Did Mike Daisey make factory workers’ lives worse?
First of all, if you haven’t followed the situation over stage performer Mike Daisey’s claims about his experiences visiting electronics manufacturing facilities in China, please do so. You can listen to the story from Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz, who broke the news about Daisey’s lies, and then listen to This American Life for the astonishing and painful dismantling of Daisey by Schmitz and Ira Glass.
And now the reactions have started to show up. Foxconn says it won’t pursue any legal action in the matter although it says that This American Life should have checked with Foxconn before running the program.
Meanwhile, the activist group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior has issued a statement, saying its concerned that now that Daisey’s claims are proven to be lies, that Foxconn will have cover to not change its practices, which are still widely seen as problematic to say the least.
Foxconn, from SACOM’s perspective, is capitalizing on Mike Daisey’s case. In the past two years, there are lots of reports from labour groups and media on deplorable working conditions at Apple suppliers. Foxconn and Apple are not clean and innocent. Foxconn and Apple know about the labour abuses in the factories. They must launch a remedial action plan and announce it to the workers. More importantly, Apple and Foxconn should facilitate democratic elections at the unions in their production facilities. When they can organize trade unions, workers can monitor working conditions themselves and strive for sustainable improvement in the factories.
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