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banyon
12-12-2007, 06:12 PM
-Christmas ornaments made in China sweatshop-report
Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:49pm EST
Related News

By Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Christmas tree ornaments sold at Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and other major retailers were made in a Chinese sweatshop employing workers as young as 12 and others who work more than 100 hours a week, a Democratic senator said on Wednesday.

"There is virtually no enforcement anywhere on these issues," Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said at a news conference to release a study about how Chinese sweatshops provide cheap goods for the U.S. market. "Our country needs to insist that our trading partners enforce their own labor laws and respect international labor standards."

The study was conducted by the National Labor Committee, a human rights organization based in New York, and highlighted conditions at the Guangzhou Huanya Gift company, a top ornament manufacturer in China that employs 8,000 workers. It found some employees were paid as little as 26 cents an hour, half the legal minimum wage in China, and that employees in the spray paint department handled potentially dangerous chemicals with little or no protection.

Attempts to reach Guangzhou Huanya for comment were not successful.

Wal-Mart said it launched an immediate investigation after receiving a copy of the report.

"Through our rigorous ethical standards program, Wal-Mart aggressively deals with any allegations of improper conditions at our suppliers' factories," a company spokesman said.

The spokesman did not have an immediate comment about another report about Wal-Mart released on Wednesday from the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency. The EIA released undercover video surveillance that claims Wal-Mart has been selling wood products made from illegally logged timber.

The report on Christmas ornaments was released as U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson visited China for two days of talks on food safety, China's relatively weak currency and other trade tensions.

Dorgan said the report highlighted a "serious trade problem," which has also been brought to the public's attention by the recalls of millions of Chinese-made toys in recent months.

Some of the most popular branded toys in the United States, including Thomas the Tank Engine, Curious George and SpongeBob SquarePants, have been pulled from shelves because they contain unsafe levels of lead and other hazards, such as small magnets.

Dorgan said consumers do not have enough information to make knowledgeable decisions about what products to buy and it is government's responsibility to police imported goods.

"We should not have on our shelves the products of sweatshop labor," he said.

Dorgan introduced legislation earlier this year to crack down on imports of such products. It would also give the U.S. Federal Trade Commission more authority and funding to investigate sweatshop conditions.

A similar bill is pending in the House of Representatives.

"Global trade is here, but there must be rules that protect consumers and there must be rules that protect workers," Dorgan added.

The report was posted on the Internet at dorgan.senate.gov/documents/newsroom/1212NLCReport.pdf. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; editing by John Wallace and Andre Grenon)

http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSN1264959020071212?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0

banyon
12-12-2007, 06:13 PM
Clearly these Corporations cannot find Americans willing to do these jobs.





...at least at these prices and in these conditions.

Taco John
12-12-2007, 06:14 PM
Have you stopped buying from China yet? Or are you continuing to purchase from China and just hoping that government will step in and dictate?

banyon
12-12-2007, 06:26 PM
Have you stopped buying from China yet? Or are you continuing to purchase from China and just hoping that government will step in and dictate?

It's pretty tough. I buy local as much as possible. I think I've been in the local WalMart maybe once in the last two years.

I would buy an American car, but thanks to Recxjake's dad, they are POS's, so I have a Toyota. It'd be a Prius if I had enough money saved up.

People used to clamor about buying American. Heck, it used to be Wal-Mart's motto. Now we have just abdicated to China.

Good luck finding any electronics or clothes these days though. Sad.

BucEyedPea
12-12-2007, 06:59 PM
Hmmmmm....this gives me a bright idea. I could design some cool ornaments, give them a raise ( like double to 52 cents) and sell in better stores like Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales at a 500% mark-up and become a millionaire.

Thanks banyon. :p

BucEyedPea
12-12-2007, 06:59 PM
Oh and get a free trip to see the Great Wall, and of course, write it off on my taxes.

listopencil
12-12-2007, 10:15 PM
It's pretty tough. I buy local as much as possible. I think I've been in the local WalMart maybe once in the last two years.

I would buy an American car, but thanks to Recxjake's dad, they are POS's, so I have a Toyota. It'd be a Prius if I had enough money saved up.

People used to clamor about buying American. Heck, it used to be Wal-Mart's motto. Now we have just abdicated to China.

Good luck finding any electronics or clothes these days though. Sad.

So...your answer is "no"? You still by products made in China?

banyon
12-12-2007, 10:19 PM
So...your answer is "no"? You still by products made in China?

