Big Trouble in Little China

Our Christmas gift exchange, which gets harder to do every year, seems to be resolving itself: new iPhones for the both of us. Donna will probably get her new SE before we leave to spend the holiday with our son and his family in Las Vegas, but I’ll have to wait until sometime in January. That’s because I’m getting a 14 Pro, and the workers at the Foxconn factory in China who make them either walked out over wages and working conditions or have been locked out under zero-Covid measures. Maybe both at once.

It’s an increasingly interconnected world. I can be patient. Just trying to order new phones, let alone get them, has been a test. Mid-process, we got caught up in the surprise bankruptcy and shutdown of Wireless Advocates, the business that ran the mobile phone kiosks at Costco, and now have to get our phones somewhere else (which we’re doing). That’s a pain, but nothing compared to the pain the hundreds of women and men who worked at those kiosks are feeling, hung out to dry with no notice or severance two weeks before Christmas. Man.

I hear people saying they won’t buy Apple products over sweatshop labor conditions in Asia. Clearly it’s bad in many Asian countries, but I suspect the Foxconn jobs in China are far better than most jobs available to workers there. And I bet the average European factory worker, who can’t be fired on a whim, who enjoys a living wage, good benefits, and generous vacation time, looks at what we put up with at work here in the United States and thinks “sweatshop,” just as we do when we look at Asia. Why every single American worker isn’t fighting to unionize I’ll never understand.

One thought on “Big Trouble in Little China

  • Amen brother, I retired at 59 twelve years back because of the union power of SEIU. I worked 20 years in cubicles for the State of California so I earned my $2k per month, with COLA. That and about $1200 from SSA means I can afford my cheap rent (slumlord is my old college pal), frugal hermit lifestyle (no covid!), and organic food. My Kaiser HMO is included and pretty good, fair copay. I was the union delegate at the Los Angeles SEIU conference in my retirement year, 2010. Interesting to see democracy in action. But unions only have the power the government grants them, and since FDR fostered them, they have been throttled and frustrated by worker hostile policies. But you are right, Biden is surprisingly pro union so everyone should organize. But we largely won’t, because we are not poor wage slaves, we are temporarily embarrassed potential millionaires. As soon as our crypto tulip beefsteak mines come in.
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