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Labor Rights & Occupational Health in the Electronics Industry<br />A closer look at the dangers and risks of the global o...
Overview<br />Introduction to Labor Rights and Occupational Health<br />Definition <br />Importance<br />Labor Justice in ...
True or False?<br />___ 30% of ICT products are produced in the  United States<br />___ The most common workplace injury i...
What are Labor Rights?<br />Labor rights are legal rights that pertain to the labor relationship between workers and emplo...
Labor Rights Continued<br />The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights delineates that everyone, without discriminatio...
Occupational Health <br />Cross-disciplinary field concerned with the health, welfare and safety of working people.<br />T...
Why Should We Be Concerned? <br /><ul><li>Labor rights are basic human rights.
People of color, immigrants and women most often work in the lowest-paying and dangerous jobs around the world.
An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world.
In the US alone,  5,657 workers were killed by traumatic injuries and more than 60,000 died from occupational diseases in ...
Worldwide,  toxic substances kill about 438,000 workers annually, and 10% of all skin cancers may be attributed to work-re...
Most of the everyday products we buy, wear, use and eat are produced with labor from the developing world. </li></li></ul>...
The Truth Behind Electronics<br />As one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, the electronics industry must meet...
The Global Supply Chain Process<br />
Responsible Factors for Outsourcing and Worker Exploitation  <br /><ul><li>Falling prices
Quick turnover
Advances in technology
Lack of organized trading unions
Accessibility of outsourcing
Competitive job market
Limited employment opportunities
Overpopulation
Poverty
Poor education</li></ul>Industry<br />Worker <br />
The Result<br /><ul><li>Wages below the legal minimum
Compulsory overtime with no pay
Child labor
Inhumane working conditions
Gender, age, racial, physical discrimination
Non-union policies
Forced short-term contracting</li></li></ul><li>Case Studies: Mexico <br /><ul><li>Job stability
Sexual harassment
Discrimination
Toxic exposure
Work-related accidents
Freedom of association</li></ul>“In this area we have passes to go to the bathroom, two passes for 70 workers. This become...
Case Studies: China <br /><ul><li>Excessive Overtime
Low Wages
Psychological and Physical Stress
Poor Dormitories
Non-Union Policies </li></li></ul><li>Dormitory conditions are oftentimes cramped and dirty, and residents only have a sma...
Migrant workers at a job fair in Hangzhou, China<br />Military-like organization at a Chinese factory<br />
Toxic Technology:  The Cost to Human Health<br />
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Worker Health & Safety

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The electronics industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economic environment, but it is also one of the least researched businesses in regards to labor practices and worker conditions. The ubiquity of uninterrupted purchasing, using, and discarding of digital technology has inevitably increased demand for electronics manufacturing, which in turn fuels the need for cheaper, faster, and more efficient labor output. Consequently, many of these industries circumvent and violate national labor laws, mainly by outsourcing to developing countries, to maximize and maintain a high rate of production and distribution. In addition, many of these factories are incredibly “dirty” facilities, where workers are often unknowingly exposed to toxic chemicals that are used to make the electronic parts. The following presentation attempts to elucidate many secrets of the international electronics sector, focusing on the violation of human rights and the potential risk posed to human health and safety due to unethical labor practices.

