Protect Foreign Workers by bringing American Corporations back home

“These Jobs Aren’t Coming Home”

Last year President Obama met with Steve Jobs and other major leaders in the Tech world and asked what it would take to bring their factories home and hire American workers.   Steve Jobs answer was clear:  “these jobs aren’t coming home.” [NY Times 1/22/2012]

“…The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products…” Continue reading

Bill 168: Workplace threats lead to dismissal for just cause

Ontario’s new workplace violence legislation applied to city employee’s threats against co-worker

by Norm Keith (reprinted with permission)

The first important decision arising from the Bill 168 amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) has determined verbal threats of workplace violence constitute violence under the new law, which came into force on June 15, 2010. Continue reading

Documentary Features Foxconn Factory Workers

Shortly after Steve Jobs’ death hit the news, I caught an early morning round table discussion with Mike Daisey.  He is funny!  But, as he talked about his latest one-man show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, I was really hooked by his delight in shocking those members of his audience from Apple who outsource their product to factories in China.

“[The Agony And The Ecstasy] follows the standard line: Jobs was a combination of awesome visionary and ruthless businessman. He doesn’t tell us anything that we haven’t gleaned from Jobs’s obituaries, but that isn’t the point. The point is to ask us why we are not more troubled by the fact that our indispensable gadgets are assembled in part by children.”  [The Financial Times review]

Surprisingly, I couldn’t google up a video of Daisey’s monologue – except one in which 87 members of a Christian advocacy group staged a walk out.  But, I did find a Vimeo clip from Dream Work China, a documentary made by three Italian journalists who opened a photo shop across from the Shenzhen Foxconn factory [see video below]. They captured interviews with factory workers that represent the dreams of the millions of young Chinese migrant workers who leave their homes and families and travel long distances to work in factories – like Foxconn just across the street. Probably most disturbing are the scenes of dormitories with packed balconies overlooking the nets hung below as a painful memory of the suicides.

About a year before his death, the Daily Mail quoted Jobs as defending the conditions at Foxconn:

‘You go in this place and it’s a factory but, my gosh, they’ve got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it’s pretty nice,’ he said.

Jobs has been extremely outspoken about the need for his employees to be passionate about the products they create.  To bad this desire to inspire others and the understanding of the need for a creative and meaningful life didn’t trickle down. Then again, this is the same man who, according to his official biography hitting the bookstores Monday,  personally complained to President Obama that regulations on business are too tough to build factories here.  And, was frustrated that Obama was so focused on trying to understand why things happen.

“In the suburbs of Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, young workers talk about their lives, existences built on a precarious balance between hope, struggles and wishes for the future. Around them activists and NGOs strive to give sense and meaning to words like rights, dignity and equity.”

Visit the Dream Work China for more information

Here’s an hour long interview with Mike Daisey from CSpan

Divas in the Workplace

Managmement Today [UK] gives advice on how to deal with BIG EGOS:

If you are their boss

This is your key responsibility – so don’t shirk it, even if they are your star performer. It is rare in business today that one person can do everything; you need the whole team to succeed. Tackle them directly, and in private. The key message is ‘You are great, and you could be even better’.  Focus on the fact that this type of behaviour is hindering their promotion prospects.

If you are their colleague

Remember to have the right mindset – you are not trying to put them down, you are trying to help them to be more effective. Tackle them in private, and if you can get another colleague to come along too then that helps. You need to show them that it’s not just ‘you versus them’ but that there is a wider consensus within the team that things need to change. Focus on giving them alternative behaviour strategies.

If you are an underling

This isn’t your responsibility – but you can transform the working environment and your own reputation positively if you choose to tackle the big egos – remember David and Goliath. Strange as it may seem, it’s best to tackle them in a very public forum: our culture does not allow egotists to crush the little people, so you will get back up from others. Focus on how their behaviour is demoralising you and others – so the emphasis is not on them, but the effect it has on you. Try and have a word with one of their work colleagues beforehand so you know you have an instant ally.

We all want great strikers on our team who can get the ball in the back of the net at the critical time. We all accept that with some of these skills is bound to come a good dollop of personal ego, and we can cope with it most of the time. We also all have a duty to stand up to these egos when they get too big for their boots

– Christopher Barrat is a motivational speaker and communications expert to those in the public eye. He can be contacted at www.greystone.co.uk  read the full article here

Which Countries Are Most Interested In Workplace Bullying?

Which corner of the world googles the phrase “workplace bullying” the most?  Well Australia and Ireland seem pretty matched in the number 1 & 2 spots — which given the disparity of size of the two countries says something for the plight of the Irish worker.  New Zealand isn’t far behind.  And, the UK, Canada and the US follow showing the least interest.

The top trending news stories about workplace bullying are related to health issues and legislation: