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Alcoa Joint Venture with Chinese General

March, 01 2005 Share

July 2002/Updated March 2005

Bohai Aluminum Industries Ltd. 
No. 95 Bei Huan Road 
Qin Hung Dao 
Shan Dong, China

Established in 1996 with a $251 million investment, the Bohai factory is a joint venture between Alcoa/Reynolds and the family of Chinese military general Wang Zhen. As a result, the factory has very powerful political and government contacts, which may be one of the reasons the workers are so frightened to speak. For example, when a group of workers who had been standing and chatting out in front of their dorm saw a stranger approaching, they immediately cut short their discussion and fled. General Wang Zhen was one of the founders of the autocratic  regime which continues to hold power in China, and it is his son, Wang Jung who is the real boss at the factory. (On the official record, the joint venture is listed as being between CITIC and Reynolds, with the Rong family controlling CITIC. However it is common knowledge that the real owner is Wang Jung.)

  • 1,400 workers / Factory size: 656,000 square feet.
  • U.S. Customs documents record 66.3 tons of household aluminum foil shipped from Bohai factory in China to Alcoa on December 12, 2001. The address listed on the shipping document is that of Alcoa's Pittsburgh headquarters at 201 Isabella Street. (The factory produces household, pharmaceutical and cigarette foil, cable wrap and aluminum sheets and plates.) (Shipping record attached.)
  • U.S. Customs records show a shipment of household aluminum foil from the Bohai factory in China to Alcoa on September 4, 2004. The 97,840 kilograms of aluminum foil entered the U.S. with a landed customs value of $684,001. (Shipping records attached.)
  • The base wage is 14 to 20 cents an hour, however, with all bonuses and incentives included, the wage rates for the most senior employees range from 69 to 90 cents an hour.
 Base Wage at Bohai

* 14 to 20 cents an hour

* $1.12 to $1.60 a day  

* $5.77 to $8.08 a week

* $25 to $35 a month

* $300 to $420 a year

 

Wage for Senior Empoyees
(including all bonuses and incentives) 

* 69 to 90 cents an hour

* $5.52 to $7.20 a day

* $27.69 to $30.06 a week

* $120 to $160 a month

* $1,440 to $1,875 a year

  • Management sets a production goal each day, which the workers must meet. Overtime is rarely permitted--management does not want to pay the double time premium, so extra production is met by arbitrary speed-ups of the assembly line. Workers describe the shop floor atmosphere as "very tense," with a lot of pressure to get the work quota finished on time. The shift is eight hours a day, five days a week for a regular 40-hour workweek.
  • The factory is locked during working hours, so if anyone arrives even a few minutes late for work, they can be locked out the whole day, on top of receiving a fine of up to $10--or, the loss of well over a week's wage. If a worker is late three times, he can be fired.
  • Workers can also be fired for talking back to managers. One worker put it this way: "In our company, an employee must follow the managers' orders faithfully--otherwise there is the risk of being fired, and being fired for us means joblessness. There are no other jobs." Discussing the strict factory rules. Another worker explained: "We all know that these policies aren't rational. However, there is a Chinese saying, that if you want to have a job, 
    you better follow the boss's orders and comply with all the rules."
     Management requires the workers to memorize all factory rules, and they are periodically tested.
  •  Workers have no health insurance, but do receive a tiny health benefit subsidy of between $7 and $15 every three months for a total of $28 to $60 for the year. Any health care costs incurred above that limit must be paid by the worker.
  • There is no pension, but the company deducts $3.50 per month, or $42 a year from the workers' wages for deposit in a sort of 401K plan. No explanation had been provided the workers regarding the purpose of these deductions, only that it was "insurance."
  •  Four workers share one room in company dorms. There is one bathroom per floor. The workers are charged 30 cents each time they take a bath.
  •  Bohai has a yellow company union appointed by management:

 

 

Two workers dared to speak about this.

Worker A: "We do have a union. However, the leaders of the union are appointed by management, not selected by the employees. Still, we are required to pay membership fees. None of us think that the union is for us. Instead, they work for management. The bosses just use the union for public relations purposes. We employees have almost no interactions with the union leaders, and they never ask about our needs. They don't care about our concerns at all."

Worker B: "We workers all think the union is a dog loyal only to the bosses. It is a way for management to show off good relations with the workers. In reality, no worker cares about the union's agenda. No one even likes the union leaders."

  • The Alcoa Bohai Workers are Trapped: On one side, there is the powerful Wang family with all their military, government and political connections. On the other, there is the company yellow union appointed and controlled by management. No wonder the workers are afraid to speak.

Also, the workers are surrounded by poverty and unemployment.

One worker, pointing to a man and woman selling goods spread out on the ground, explained that both the man and his wife had lost their jobs at another factory and, "now to make a living they have no choice but to work long hours every day to make very little money. So we are the lucky ones to be employed with a sure salary." 
 
Though it may not appear so from the outside, the very real trap that the workers must live each day, in effect, turns the Bohai factory into nothing other than a well-run prison. These workers have no rights and no voice.

 


 

Import data based on U.S. Customs documents

 

Alcoa / China / Dec 2001

Notify Party: 

 

ALCOA INC ON BEHALF OF 

 

REYNOLDS METALS COMPANY 

 

201 ISABELLA STREET 

 

PITTSBURGH, PA 15212-5858 

 

Packaging Information: 

 

Weight: 60149 KG 

Measurements: 60 CM 

Quantity: 62 CAS 

TEU's: 3.00 

Shipment Detail: 

 

Carrier: NYKS - N Y K Line (NIPPON KISEN) 

Country of Origin: PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA 

 

US Port: 2704 LOS ANGELES 

Estimated Value: $223,391.00 

Arrival Date: 12/12/2001 

 

Qty

Units 

Commodity Description 

Harm Code 

JOC Code 

62 

 CS

ALUMINUM HH FOIL 

7607 

6440800 

 

 

 


 

 

Alcoa / China / Sept 2004

Shipper:

Consignee: 

BOHAI ALUMINUM IDNUSTRIES LTD

TO THE ORDER OF SHIPPER

NO.95 BEIHUA ROAD,HAIGANG DIST,QINH

 NO.95 BEIHUA ROAD,HAIGANG DIST,QINH

UANGDAO CHINA

UANGDAO CHINA

Notify Party: 

Packaging Information

ALCOA LTD. 

Weight: 58742 KG  

41 CITYVIEW DR.,ETOBICOKE ON CA 

Quantity:67 CAS 

 

TEU's: 3.11

Shipment Detail: 

 

Carrier: COSU - CHINA OCEAN SHIPPING

Country of Origin:PEOPLES REP OF CHINA

Voyage:417E

US Port:0005 VANCOUVER BC

Estimated Value: $410,666.00 

Arrival Date: 09/04/2004 

Qty 

Units 

Commodity Description   

Harm Code 

JOC Code  

67 

CS  

ALUMINUM HH FOIL  

7607 

6440800