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Worker Health & Safety

  1. 1. Labor Rights & Occupational Health in the Electronics Industry<br />A closer look at the dangers and risks of the global occupational environment <br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />Introduction to Labor Rights and Occupational Health<br />Definition <br />Importance<br />Labor Justice in the Electronics Field<br />Global Supply Chain<br />Case Studies <br />Worker Health and Injury <br />Statistics<br />Psychological Stress<br />Chemical Exposure<br />Recent News<br />What You Can Do <br />
  3. 3. True or False?<br />___ 30% of ICT products are produced in the United States<br />___ The most common workplace injury is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.<br />___ The average Chinese electronics worker’s wage is $.60 per hour.<br />___ Overtime hours are especially desired because these wages are very high.<br />
  4. 4. What are Labor Rights?<br />Labor rights are legal rights that pertain to the labor relationship between workers and employers. <br />Labor rights aim to improve and establish suitable and fair work conditions, wages, benefits, for all workers .<br />The International Labor Organization (ILO), founded in 1919, is a sector of the United Nations that seeks to establish international legal rights for all workers throughout the world. <br />
  5. 5. Labor Rights Continued<br />The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights delineates that everyone, without discrimination, has the right to work, free choice of employment, equal pay for equal work and just and favorable conditions at work. <br />Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions and the right to rest and leisure. <br />
  6. 6. Occupational Health <br />Cross-disciplinary field concerned with the health, welfare and safety of working people.<br />The goal of occupational health programs is to:<br />encourage and maintain the highest level of social, physical, and mental well-being of people in their working environments<br />to protect and prevent workers from employment-related risks that adversely affect health<br />to place workers in an occupational environment that is suitable and adapted for their physiological and psychological capabilities. <br />
  7. 7. Why Should We Be Concerned? <br /><ul><li>Labor rights are basic human rights.
  8. 8. People of color, immigrants and women most often work in the lowest-paying and dangerous jobs around the world.
  9. 9. An estimated 211 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working around the world.
  10. 10. In the US alone, 5,657 workers were killed by traumatic injuries and more than 60,000 died from occupational diseases in 2007.</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>Approximately 4% of the world’s GDP is lost to the cost of medical treatment, work absence and survivor benefits that result from work-related injuries and death.
  11. 11. Worldwide, toxic substances kill about 438,000 workers annually, and 10% of all skin cancers may be attributed to work-related exposures with hazardous chemicals.
  12. 12. Most of the everyday products we buy, wear, use and eat are produced with labor from the developing world. </li></li></ul><li>Labor Justice and the Global Electronics Industry<br />
  13. 13. The Truth Behind Electronics<br />As one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, the electronics industry must meet high consumer demand while simultaneously maximize profits through low-cost manufacturing. <br />“When you are due for holidays, they never giveyou the days you are entitled …The agency always gives you only 4 days per year, no matter how long you have<br />been working there”.<br />Solectron Worker<br />“…Iassemble five computer cards per minute. More than 3,000 cards in my 11-hour daily shift. But I have never used a computer myself, I don’t know how to; what’s more, I don’t even know what the computers I make look like when finished”.<br />Mexican worker<br />
  14. 14. The Global Supply Chain Process<br />
  15. 15.
  16. 16. Responsible Factors for Outsourcing and Worker Exploitation <br /><ul><li>Falling prices
  17. 17. Quick turnover
  18. 18. Advances in technology
  19. 19. Lack of organized trading unions
  20. 20. Accessibility of outsourcing
  21. 21. Competitive job market
  22. 22. Limited employment opportunities
