would have to be pretty crazy to top a life insurance payout, and I don't really see why it's the employer's responsibility to start paying everyone better. There should be a government set minimum wage like in other countries (and there probably is), then it's up to the employer whether to beat that or not. I'm pretty sure FoxConn were already paying higher wages than other similar workplaces from what I've read in these articles before.. it's bullshit to be ragging on them so much just because they're more visible.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (3, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#41313803)

Pay above-suicide wages, provide decent work environment and career path maybe?

You are quite frankly talking out of your arse. Suicides at Foxconn have surely been reported widely, however if you look at the actual statistics, the suicide rate at Foxconn is about three times lower than the suicide rate in the USA, and about equal to the rate of retail employees in the USA that are _murdered_ while they are doing their job.

The USA has a high suicide rates especially among males because of the wide availability of guns - the rate of attempted suicides is not especially high, but the availability of guns means that more suicide attempts are "successful". Something similar happened at Foxconn: It turns out that jumping off a high building produces a good chance of making suicide attempts "successful". And Foxconn _took action_ against that saving the lives of some people who had problems with their girl friends, mental problems, any of hundreds of possible reasons to commit suicide. What is especially commendable is that they did this even though they must have fully known that the idiots would take whatever they did and hold it against Foxconn.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (3, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | about 2 years ago | (#41315263)

To add actual numbers: In the USA the suicide rate is 11.8 per 100,000 people per year, compared to China's overall 22.2. However, this is for all people. In Foxconn's worst year, they had 14 suicides, or 1.5 suicides per 100,000 employees. Making it extremely low compared to the national average for either China or the USA. Or about 2 per 100,000 if you restrict the death and employee counts to their worst (in terms of suicide) factory complex. As you said, this is about equal to the roughly 2 per 100,000 retail employees murdered per year for assorted reasons. At any rate, to get a fair comparison you would have to look at workplace suicide rates for factory employees in the USA, not just at the grand total. And as far as I know, there aren't really many such statistics available.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313547)

Come on, this is the same company which wanted to address the high number of suicides by hanging nets around buildings until the PR disaster struck.

And city everywhere in America address the high number of suicides by building fence along bridges. What else could they do? Anyone determined can crawl off the net, but anyone determined can also climb the fence.

Re:I have some issues interpreting that statement (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about 2 years ago | (#41313633)

Yeah, but there is a bit of difference in what a city and what an company employing them can do, though. I mean, the city isn't supposed to pay you enough so you don't have kill yourself so your family doesn't starve, for one. Your employer, on the other hand, might be. Morally responsible to do so, to me at least.

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! (0, Flamebait)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41313273)

To think that the Chinese are using interns for free labor! How dare they copy a business technique used by US industries such as publishing and entertainment???

Re:I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41313511)

To think that the Chinese are using interns for free labor!

Except the interns are not free labor. They are paid the same wages as the other workers.

Re:I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41314257)

Except the interns are not free labor. They are paid the same wages as the other workers.

Oh.

So this program is actually much more generous than what certain US industries put students through.

So, what's the story here?

He didn't answer the accusation.... (4, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#41313279)

His response is the FoxConn isn't forcing anyone to work and that it complies with local Chinese law. He said nothing to rebut the criticism that the students are being forced to work. He's got his political speech down, talking about all the unrelated aspects rather than addressing the key point that students are being forced to work.

So from your response you can draw the following conclusions. The students ARE being forced to work, the people doing the forcing are the schools and local government officials, Foxconn is likely involved in pressuring or enticing these entities to do the forcing but isn't actually rounding the people up at gun point themselves.

Yea, not so nice when you take it out of the political speech.

Re:He didn't answer the accusation.... (1)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about 2 years ago | (#41314511)

His response is the FoxConn isn't forcing anyone to work and that it complies with local Chinese law. He said nothing to rebut the criticism that the students are being forced to work. He's got his political speech down, talking about all the unrelated aspects rather than addressing the key point that students are being forced to work.

So from your response you can draw the following conclusions. The students ARE being forced to work, the people doing the forcing are the schools and local government officials, Foxconn is likely involved in pressuring or enticing these entities to do the forcing but isn't actually rounding the people up at gun point themselves.

Yea, not so nice when you take it out of the political speech.

