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Foxconn's Other Dirty Secret: the World's Largest "Internship" Program 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the apprentice-slave dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "In light of a series of reports that have emerged over the years, one of many dark stories of suicide now points at one of the lesser-known but more unsavory aspects of Foxconn's much-criticized labor practices: with the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on 'compelled' factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation."
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Foxconn's Other Dirty Secret: the World's Largest "Internship" Program

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  • by Temposs (787432) <temposs AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:49PM (#39048759) Homepage

    Actually, about 65% of what US consumers buy is made in the US. It is a myth that nothing is made here. It's mostly the clothing and consumer electronics and other cheap plastic shit which are so completely outsourced.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/business/worldbusiness/20iht-wbmake.1.20332814.html [nytimes.com]
    "Thirty years ago, U.S. producers made 80 percent of what the country consumed, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an industry trade group. Now it is about 65 percent."

  • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:58PM (#39048951)
    Far as I know you are correct. In fact HTC started as a third party manufacturer for other companies before making their own products.
  • Re:oh the humanity! (Score:5, Informative)

    by leehwtsohg (618675) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:18PM (#39049369)

    You read this part, right?

    The Henan provincial government declared that 100,000 vocational and university students would be sent on three-month internships at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plants.

    At one vocational school in Zhengzhou, wrote Hu Yinan, students were informed of the government’s requirement after the summer semester had begun, and that “all those who refuse would have to drop out.”

  • Re:oh the humanity! (Score:5, Informative)

    by dan828 (753380) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:21PM (#39049453)
    You seem to have missed this part: "This isn’t the venerated internship of the privileged college student, building valuable work and life skills with school credit and on-the-job training in place of pay – if such an internship even still exists. Historically, Foxconn’s low-wage internships involve essential factory labor by poor students, some of whose areas of study have nothing to do with electronics, and turn the “school credit” idea on its head. According to SACOM, vocational students, including those studying journalism, tourism and languages, have had practically no choice but to participate in such internships if they want to graduate from their schools. As temporary workers, they have little legal protection or recourse in the event of injury, over-work, or underpayment. And if they complain, they could jeopardize their diplomas."
  • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:05PM (#39050539)
    Don't forget about laws, Laws and more LAWS!
  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:15PM (#39050735)

    They're sending people on "Jobseekers Allowance" into "internships" with the likes of Tesco (our own national Wal-Mart), on the promise of gaining useful job experience which will gain them employment. So they stack shelves for the duration of their internship, which gives them literally zero marketable experience (and indeed, probably damages their prospects - who wants to hire a shelf-stacker for anything less menial?)

    If they leave after a short "cooling off period", their benefits will be cut off, removing even the social safety net provided by the state. While Tesco have been recruiting unpaid interns on a voluntary basis for some years now, this recent trend is essentially state-sponsored slavery, and sounds eerily like the complicity of the Chinese local government in these Foxconn internships.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @07:32PM (#39053097)

    foxconn is a 19th century factory.

    With the company store

    On site living

    overtime that exceeded the legal limit

    little worker safety

    workers being humiliated for messing up

  • Re:oh the humanity! (Score:4, Informative)

    by grouchomarxist (127479) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @08:41PM (#39053809)

    I'm not sure what to think of this story, but I was surprised when I spoke to two mainland Chinese co-workers about the issue of worker conditions in China. Essentially they said that only Apple has the power to do anything about this issue. The Chinese government won't do anything, Foxconn and other manufacturers won't do anything, the Chinese workers are too powerless to do anything. Only Apple has what they phrased as "moral standing". The Chinese government and Foxconn are viewed as amoral.

    I also read an interesting article the other day about the planned inspections. The author, a person with experience in doing inspections, says the currently planned third-party inspections won't work. He suggested instead Apple place an employee representative on-site permanently ensure compliance.

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Foxconn-Inspections-Are-Good-PR-but-Apple-Needs-to-Protect-Workers-407229/1/ [eweek.com]

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