One reads that God, hearing the grumblings of the ancient Israelite community, once fed that people:
11 The LORD said to Moses:
12 I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread, and then you will know that I, the LORD, am your God.
13 In the evening, quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning there was a layer of dew all about the camp,
14 and when the layer of dew evaporated, fine flakes were on the surface of the wilderness, fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
15 On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”* for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.
How odd it is, now, that state political operatives and connected business executives (many of whom profess themselves devout) should speak about Foxconn nearly as though it were a contemporary equivalent to a divine offering of manna and quail for ancient Israel.
Nowhere in Exodus is there a suggestion that Israel had to pay billions for the gift of manna and quail, nor is there a suggestion that the bread was stale and the meat was rancid. The account describes the giving of true and needed gifts, not supposed or unwelcome ones.
By contrast, Wisconsinites not only have to pay well over four billion for Foxconn, but they’re paying for a company that treats many of its workers shabbily. Jamie Condliffe reports that Foxconn Is Under Scrutiny for Worker Conditions. It’s Not the First Time:
Foxconn’s employment practices are drawing scrutiny again.
A new report by China Labor Watch, a New York-based labor advocacy group, and the British newspaper The Observer claimed that a Foxconn factory in Hengyang, China, had violated employment laws. The factory produces Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and Kindle devices.
More from The Observer’s report:
“Agency staff — known as dispatch workers in China — do not get sick pay or holiday pay and can be laid off without wages during lulls in production. China changed its labor laws in 2014 to limit their use to 10 percent of any work force in an attempt to stop companies exploiting them to cut costs. The China Labor Watch investigation — published on Sunday in association with the Observer — found that more than 40 percent of the staff in the Foxconn factory were agency workers. Those working overtime were being paid at the normal hourly rate instead of the time-and-a-half required by Chinese law and by Amazon’s own supplier code of conduct.”
Here’s a rundown of some of the issues that have reportedly plagued Foxconn’s factories:
Suicides. The company was hit by a wave of worker suicides in 2010. Other incidents have occurred since.
Wage and hours exploitation. In 2012, Foxconn was accused of underpaying wages and having its employees work excessive hours. In response, the company pledged to curtail the length of shifts and raise wages.
Serious accidents. One Foxconn worker was left brain damaged after an electric shock in 2011. An explosion in one factory killed four people and injured another 18 in the same year.
That’s quite the workplace culture Foxconn has there.
When Whitewater’s local 501(c)(6) business league invited a connected political operative to tout Foxconn, there’s no report that, despite his many risible exaggerations of that company’s supposed benefits, the operative made any mention of Foxconn’s mistreatment of workers.
Foxconn won’t bring a greater Whitewater, but it has already brought, to many worldwide, lesser working conditions.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, and The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, and Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, and Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious.
This kills a few birds with one stone.
Politicians do talk down to people today and act as if what they propose is a gift or (I guess the point) a miracle. Wisconsin & Whitewater still have a problem with politicians selling soap. When they sell it to you, they act like you have never seen soap and don’t know what it’s for. You’re just supposed to take their word for any benefits.