You can draw whatever conclusion you want but the truth will never come out. This is a communist regime and if someone posts something legit that shames China they will disappear. If they post it anonymously, they will be discredited. China is out to win and they will lie, cheat and steal their way to the top at any cost.

Re:He didn't answer the accusation.... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41314847)

I don't know if these students are being given an education or denied an education. I know in the US vocational students borrow huge sums of money that they then give to a for profit corporation who has no accountability that they actually give an education. These students are then forced to work to pay off the loans the the for-profit corporation convinced them to take out. We now know that the tactics used to convince these student to take out these never-to-be-forgiven-loans-even-in-bankruptcy verge of criminal.

Even in legit schools, work-study programs are common. These programs use 20 hours a week. For a student in a real degree program, with 15 hours of classes, the work schedule turns a horrendous 50-60 hour week into an 70-80 hour week,which leave just enough time for sleep. This is such an issue that many ivy league schools offer their best scholarship students beyond a full ride, to make sure they don't work.

So no, I am not going to judge another culture with different norms based on what we consider appropriate. Just like our students in they US, they may very have to make a choice between temporary hardship and an education. Even our Republican candidate said he had to suffer to get an education, in a tiny apartment without a creme brûlée in sight. I think many of us have been there and would have been thankful for any opportunity to help fund our eduction. In the US the only opportunity is often loans. Would I have worked in a factory for a summer for tuition. Probably. Is this what is happening in Chine? I don't know. But I think a lot of radical elements are jumping on this with no information, simply because they don't like Chine or Apple, or even the Capitalist system that leverages efficiencies so we can buy cheap stuff at wal mart. That is their right. But we should stick with facts and not mistake what we wish were true for reality.

They aren't being forced to work... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41313287)

... but they will if they know what's good for them.

iPhone 5 (2)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 2 years ago | (#41313289)

Each new phone will contain the beating heart of a Chinese student. Get one today!

Re:iPhone 5 (3, Funny)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#41313557)

Put it next to your Foxconn-made Cisco router and HP laptop to make a chorus.

Tired of picking on Foxconn yet?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313295)

Why don't we pick on Nike's chinese sweat shops for a change. Because they're not a tech company? They do make Nike+ accessories for use with the iPod, afterall.

Come on, let's pick on Nike for a change??????

Re:Tired of picking on Foxconn yet?? (0)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 2 years ago | (#41313409)

Each new shoe's tongue will be made from the tongue of a Chinese student. And the sole? well . . . Get a pair today!

Re:Tired of picking on Foxconn yet?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314077)

What's Nike got to do with Apple?!

Re:Tired of picking on Foxconn yet?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314307)

I bought my Dell laptop specifically because it was made by Foxconn.

Re:Tired of picking on Foxconn yet?? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41315537)

I don't remember ever stopping picking on Nike. But when the court ruled that they were allowed to lie in advertisements about ceasing to use sweatshops when they had not, it seems they were the winners of the PR war.

Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41313299)

The /. groupthink appears to be that hiring high school students (to help them fulfill their graduation requirements) is a bad thing.

You're right! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313395)

The /. groupthink appears to be that hiring high school students (to help them fulfill their graduation requirements) is a bad thing.

Because we know that working on an assembly line doing robot work is part of a decent education. Where on an assembly line they'll learn valuable skils like: showing up, shutting up, keeping your head down and doing as your told.

Why we have the same thing here in the US! Back when I was working my way through college in restaurants, we had a couple of high school kids there workng for credit to graduate. I asked them why? They said it got them out of math and science classes.

Awesome! That's what we need in this country and I'm sure in China too - more menial labor! We and they obviously have waaaayyyy too many engineers, scientists, doctors, and other educated people.

We need more earning and less learning is what I say!

Vote Republican in November!

Re:You're right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314003)

The fact of the matter is that we do and will always need soldiers, garbage men, and fast food lackeys.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41313403)

Well, it is if they are working in an industry they might be interested in after graduation. But if its some social service organization involved in feeding homeless crack addicts, then its a condition of graduation.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313411)

Is it really "hiring" if they're forced to be there, are not paid, you work them 12-hour days, and you beat them if they don't produce?

Because if that's hiring, I want to hire some black folk to pick my cotton crop.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313661)

Because if that's hiring, I want to hire some black folk to pick my cotton crop.

