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Starting tomorrow I am going to see how many days I can go without buying any products “Made in China”.  I have been reading all this stuff recently having to do with factories’ labor conditions in China, so I am motivated to do something.

You know I always rant to all my friends or anyone in earshot that they should not support Apple anything with all these Foxconn (a Taiwanese electronics firm that produces the iPhone) suicides (10 workers killed themselves at a factory in Shenzhen, China. An eleventh worker recently died at another factory in northern China. In total, there have been 13 suicides and suicide attempts at Foxconn factories this year). That the suicides have to be linked to working conditions and look I was right. I never have liked iPhones… Macs…iPads…iPods… it’s all junk…marketing for susceptible masses willing to overpay for the product they are purchasing. With cutting all these corners in production costs well you know, Steve Jobs is a billionaire…enough said.

I was also reading about the  KYE Factory in China that manufactures Microsoft products. In particular, some interesting discoveries on The National Labor Committee’s web site on how they treat their workers

Workers pay out of their pocket for meals using a meal card.  Workers who purchase a meal card for 30 days pay 208 RMB, $30.43, and for 31 days, 216 RMB, or $31.60.  Though the food costs seem small enough, it lowers the workers’ take home wage in 2010 from 65 cents an hour, to just 52 cents.

Workers who purchase the monthly food plan are rewarded with two free “treats” each month, usually a piece of fruit or a chicken leg.

Cafeteria management prohibits workers from throwing food out.

[source]

For the approximately 300 people on each floor, there are two public restrooms on either end of the floor, each with ten bathroom stalls; ten sinks with cold water; five cold water spigots where workers can wash their clothes by hand; and three hot water spigots where workers fetch hot water in a small plastic bucket to take a sponge bath.  Workers wanting to charge their cell phones have to go to the “electrical charging room” on the first floor of building “F” during the regulated hours.

Dorm lights are automatically shut off at 11 p.m.

In the giant KYE Systems Corp. compound, housing KYE, XYE, JYE, CYE factories, there are six dormitories-two for management and four for workers.

Single workers are not permitted to live in housing outside the factory compound.  Even married couples can only opt out of the dorms after six months, and even then they must provide their marriage certificate and their landlord’s ID card and fill out an application. [Source]

Workers are prohibited from talking, listening to music or using the bathroom during working hours.  Workers who do not follow the instructions of the foreman will be fined 40 RMB ($7.02), which amounts to the loss of 11 hours’ pay.  Workers are strictly prohibited from staying outside the factory compound overnight.  Workers who do not return to the factory are fined 200 RMB ($29.26) -more than a worker’s regular weekly pay, and immediately fired.  I mean there is tons of stuff. If you want to read the whole article click here.

Crazy thing, this is one of the better factories to work at in China if that give you an idea of the bigger issue. I don’t want to support that. Plus they make so much stuff that is unnecessary for the world and harms people and their environment.  I could go on…you know I could, but I won’t.

What I will do is personally take responsibility for me and not consume products made in China. I will make educated purchases and hold myself accountable.

I wonder if this is really going to suck or be much easier than I think it’s going to be. I hope the latter. :D I should shut up as it will be easier than working in the factories in China.

That’s right I said it.

-Cara

Going Home

I am not going repeat what I already wrote here. A quick synopsis, starting August 1st, 2010 I will publish a picture I take that day everyday for a year (well to be exact I will do this everyday until July 31st, 2011). This is the 13th of those photographs. Also, there is a Flickr collection called “The Awesome Leftovers” where I put the daily shots that didn’t make the cut.

First off, 13 is my favorite number. I was super worried I wouldn’t have a shot worthy of said number 13, but it turned out fine. I really like this shot. It is around 6:30 or so on the 4 or 5 express train (I didn’t notice) going uptown on my way home from work on a hot Friday night. People always seem so tired at the end of their work day on the train…but it’s Friday!

Here are the rest of the shots that almost made the cut, Day 13 – All Aboard.

Smile.

-Cara

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