Why?

Cochise
12-12-2007, 10:20 PM
I'm not sure how you could totally avoid buying anything from China.

If Walmart stopped buying from China and like situations everything there would probably go up in price by 25%

banyon
12-12-2007, 10:21 PM
I'm not sure how you could totally avoid buying anything from China.

If Walmart stopped buying from China and like situations everything there would probably go up in price by 25%

Median wages might go up too. They might be able to afford the increase if manufacturing jobs returned.

But I appreciate your point.

Brock
12-12-2007, 10:26 PM
We shouldn't be doing business with China, period. I know, repost.

Mr. Kotter
12-12-2007, 10:33 PM
So, what....we shouldn't be in Iraq, but we need to preach to China? :hmmm:

gmafb?! :rolleyes:

banyon
12-12-2007, 10:35 PM
So, what....we shouldn't be in Iraq, but we need to preach to China? :hmmm:

gmafb?! :rolleyes:

Who said anything about preaching to China?

These are American chartered corporations.

Mr. Kotter
12-12-2007, 10:37 PM
...These are American chartered corporations.

...in China. :shrug:

My point remains. :hmmm:

banyon
12-12-2007, 10:38 PM
...in China. :shrug:

My point remains. :hmmm:

No it doesn't. We don't have to say a word to China to remedy this.

Brock
12-12-2007, 10:40 PM
...in China. :shrug:

My point remains. :hmmm:

wtf

Mr. Kotter
12-12-2007, 10:44 PM
wtf

:spock:

Brock
12-12-2007, 10:44 PM
:spock:

Exactly.

Mr. Kotter
12-12-2007, 10:48 PM
Hmmmmm....this gives me a bright idea. I could design some cool ornaments, give them a raise ( like double to 52 cents) and sell in better stores like Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales at a 500% mark-up and become a millionaire.

Thanks banyon. :p

At least SOMEONE here, gets it....heh. :shrug:


ROFL

Mr. Kotter
12-13-2007, 07:38 AM
No it doesn't. We don't have to say a word to China to remedy this.

Okay, what do we do if the company decides to sub-contract to locals... :shrug:

banyon
12-13-2007, 07:52 AM
Okay, what do we do if the company decides to sub-contract to locals... :shrug:

This is about trade. It involves modifications of our existing treaties. It doesn't matter who they subcontract to, as anything would go through the importing process.

NewChief
12-13-2007, 08:10 AM
For those interested in living free of "Made in China" this book might be of interest:
http://www.amazon.com/Year-Without-Made-China-Adventure/dp/0470116137

StcChief
12-13-2007, 11:54 AM
or default on the debt they are holding and see what happens.

Chief Henry
12-13-2007, 01:54 PM
It's pretty tough. I buy local as much as possible. I think I've been in the local WalMart maybe once in the last two years.

I would buy an American car, but thanks to Recxjake's dad, they are POS's, so I have a Toyota. It'd be a Prius if I had enough money saved up.

People used to clamor about buying American. Heck, it used to be Wal-Mart's motto. Now we have just abdicated to China.

Good luck finding any electronics or clothes these days though. Sad.



We own two GM products, 2005 Silverado Pickup and a 2002
Suburban. Both run great and has given us NO prolems at all.

This morning i purchased a new (STIHL chainsaw, 180c) the place i purhcased it from said it was made in Virginia, i think. STIHL, the German company can not make them in Germany to compete in the USA market, plus the Germans won't work over time this is According to the place I purchased the Chainsaw from. THis guys specializes in out door yard equipment and he owns the business.

Needless to say I was suprised that the Chainsaw was made in the USA.

After the mother of all ice storms, I've got many hours of trimming and cutting and removing of tree limbs and branch's . Then I'll have to do
my sister inlaws place too.

Pitt Gorilla
12-13-2007, 02:11 PM
Good luck finding any electronics or clothes these days though. Sad.Our microwave was made in the USA. I thought that was cool.

Saulbadguy
12-13-2007, 02:24 PM
I don't really care where my shit is produced. I don't mind saving money, really.

Cochise
12-13-2007, 02:29 PM
or default on the debt they are holding and see what happens.

And see what? Nothing happen?

banyon
12-13-2007, 02:29 PM
I don't really care where my shit is produced. I don't mind saving money, really.

That's pretty much the attitude that is destroying the American middle class. Make choices as a consumer, but not as a citizen, and then wonder why all of the manufacturing jobs and high paying unskilled jobs are gone.

banyon
12-13-2007, 02:30 PM
And see what? Nothing happen?


