Among the many unusual aspects of American Apparel’s business was that the company manufactured its clothing in the U.S. — and in Southern California, rather than a part of the country where labor and real estate is less costly. But now that the American Apparel brand has been bought by Canada’s Gildan, what’s to become of the company’s factories, which employ thousands of workers? [More]
“Dongguan Qing Xi Juantiway Plastic Factory” isn’t a household name, but you’d probably recognize the products it made for the world’s largest entertainment company: the factory was one of thousands making official products featuring Disney characters. [More]
Three years ago, after a building collapse in Bangladesh killed 1,100 of the people who were making our clothes, major global retailers pledged to make sure that the people who work for their suppliers are paid a living wage and have safe workplaces. A new report shows that while some things have improved at factories that supply retailers like Walmart and H&M, there are still serious labor and safety issues in these companies’ supply chains. [More]
Don’t like your cereal excessively soggy? Kellogg doesn’t either: the company says there’s a criminal investigation underway after a video surfaced that appears to show a factory worker urinating on a Rice Krispies assembly line. [More]
If you’re looking forward to splashing around this winter in L.L. Bean’s aggressively unglamorous, USA-made duck boots, you’ll need to plan ahead: some styles and sizes are backordered by a month before there’s even a single snowflake in the sky. The duck boot factories are cranking them out as fast as they can, and simply can’t keep up with demand. [More]
Homer Laughlin was a real person who started a pottery company in Ohio in 1873. The factory moved to West Virginia about twenty years later, but has stayed in the same town since, now employing about 1,000 people to make a line of dishware that you may recognize: Fiesta. [More]
Back in 2011, a tragedy happened at a Tribe hummus factory near Boston. A man who was part of the factory’s evening cleaning crew was working on a bean-mashing machine with nine-inch rotating screws when the machine’s screws started to turn, mashing the 28-year-old’s head and arms. He died of his injuries in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. [More]
Americans eat a lot of packaged foods, but do you ever wonder what kind of magical land these boxes of convenient tastiness come from? There’s no army of dough-tossing elves trapped inside a pizza factory: the reality is much cooler. [More]
If you’re going to perform hard work for long hours, at least you should receive a reasonable wage during a time of high inflation in your country. Right? That’s not generally the case in Bangladesh, where as many as 100,000 workers have taken to the streets to demand a minimum wage of $104 per month, up from the current minimum of $39. [More]
Always wondered how marshmallow Peeps are made? Wonder no more. Two billion of the marshmallow critters come out of the production lines in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania every year, most of them for the Easter rush. From start to finish, it takes six minutes for the machinery to make a Peep. [NY Daily News]
After a fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Walmart and other stores killed 112 workers in November, Walmart has announced that it is taking its suppliers around the globe to task when it comes to subcontracting their work. In other words, if Walmart doesn’t approve of the factories suppliers use, it’ll drop those companies lickety-split. [More]
Earlier this week, a Foxconn factory in Taiyuan, northern China, shut down production when a brawl broke out in the dormitories that involved as many as 2,000 workers. The real question is this: how long until it happens again?
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has factories just about everywhere in the world, and they make stuff for just about every gadget company that you can think of. This makes any news coming out of the company, from 2010’s suicide cluster to last year’s explosion, fascinating to us. But it’s hard to look at your Xbox quite the same way after learning that hundreds of Foxconn workers reportedly took to the roof and threatened suicide over severance payments.
Three hundred people in New Jersey are losing their jobs, and it’s all our fault. Enough consumers prefer to buy digital downloads (when we buy music at all) that Sony is closing down their Pitman, NJ CD factory at the end of March.
Gizmodo reports, based on a story in the subscription-only El Norte, that workers in a Foxconn factory in Juarez, Mexico became enraged and set the building on fire. Supervisors had misled the workers into working unpaid overtime. A delightful follow-up to the Reuters report about a Foxconn security guard threatening a foreign reporter. [Gizmodo] (Thanks, GitEmSteveDave!)
Was anything you own made with forced or child labor? It’s more likely than you think. Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor finally released a long-awaited report on the use of child labor or forced labor worldwide. The unsurprising result: Children and forced laborers work in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing worldwide.
If you’re noticing a lack of mechanically separated chicken and hydrolyzed corn gluten in your diet, you’re not alone. The tragic ConAgra factory explosion that killed three people near Raleigh, N.C. ended Slim Jim production until this fall. [Update: The factory is reopening on July 27.] It was the only place where the snack sticks are manufactured.