I Was a Chinese Laborer
By David Henderson
FLA [Fair Labor Association] found that during some periods over the past 12 months, workers at all three facilities worked an average of more than 60 hours per week, exceeding the FLA code and Apple’s own standard. The audits found there were several months in the past year in which the majority of workers exceeded China’s legal maximum of 36 overtime hours a month.
This is from Jessica E. Vascellaro, “Audit Faults Apple Supplier,” Wall Street Journal, March 30.
In the next paragraph, she writes:
The association said Foxconn agreed to bring its factories within China’s legal limits of 40 hours of work per week and 36 hours maximum overtime per month by July 2013. That would require more than halving the average hours of overtime, which the report pegged at 80 hours a month. FLA said Foxconn would need to recruit tens of thousands of extra workers to comply.
When I worked in a nickel mine in 1969, I worked 6 days a week. Some weeks we worked 8 hours a day, giving us 8 hours of overtime in week. Some weeks we worked 10 hours a day, giving us 20 hours of overtime in a week. In any given month I worked at least 40 and probably more like 60 hours of overtime. I wanted to. I needed the money to pay for my last year of college. I bet many of those Chinese laborers want to also. So whenever you see such articles and you think that sympathizing with the workers means favoring preventing them from working more hours, think about it. They are there voluntarily. They wouldn’t be working there if they weren’t. Yes, some of them might prefer to work a few fewer overtime hours and don’t get the option. I would bet that over 80% of them want all the overtime hours they get.
UPDATE: I had thought that philosopher Stephen Hicks was a fellow Canadian. It turns out that he was a fellow Chinese laborer.