Yeah, it's not like the Chinese have any inkling to start a fight. :(

Saulbadguy
12-13-2007, 02:33 PM
That's pretty much the attitude that is destroying the American middle class. Make choices as a consumer, but not as a citizen, and then wonder why all of the manufacturing jobs and high paying unskilled jobs are gone.
So, I should spend more money on products in attempt to save the jobs of people who are too dumb to get real jobs?

banyon
12-13-2007, 02:37 PM
So, I should spend more money on products in attempt to save the jobs of people who are too dumb to get real jobs?

That's one approach, but probably not the most effective.

Requiring the Chinese not to hire 12 year olds and work them 100 hours a week would be another way to approach the problem.

Saulbadguy
12-13-2007, 02:44 PM
That's one approach, but probably not the most effective.

Requiring the Chinese not to hire 12 year olds and work them 100 hours a week would be another way to approach the problem.
I guess I don't really see how that would solve the supposed problem. What is the real problem, anyways? Lack of manufacturing jobs in this country, or moral outrage over child labor in China?

Cochise
12-13-2007, 02:49 PM
That's pretty much the attitude that is destroying the American middle class. Make choices as a consumer, but not as a citizen, and then wonder why all of the manufacturing jobs and high paying unskilled jobs are gone.

We didn't make our workforce the most skilled and able in the world by digging in our heels and refusing to change and adapt to new and developing industry.

Why would we want to protect a poor growth, poor wage, poor work opportunity situation when we could have people seeking to adapt and become more skilled and do better for themselves than making minimum wage slathering lead-based paint on Christmas ornaments all day? Is that the American dream?

I don't want us to stay in the 1800s. I want us to stay on the cutting edge by everyone adapting and trying to be more marketable.

Saulbadguy
12-13-2007, 02:54 PM
We didn't make our workforce the most skilled and able in the world by digging in our heels and refusing to change and adapt to new and developing industry.

Why would we want to protect a poor growth, poor wage, poor work opportunity situation when we could have people seeking to adapt and become more skilled and do better for themselves than making minimum wage slathering lead-based paint on Christmas ornaments all day? Is that the American dream?

I don't want us to stay in the 1800s. I want us to stay on the cutting edge by everyone adapting and trying to be more marketable.
That's what i'm saying, why not try to be the most efficient at what you do, to maximize profits?

Cochise
12-13-2007, 03:02 PM
That's what i'm saying, why not try to be the most efficient at what you do, to maximize profits?

I don't really see the benefit of me paying twice as much for coathangers so they can be made in America, and assure some high school dropout a factory job when he otherwise might have tried bettering himself.

If the government is going to do things like subsidize higher education, we've already established a compelling national interest in building a modern and skilled work force. Why would we want to drag mature industry that belongs in a developing country here instead of using our labor force to be more productive? Do we want to sell Yugos or do we want to sell Cadillacs?

kcfanXIII
12-13-2007, 03:23 PM
tell you what, when americans can provide a quality product, at a competitive price, i'll buy american. i sell pool and spa chemicals,the money is not great and can not afford to worry about other americans losing their jobs, as i need to take care of myself. i'm sorry a 12 year old in china took some american's job. i'm sorry the first question i ask is "how does this effect me?" i'm sorry i refuse to pay higher prices for often inferior products. if i'm a terrible american so be it, but until somebody else has me as their primary concern, i'm the only one who cares if i survive(family excluded). so why care about anyone else? i have a number of relatives who work for ford at the assembly plant. they give me hella shit when i pull up in a honda. i tell them all the time, make a reliable car, at an affordable price that is fuel efficient, and i'll drive an american car.

my point is, as long as i'm not filthy rich, i will ALWAYS choose value over where shit is made.

Saulbadguy
12-13-2007, 04:58 PM
tell you what, when americans can provide a quality product, at a competitive price, i'll buy american. i sell pool and spa chemicals,the money is not great and can not afford to worry about other americans losing their jobs, as i need to take care of myself. i'm sorry a 12 year old in china took some american's job. i'm sorry the first question i ask is "how does this effect me?" i'm sorry i refuse to pay higher prices for often inferior products. if i'm a terrible american so be it, but until somebody else has me as their primary concern, i'm the only one who cares if i survive(family excluded). so why care about anyone else? i have a number of relatives who work for ford at the assembly plant. they give me hella shit when i pull up in a honda. i tell them all the time, make a reliable car, at an affordable price that is fuel efficient, and i'll drive an american car.

my point is, as long as i'm not filthy rich, i will ALWAYS choose value over where shit is made.
The only thing I sort of disagree with is the car thing. I think the American companies have made pretty good strides the past few years in their product, and they are generally less expensive than their Japanese counterparts.

