June, 29 2010 |  Download PDF |  Share

U.S.-Owned High Tech Jabil Factory in China Runs Like Minimum Security Prison Producing for Whirlpool, GE, HP



A Social Hurricane is Forming in China

By a respected Chinese worker rights activist and scholar,

who must remain anonymous

On the surface, companies like Jabil look clean and high tech.  It seems well-run.  But people looking in from the outside do not realize that the workers at Jabil are not treated like human beings.  The workers must obey all demands from the factory and have absolutely no right to express disagreement.  The workers are seen as components of a machine.  During the entirety of their 12-hour shift, they are stripped of their humanity.  They are not allowed to have their own personalities, feelings, desires or needs-even using the bathroom.  For every second of every minute, they are controlled and ruled over by a prison-like management system.

In general, living conditions for the Chinese people have not fundamentally improved.  Statistics published by scholars and even by the government show that unfairness and inequality in Chinese society is getting worse.  The relationship between management and labor is becoming more and more unbalanced.  Conflicts between workers and management are becoming more frequent and more intense.

This means that if the current model of production in China does not significantly change, the workers will not be able to take it any longer, and social stability will take a major blow.  We have reached the point where China's old policies must change.   China must allow workers to form independent unions and must begin to respect international human and worker rights standards, including the international labor conventions.  Oppressing workers who are fighting for their rights is not only making the antagonistic relationships between workers and corporations much worse, it is also setting the workers up in an antagonistic relationship with the government.  I feel that a social hurricane is forming in China.


Executive Summary

Another Hi-Tech Sweatshop in China:
U.S.- owned Jabil Circuit Factory runs like a Minimum Security Prison

Producing for Whirlpool, GE, HP, Nokia and others 


  • Six thousand workers, operating around the clock, with two 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.  Workers are at the factory 84 hours a week.
  • Workers are prohibited from sitting down and must stand for their entire 12-hour shift.  Their necks, shoulders, arms and legs become stiff and sore, and their feet swell.
  • Workers are allowed to use the bathroom just once in the regular eight-hour shift.  As there are just three "toilet passes" per line, women say they have to wait over an hour to relieve themselves.
  • Workers paid a base wage of 76 cents an hour through April, when they received a 17 cent increase to 93 cents an hour.  No one can survive on the base wage and all are forced to work overtime.
  • Security guards and managers patrol the shop floor as if they are police overseeing their prisoners.  Workers who make a mistake are forced to write a "letter of repentance" begging forgiveness-which they must read aloud in front of all their co-workers.  Offending workers can also be made to stay after work, unpaid, to clean toilets.
  • Six workers share each crowded dorm room, sleeping on double-level bunk beds.  Seventy-five percent of the workers say the factory food is "awful."
  • Jabil has 18 factories across China, which is more than they have in the U.S.
  • What happened to all the promises U.S. companies made-that if they could set up operations in China, by their very example they would lift standards and increase respect for human, women's and worker rights?  Instead, U.S. companies have bought into the China factory model of exploitation, low wages, grueling hours and no rights.

  • There are signs that China's workers have had enough, and more are beginning to fight back.


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