  23. 23. Overpopulation
  24. 24. Poverty
  25. 25. Poor education</li></ul>Industry<br />Worker <br />
  26. 26. The Result<br /><ul><li>Wages below the legal minimum
  27. 27. Compulsory overtime with no pay
  28. 28. Child labor
  29. 29. Inhumane working conditions
  30. 30. Gender, age, racial, physical discrimination
  31. 31. Non-union policies
  32. 32. Forced short-term contracting</li></li></ul><li>Case Studies: Mexico <br /><ul><li>Job stability
  33. 33. Sexual harassment
  34. 34. Discrimination
  35. 35. Toxic exposure
  36. 36. Work-related accidents
  37. 37. Freedom of association</li></ul>“In this area we have passes to go to the bathroom, two passes for 70 workers. This becomes problematic because when you have to go to the bathroom, you have to wait until one of the passes is free. Otherwise, we can’t go to the bathroom.”<br />On another occasion, someone knocked me down and my crutches broke, I went to the infirmary and the security guard told me: “I think you did this yourself to avoid working”, but, as on other occasions, minutes later I was at my place working again.<br />
  38. 38. Case Studies: China <br /><ul><li>Excessive Overtime
  39. 39. Low Wages
  40. 40. Psychological and Physical Stress
  41. 41. Poor Dormitories
  42. 42. Non-Union Policies </li></li></ul><li>Dormitory conditions are oftentimes cramped and dirty, and residents only have a small locker with which to store a few personal items.<br />Large manufacturesrs like Foxconn may house up to 400,000 workers on a daily basis. The company also constructs restaurants, <br />recreational buildings, post offices, and shops to sustain the employees’ living needs. <br />
  43. 43. Migrant workers at a job fair in Hangzhou, China<br />Military-like organization at a Chinese factory<br />
  44. 44. Toxic Technology: The Cost to Human Health<br />
  45. 45. Work Injuries and Illnesses amongst Semiconductor Workers <br />
  46. 46. …the highest income I have ever got is a little more than<br />500 renminbi ($60).That was earned after having worked more than 100 OT<br />[overtime] hours. … How can that money be enough for us?<br />-Chinese worker, 20 years old<br />
  47. 47. “Our two hands keep on<br />working every minute.<br />Our brains keep on<br />working as well. Your<br />hands have to move as<br />quickly as your brain. If<br />you lose concentration for<br />one second, you will make<br />a faulty product. Points<br />will be deducted and for<br />sure the production bonus<br />will shrink at the end of<br />the month.”<br />-Male worker in computer<br />assembly plant<br />
  48. 48. Psychological Stress<br />Foxconn’s “Cherish Your Life” pledge prohibits workers from committing suicide. <br />
  49. 49. Secrecy, propaganda and the truth behind hazardous substance exposure in the electronics sector <br />Toxic Chemical Exposure <br />
  50. 50. Routes of Entry & Health Effects<br /><ul><li>inhalationthrough the lungs
  51. 51. absorption through the skin
  52. 52. ingestion through the mouth</li></ul>Toxic chemicals have various routes into the body, and upon entry, they can cause a multitude of acute or chronic effects which may not show up until many years after initial exposure. They may act as respiratory irritants, allergens, carcinogens, mutagens, and more. <br />
  53. 53.
  54. 54. Common Chemical Exposures <br /><ul><li>Brominated flame retardants
  55. 55. Mercury, lead, and other toxic metals
  56. 56. Perflorinated compounds
  57. 57. Acids (i.e., hydrochloric acid)
  58. 58. Ionizing radiation
  59. 59. Volatile organic compounds (solvents, cleaners) </li></li></ul><li>The Semiconductor Industry <br />Spontaneous Abortions (per 100 women)<br /><ul><li>31.3 for photolithographic workers
  60. 60. 38.9 for diffusion workers
  61. 61. 17.8 for unexposed women
  62. 62. Arsenic
  63. 63. Asbestos
  64. 64. Beryllium
  65. 65. Chromium
  66. 66. Carbon tetrachloride
  67. 67. Glycol ethers
  68. 68. Benzene
  69. 69. Choloroform
  70. 70. Formaldehyde
  71. 71. And more….</li></li></ul><li>Example: Glycol Ether <br /><ul><li>Used as solvents in the photoresist step of the chip-etching process
  72. 72. Overexposure causes anemia, irritation to eyes, nose and skin
  73. 73. Pregnancy loss, subfertility and birth defects
  74. 74. Associated with decrease in sperm count and testicular size
  75. 75. No regulation in U.S.