Even then, the cars are usually assembled here in America so what is the big deal?

banyon
12-13-2007, 05:08 PM
We didn't make our workforce the most skilled and able in the world by digging in our heels and refusing to change and adapt to new and developing industry.

Why would we want to protect a poor growth, poor wage, poor work opportunity situation when we could have people seeking to adapt and become more skilled and do better for themselves than making minimum wage slathering lead-based paint on Christmas ornaments all day? Is that the American dream?

I don't want us to stay in the 1800s. I want us to stay on the cutting edge by everyone adapting and trying to be more marketable.

I don't want to stay stuck in first gear either. But it's not just the buggy whips that are going out of the doors these days. Remember how Americans used to answer your tech calls? These corporations aren't leaving (at least initially) just so they can remain profitable. Many of these corporations are making record profits prior (GM for example in the late 80s) before they jump ship to grab more cash.

A corporation is a publicly charted institution that we as a society have given certain benefits to (limited liability and a lower tax rate being front and center). They should still have some responsibility for their actions, but when they are abroad, they aren't held accountable (for environmental or labor abuses primarily).

Nightwish
12-13-2007, 06:30 PM
Have you stopped buying from China yet? Or are you continuing to purchase from China and just hoping that government will step in and dictate?Hell no, I don't buy anything from China! Everything I buy is made in Japan! :p

Seriously, though, I try not to shop at Wal Mart, unless I'm in a bind and they're the only store around. Mainly, I just don't like the often messy condition of the stores, the rude shoppers, and the ability of every "Associate" in the store to disappear when you need one. But the reports that I've heard over the years about strong-arm trade tactics, sweatshops, and so on, haven't made me more inclined to shop there, to say the least.

mcan
12-14-2007, 10:19 AM
There has been a MASSIVE outsourcing of migrant workers out of the rural areas of China and into the cities. These people (often little kids) work long hours for next to no pay and often in sweatshop like conditions.


BUT. When looking at the alternatives to working in these "sweatshops" it's not hard to see why these jobs are so popular with these laborers. Out in the country, the main job is growing and selling rice. They work extremely hard and all day long with no guarentee that they will find someobody to buy their product. And now that rice can be grown commercially, these rice farmers can not find a seller. So, even at .26 cents an hour, they are making DRASTICALLY more than they can expect, for significantly easier work, sitting down, in a building. The fact that 12 year olds have to work is an unfortunate fact of life over there for the poor. By ratting out the sweatshops and sending big bad brother over there to shut them down, they will have to move on to their only other options..

1. Sex trade.

Many of the young females (and some of the boys) will be put on a plane and sold into brothels. Once there, they will be told that they "owe" for their plane ticket, and it's just a matter of time before they start working. This doesn't just happen to few people. This happens every day, all over the world.

2. Construction.

Probably the only thing WORSE than the sex trade. The poor are given jobs in a pay as you go system. The workers don't have any rights. They are forced to climb scaffolds and fix machinery. The work isn't just dangeous, people DIE all the time. The deaths aren't reported because there is no record of them ever working. If they survive the day, they are often not paid at all, and have no legal recourse.

Cochise
12-14-2007, 10:32 AM
I don't want to stay stuck in first gear either. But it's not just the buggy whips that are going out of the doors these days. Remember how Americans used to answer your tech calls? These corporations aren't leaving (at least initially) just so they can remain profitable.

Sure they are. If all your industry competitors do it, they are saving money that you aren't, and it affects the price at which you can offer services to customers. Eventually it impacts profitability.

Your assertion seems to be that profitability is a constant. Your competitors directly impact your profitability when they make themselves more competitive at the price point.

Doing telephone customer service is unskilled labor just like any other variety of unskilled labor. The only difference between is that to paint Christmas ornaments you don't need to speak basic English. Telephone customer service jobs aren't any more important to us than ornament-painting.

banyon
12-14-2007, 10:39 AM
There has been a MASSIVE outsourcing of migrant workers out of the rural areas of China and into the cities. These people (often little kids) work long hours for next to no pay and often in sweatshop like conditions.