WTF!!! you fucking racist, what i can't get job just because i am white? i will sue you for racial discrimination ...

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314375)

Let's see.
1) They aren't forced to be there,
2) They do get paid the standard rate,
3) They do work 12 hour days - the standard in China,
4) They don't beat them.

Other than that, you are spot on.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41313447)

Only if you are not paying them, or forcing them to work in what westerners would consider unusual or dangerous conditions.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41313679)

The Foxconn interns are getting paid. And sitting on a factory line stuffing ICs into boards is hardly "dangerous". I did that when I was a high school student for Cardinal Technologies (modem manufacturer).

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41313827)

I bet the standards at that factory were a little different.

Also those interns are working of their own free will, not like these chinese kids.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#41313855)

And sitting on a factory line stuffing ICs into boards is hardly "dangerous".

I wonder what the educational value of that would be, other than the important life lesson of "Be careful when signing any contract."

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313457)

Mr CPU, would you please close your mouth so I can back my sweatty ball-sack up to your lips for a little bit of good tea baggin' action?

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313697)

/.'s groupthink has always had a socialist bias. In this case they are about 30% right - China is a place of mediocre levels of economic freedom, where much government-created pressure exists to limit the choices of those interns. If this was happening in a more free market environment, the aforementioned (guesstimated) percentage number would decline.

People have a Right to enter into contracts of their own free will, work at "sweatshops", etc - for billions of people in this world, this would be a rational decision on their way forward from agricultural poverty.

China has been far less economically free in the past, and the poverty that continues to exist there is a consequence of that past.

--libman

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313771)

Oh, nonsense. Slashdot's groupthink has been full of anarcho-capitalists calling themselves "libertarian" for years now. People who thought Galt's speech at the end of Atlas Shrugged was actually insightful, who read Snow Crash and thought the author was describing a utopian society, and who have never actually read a word of what Adam Smith actually wrote about capitalism.

The hilarious part is that everyone in the above description would be pretty screwed if their whole economic Thunderdome vision actually came to pass.

Re:Guess I need to fire my company's interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314589)

The /. groupthink [slashdot.org] appears to be that hiring high school students (to help them fulfill their graduation requirements) is a bad thing.

FTFY. You forgot to include a link to the previous thread. Thought you might like it if people could get some context for your accusation. ;)

nostalgic title (2)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#41313387)

The title so brings the nostalgic memories of 80s, when the first thing you do as a freshman is join glorious rows of collective farmers for two three weeks at the border between Moscow and Tula regions.

The farm was actually set up this way. They had only managers and the role of measly workers were always performed by Moscow students.

Economics of labor in China (3, Interesting)

shoppa (464619) | about 2 years ago | (#41313443)

40 years ago the super-major purchases that an affluent family might make in China, would be a bicycle, a radio, and a desk.

Today (thanks to assembly shops like Foxconn) the standard of living has been raised so that those lucky enough to get employment at a place like Foxconn, can often buy a car, a computer, and a TV.

Every major city in China is building hundreds (and I'm not kidding, HUNDREDS, it is astonishing) of skyscrapers on its edges to accomodate rural, farm poor folks who are moving to the city to get jobs at place like Foxconn.

That doesn't mean that everything is always on the level or that Foxconn is pure at heart. Far from it, corruption is widespread and so many of the jobs are incredibly dangerous. But construction work is far and away the most dangerous work environment in China today.

Re:Economics of labor in China (2)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41313539)

I'd be interested to see a side-by-side comparison of China (economically, socially, etc) today and the US of the late 1800's into the first thirty years of the 1900's. Does that exist?

Re:Economics of labor in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314377)

I don't know if a side-by-side comparison exists between "China" and 'US", but there is certainly information about the Chinese in the US in the 19th century:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_American_history [wikipedia.org]

Which IMNSHO has striking similarities to Chinese workers today.

Re:Economics of labor in China (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#41318171)

probably not, but what's your point? china is a much longer lived country than the US, so if anything, they should be more "civilized" with respect to workers' rights.

Re:Economics of labor in China (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41315159)

Regarding the building boom, it's shaping up to the biggest real estate bubble ever and will make 2008 look like a small blip.

