Disney toys with workers’ rights

Marketplace Staff Nov 1, 2007


Doug Krizner: Labor activists are picketing Hong Kong Disneyland. They want to draw attention to unfair labor practices. Bill Marcus reports from Shanghai.

Bill Marcus: The activists are targeting a Disney supplier — the Tianyu Toy Factory in southern China. Workers make 47 and a half cents an hour, and work 16-hour days. But they wait 45 days to get a paycheck.

This keeps them on the job so they can stuff enough toys for Christmas. Factory bosses claim they’re within the law. Disney says nothing.

Trade union activist Stanphany Wong says that’s the problem:

Stanphany Wong: For Disney, they never come out to have a direct discussion with the labor groups about their findings. They rather to take the cut-and-run approach.

Wong says while these workers are making less than the minimum wage, the government doesn’t enforce it because they don’t want to scare away investment.

But there’s good news: Consumer campaigns are working, China media is paying attention, and younger workers are refusing to eat suffering.

In Shanghai, I’m Bill Marcus for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.