  76. 76. Continued use in developing countries </li></li></ul><li>Recent News<br /><ul><li>Wintek and n-Hexane Poisoning
  77. 77. Spate of Cancer Outbreaks amongst South Korean Samsung Workers
  78. 78. Foxconn and Worker Suicides </li></li></ul><li>
  79. 79. What’s Happening Now<br /><ul><li>ANSI Z10
  80. 80. Not actively implemented or encouraged by OSHA
  81. 81. OHSAS 18000
  82. 82. SA 8000
  83. 83. EICC Code of Conduct
  84. 84. Open membership
  85. 85. Does not guarantee compliance
  86. 86. “….Samsung Electronics supports EICC Code of Conduct and seeks to conform to the Code and its implementation methods across the company and its suppliers”</li></li></ul><li>What You Can Do<br /><ul><li>Fair-Trade Certified Non-Electronic Products
  87. 87. Do your research! Be knowledgeable about where your electronics are made </li></li></ul><li>Ranking Criteria: <br /><ul><li>Chemical Toxins
  88. 88. E-Waste
  89. 89. Energy </li></ul>Labor practices and worker health and safety are NOT considered in this ranking. <br />
  90. 90. Helpful Organizations <br /><ul><li>CEREAL(Mexico; Center for Reflection and Action on Labor Rights)
  91. 91. SHARPS(South Korea; Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry)
  92. 92. China Labor Watch (China)
  93. 93. IRLF(International; International Labor Rights Forum)
  94. 94. SACOM(International; Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior) </li></li></ul><li>Reach Out<br /><ul><li>Sign a petition to hold Samsung accountable for the deaths of leukemia victims working in South Korea: http://www.petitiononline.com/s4m5ung/petition.html
  95. 95. Send a message to Apple to take a stand against Foxconn’sworker abuse: http://makeitfair.org/take-action/flashgame/take-action/message-to-apple
  96. 96. Join and follow the MakeITFair Campaign: http://makeitfair.org/</li></li></ul><li>True or FalseRevisited<br /><ul><li>30% of ITC products are produced in the United States. False
  97. 97. The most common workplace injury is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. False
  98. 98. The average Chinese electronics worker’s wage is $.60 per hour. True
  99. 99. Overtime hours are especially desired because these wages are very high. False</li></li></ul><li>References<br />Books: <br />Smith, Ted, David Allan. Sonnenfeld, and David N. Pellow. Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2006. Print.<br />Grossman, Elizabeth. High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health. Washington: Island, 2006. Print.<br />
  100. 100. Websites: <br /><ul><li>http://makeitfair.org/
  101. 101. http://www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/upload/wmdfsheet_2009.pdf
  102. 102. http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/jobsafetyandhealth-factsheet.pdf
  103. 103. http://www.ilocarib.org.tt/portal/images/stories/contenido/pdf/Fact%20Sheets/Fact%20Sheet%20OSH.pdf
  104. 104. http://www.cafod.org.uk/content/download/8506/84449/version/4/file/Cereal+report.pdf</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>http://www.ewhn.eu/attachments/article/150/asian_electronic.pdf
  105. 105. http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/pro/proshow-136.html
  106. 106. http://www.ilo.org/safework_bookshelf/english?content&nd=857171014
  107. 107. http://www.ilo.org/safework_bookshelf/english?content&nd=857171014
  108. 108. http://actrav.itcilo.org/actrav-english/telearn/osh/kemi/ciwmain.htm
  109. 109. http://www.familypracticenews.com/index.php?id=2934&type=98&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=43554&cHash=da03e20e36</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>http://actrav.itcilo.org/actrav-english/telearn/osh/kemi/ciwmain.htm
  110. 110. http://www.neoseeker.com/news/13976-foxconn-orders-massive-nets-to-catch-jumping-factory-workers/
  111. 111. http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2011/05/reducing_occupational_chemical.php
  112. 112. http://www.semiconductorlitigation.com/practiceareas/semiconductor.aspx
  113. 113. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90778/90860/7295214.html</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90778/90860/7295214.html
  114. 114. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703408604576163663992661764.html
  115. 115. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/technology/23apple.html?_r=1
  116. 116. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/china-and-its-neighbors/100312/apple-news-iPhone-asia-illness
  117. 117. http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4217202/Samsung-leukemia-deaths
  118. 118. http://stopsamsung.wordpress.com/</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/484347.html
  119. 119. http://goodelectronics.org/news-en/samsung-to-take-responsibility-for-lethal-hazards-of-semiconductor-manufacturing/?searchterm=samsung
  120. 120. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3YFGixp9Jw&feature=player_embedded
  121. 121. http://goodelectronics.org/news-en/the-truth-of-the-apple-ipad-behind-foxconn2019s-lies/
  122. 122. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/business/global/07suicide.html
  123. 123. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/20/foxconn-explosion-china_n_864738.html</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/08/foxconn-rallies-workers-installs-suicide-nets/
  124. 124. http://www.chinasmack.com/2010/pictures/foxconn-rallies-employees-pledge-to-cherish-their-lives.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+chinaSMACK+%28chinaSMACK%29
  125. 125. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/electronics/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics/</li>

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