…TERRIBLE CONDITIONS FOR WORKERS

By PEDRO LAHOZ WOLFE, age 10

Workers test electronics at a factory in China. PHOTO: Flickr.com/Robert Scoble
Workers test electronics at a factory in China. PHOTO: Flickr.com/Robert Scoble
China
You know how almost everything in the United States says “Made in China” on it? Do you ever think about how many people are needed to make these millions of products? Millions of people who do not have proper working conditions.

Let’s take a look at Foxconn workers who make Apple iPhones, Dell and Sony technology products.

As reported by Bloomberg News and Wired.com, conditions at Foxconn include:
• very low salary that is not enough to live on, so workers must work long hours overtime
• at least 12 workers having committed suicide in 2010
• safety netting around buildings so that workers cannot jump off and commit suicide
• talking and sitting down are not allowed during work hours

A six year-old girl works alongside her 9 year-old brother and parents in North Carolina. Usually kids at this age are just starting to help out their parents in the fields and don’t work for very long. PHOTO: Heather Anderson, AFOP
A six year-old girl works alongside her nine-year-old brother and parents in North Carolina. Usually, kids at this age are just starting to help out their parents in the fields and don’t work for very long. PHOTO: Heather Anderson, AFOP
United States Blueberry Farms
Well, at least blueberries for sale in the United States aren’t from China, but the people who pick them have just as bad working conditions.

Not only that, but children as young as five are also working on blueberry farms alongside their parents. And this is despite the law that children in the United States can work only after the age of 12, which means that these blueberry farms are breaking the law. Workers are subject to heat strokes, heavy lifting, and falls and trips. Other health problems include issues with breathing and skin, and cancer because of exposure to insecticides. The pay is also minimal. A family of four will, on average, get $12,000 a year, which is barely enough to put food on the table. This leaves families working on these farms very poor.

For more about child labor on U.S. blueberry farms, check out this IndyKids story: Berry Blues

Pedro Lahoz Wolfe is a fifth-grade student in New York City.