BUT. When looking at the alternatives to working in these "sweatshops" it's not hard to see why these jobs are so popular with these laborers. Out in the country, the main job is growing and selling rice. They work extremely hard and all day long with no guarentee that they will find someobody to buy their product. And now that rice can be grown commercially, these rice farmers can not find a seller. So, even at .26 cents an hour, they are making DRASTICALLY more than they can expect, for significantly easier work, sitting down, in a building. The fact that 12 year olds have to work is an unfortunate fact of life over there for the poor. By ratting out the sweatshops and sending big bad brother over there to shut them down, they will have to move on to their only other options.

You're right about their desparate choices, but one thing I don'tthink you are factoring in is that often they are being displaced from the crops and water that made their low $ lifestyles sustainable. When water and land are privatized and set up for corporate agribusiness, the people have very little choice.

BucEyedPea
12-14-2007, 10:47 AM
Telephone customer service jobs aren't any more important to us than ornament-painting.
I don't know about that. I hate when i have to deal with New Delhi for either customer service regarding a credit card, or some of my main software especially including tech support. I can't stand the accents for communication and I don't trust them with credit data. I prefer to deal with an American.

mcan
12-14-2007, 10:49 AM
You're right about their desparate choices, but one thing I don'tthink you are factoring in is that often they are being displaced from the crops and water that made their low $ lifestyles sustainable. When water and land are privatized and set up for corporate agribusiness, the people have very little choice.



I see the problem, and it sucks. But telling the big companies NOT to produce cheap rice isn't a good long term answer. Sure, it helps the self-sustaining farmer live a better life, but it also raises the cost of living for everybody else. In the meantime, "sweatshop" might be a dirty word, but industry is the answer for these people. Now if somebody would just tell that to 95% of Africa, we'd make some real headway into getting rid of poverty.

Brock
12-14-2007, 10:55 AM
I don't know about that. I hate when i have to deal with New Delhi for either customer service regarding a credit card, or some of my main software especially including tech support. I can't stand the accents for communication and I don't trust them with credit data. I prefer to deal with an American.

I thought you liked lassaiz-faire.

Saulbadguy
12-14-2007, 11:14 AM
I don't know about that. I hate when i have to deal with New Delhi for either customer service regarding a credit card, or some of my main software especially including tech support. I can't stand the accents for communication and I don't trust them with credit data. I prefer to deal with an American.
I can't stand the rude black woman on the other end of the line from Kentucky, either. "LET ME AXE YOU A QUESHION, WHY YOU FRONTIN ON ME BOUT YO AMEX?"

I can't remember the last time i've had to speak to a human to resolve any issues i've had. Easier to do it with an automated system, or via an online interface.

banyon
12-14-2007, 11:31 AM
I can't stand the rude black woman on the other end of the line from Kentucky, either. "LET ME AXE YOU A QUESHION, WHY YOU FRONTIN ON ME BOUT YO AMEX?"

I can't remember the last time i've had to speak to a human to resolve any issues i've had. Easier to do it with an automated system, or via an online interface.

If I have a serious problem, I write them. Those letters aren't answered by the same people who answer the phone. Plus there's a paper trail instead of them pretending they didn't talk to you last week.

Adept Havelock
12-14-2007, 11:37 AM
If I have a serious problem, I write them. Those letters aren't answered by the same people who answer the phone. Plus there's a paper trail instead of them pretending they didn't talk to you last week.


Yep. Registered mail is your friend in a case like that.

"We never got that".

"Well, I have a signature receipt from USPS that states you did."

"Please hold."

BucEyedPea
12-14-2007, 11:39 AM
I thought you liked lassaiz-faire.
I don't know about lassaiz-faire...but I do like laissez-faire.
But that's not a result of laissez-faire if you've paid attention to what I've posted on managed-trade by govt and bureaucracy, that has brought this about.
On a scale of 1-10 I support laissez-faire at about 7, without erosion to sovereignty or national barriers regarding trade.

BucEyedPea
12-14-2007, 11:54 AM
On the other hand Brock, Adobe products have kept customer service and tech support in the US. Their customer services runs circles around QuarkXPress which has lost a huge segment of their market. They're the one's providing CS out of India. I have considered switching due to this but don't want to learn a new program...and I refuse to deal with cc Co's that are run from India for security reasons. That would be laissez-faire at work too.

listopencil
12-15-2007, 09:14 PM
Why?

Yes or no?