Developers have literally built empty cities which property speculators have heavily invested in, the cost of living in these "ghost cities" is quite high for the average citizen and keeps it out of reach as well infrastructure is already falling apart because no one lives there.

When the property bubble bursts there is going to be a significant chain reaction with far reaching consequences throughout China and the rest of the world as a result, the next decade is going to be very, very challenging for East Asia.

Re:Economics of labor in China (1)

shoppa (464619) | about 2 years ago | (#41315503)

Having just spent several weeks in China I tend to agree: It is hard to imagine the hundreds of skyscrapers I saw in construction around the outer ring roads, being commercially succesful. There were just so many skyscrapers and roads under brand new construction that I was in total awe.

But I have to observe, the Chinese can be very innovative and resourceful, many of the folks my age and younger were out hustling EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY to boost their own business, perhaps they will be able to use the surplus construction and infrastructure better than any western society could.

Come on (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about 2 years ago | (#41313471)

That guy behind them with the gun is just a coincidence

TED Talk: Leslie T. Chang: The voices of China's w (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313501)

TED Talk: Leslie T. Chang: The voices of China's workers [youtube.com]

In the ongoing debate about globalization, what's been missing is the voices of workers -- the millions of people who migrate to factories in China and other emerging countries to make goods sold all over the world. Reporter Leslie T. Chang sought out women who work in one of China's booming megacities, and tells their stories.

Not vocational school students they are college (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313551)

Not vocational school students they are college students who are taking non vocational classes.

Nov8tr responds to Foxconn (1)

Nov8tr (2007392) | about 2 years ago | (#41313569)

LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313681)

American plantation owners didn't enslave Africans, they just bought slaves. Just like Foxconn is procuring slaves from the Chinese government/schools.

Lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41313703)

I wish I was able to get an internship during college.

Labor Laws? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41313755)

So these interns get paid, right?

If so (even if its the entry level wage) Foxconn isn't getting free or cheap labor. Often it takes a few months to bring employees up to speed even on moderately skilled jobs. So they are probably losing some money (or at best, breaking even) on this deal.

Back when I started my engineering career at a utility, the company I started at had a training program where they would run new employees (professional and management types) through each division in the company. One or two days in meter reading, accounting and other similar departments. A few weeks in jobs more closely related to my eventual position. I even spent a few weeks working with line crews (on de-energized stuff). Best damned experience I could have gotten for the industry. Of course, they paid me the engineering entry level wage. And they didn't expect any real productivity out of me.

Interesting note about that productivity: When I went out with an underground crew, installing systems in new subdivisions (basically dragging cable through open trenches), I just put on some work clothes and jumped in. Later, the foreman told me that some engineers in the training program just sat in their cars, reading a newspaper and napping for a few weeks. Later on, it turned out that the newspaper reading engineers ended up becoming the company fuck-ups.

Same thing later on working at Boeing. We had some engineers who refused to go out into the factory and look at the systems they were involved with. Again, these turned out to be the useless screw-ups (or son-in-laws of some VP).

Its all about the enthusiasm and interest in the industry. Sure, it can be abused. But if you are not willing to do the work (and experience some of the drudgery) of the job, you probably need to seek employment elsewhere. Also, I'd think really hard about hiring any white collar professional who hasn't done some sort of physical labor in their past. Some of the best life training (even for the nerd set) is to work alongside some traditional blue collar workers who take pride in their professions. Working with line crews (both in training and as an engineer) sure puts the uber-macho attitude many engineers and IT professionals have into (hilarious) perspective.

Re:Labor Laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41315647)

Nice story gramps. Too bad it has nothing to do with the article.

Rationalization (4, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | about 2 years ago | (#41313757)

Hard day for loyal western customers that would rather um... pay more for their gadgets than exploit young workers. In the mean time we may find it useful to review the Slashdot poster rationalizations collected from recent responses to similar stories.

Apple/Foxconn worker and environmental exploitation rationalization worksheet

Check all that apply

[ ] Making iPhones in a Chinese factory is better than being a Chinese peasant
[ ] iPhones/Pads would cost too much if I had to pay my fellow citizens to make them
[ ] iPhones/Pads would cost too much given environmental regulations I vehemently insist on for myself
[ ] All the other manufacturers are doing it too
[ ] Some/Many/Most Chinese workers appreciate 70 hour weeks and breathing my aluminum dust
[ ] It's not Apple, it's Foxconn
[ ] It's not Apple, it's the Chinese government
[ ] It's just capitalism at work
[ ] It's just communism at work
[ ] Apple's disposable workers are paid better than non-Apple disposable workers
[ ] Apple's auditors didn't find any serious issues
[ ] Some day the Chinese will be too wealthy to exploit
[ ] Your Android is Foxconn too
[ ] You're an Apple hater using Apple as a scapegoat
[ ] I also work 60/80/100/120 hour weeks at my IT job
[ ] Apple designers are in the US
[ ] The US did the same thing to the British
[ ] The US had slaves once too
[ ] The US has prison labor today
[ ] It's up to the Chinese to stand up to their oppressive government
[ ] There are lines of willing workers outside Foxconn factories
[ ] If any company were to stop the exploitation, I really think it'll be Apple
[ ] Your free Linux runs on Chinese hardware too
[ ] Foxconn workers think they have it great, so it's ok!
[ ] Foxconn worker suicides are lower than Chicago's murder rate
[ ] We can't pollute the whole world!
[ ] Half of all US households have an Apple product
[ ] If we don't exploit them they'll never develop

Re:Rationalization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41317135)

China is not communist.
China is a capitalist country.
China is not a democracy.
China is a totalitarian regime.

Re:Rationalization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41317935)

You forgot, "Foxconn worker suicide rates are lower than China's suicide rates."

dilbert reference (1)

jarkus4 (1627895) | about 2 years ago | (#41313891)

from S1E11 animated series episode:
boss:
"Everybody who donates will get one of these colorful, stylish I-get-to-keep-my-job T-shirts. Of course participation is completely 100% voluntary."

Definitely not forced... (1)

nighthawk243 (2557486) | about 2 years ago | (#41313925)

Well... they're not forced which is somewhat correct... heavily coersed is more like it. Someone could not be "forcing" me to die, but the other option is extremely painful torture. Either way, I'd be fucked.

Re:Definitely not forced... (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 2 years ago | (#41317151)

Academia is heavily coerced regardless of where in the world it is.

Most western students don't understand factories (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | about 2 years ago | (#41314519)

because they won't go in one until they're 18+. If great ideas need implementation then factories are very important learning tools.

It is extremely important for break out potential and producing actually useful members of society.

Another place you should take your kids if you get the chance is court. Fight a parking ticket or some other minor legal skirmish and bring the kids along. Sure it will be a bit demoralizing for them to see their parents "lose" but it will keep them from being scared of the courts, give them a tiny insight into why the courts are how they are (very important because it allows them to get inside the legal mind. If they don't make an effort to understand legality and societal commitment they'll likely develop anti-social notions).

Also factories help people understand finance, why am I able to afford a lighter that would take me 8 months to build for what amounts to 10 minutes of effort at my job? Am I paying too much for the lighter even so? How long would it take to assemble(materials/parts) and build?

Studetns should be paid nominal wages however, otherwise part of the lesson is lost. And school should be acknowledged as a full time job, and one of the few where a youth's income ratio (time x X) is the same or better than an adults.

Well... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41314545)

Well, I suppose it is "short term" if they commit suicide but it's quite rude of them to phrase it that way.

Sheeple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41314927)

You sheeple need to stop being complacent with this behavior and start taking actions!

Demand from your companies that they provide products manufactured in responsible and fair conditions!

Demand from your Government that they reevaluate their international trade agreements so that it does not reward this type of inhumane behavior!

For products you cannot live without, buy them in second hand markets so the companies like Apple can not profit from this horrible abuse of human labor!

---
Sent from my iPhone 5

So, how long until... (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about 2 years ago | (#41315953)

So, how long until sabotaged devices or devices with notes stating how bad the conditions are start showing up?

A direct appeal to the President of the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41317925)

President Obama:

Having now been privy to the deplorable human rights abuses in countries such as China, we need to throw wide open the immigration floodgates.
These hard working Chinese youth must be rescued into outdated facilities that now exist here in the US, and be paid union ransom wages.
By companies that we taxpayer rescued from bankruptcies with money that you borrowed from the Chinese.

Mr. Obama, tear down these sweatshops.

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