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Monday, 11 September 2006 09:41

Disney's Sad Sweatshop History

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A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT

Last Friday BuzzFlash reported that ABC outsourced millions of dollars from American workers by filming much of The Path to 9/11 abroad for cheaper. Offshoring is nothing new to The Walt Disney Company or its subsidiaries: Disney has a grim history of sweatshops and worker abuse throughout the world.

The following come from reports of Disney's slave-like treatment documented by international humanitarian groups:

China:

  • Young people are forced to work 10-13 hours a day producing Disney’s children’s books six or seven days a week.
  • The workers are paid 33 to 41 cents an hour (below even the Chinese minimum wage of 42 cents an hour).
  • It is common for the workers to be cheated of their overtime pay.
  • 8 to 12 workers are housed in primitive dorm rooms sleeping on double level bunk beds and fed horrible food at the factory canteen.
  • Workers often faint from exhaustion and the unbearably stifling heat in the factories.
  • Workers have no health insurance or pension.
  • They have no right to freedom of association or to organize.
                -National Labor Committee
  • At one factory, there are four to five accidents a week. People have lost their fingers and palms. "But instead of doing something about the machines, the factory just hires new workers. And the accidents simply continue."
  • Factories coach workers on how to answer inspectors' questions when they come to monitor.
  • One factory issued fake time slips while concealing the real ones showing illegal hours.

                -Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior

Bangladesh:

  • Workers paid 5 cents an hour to assemble Pooh shirts Disney retails for $17.99.
  • Workers are forced to work 14-hour days, seven days a week.
  • Workers are beaten if they do not meet quotas.
  • Speaking is prohibited.
  • Coached workers on how to lie to inspectors.
  • Disney pulled out of factory after employees publicly complained about poor working conditions.

                -National Labor Committee (pdf)

Haiti

  • Workers earn 30 cents an hour sewing in "putrid" conditions.
  • Employs workers under the legal age.
  • Report from one factory: "The toilets are filthy. Rats are everywhere. If you are young and pretty and a supervisor wants you as his mistress, you either give in to him or you are fired. Sexual harassment is common."

                -Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 3, 1996

Disney has shown a history of either not knowing or not caring about the people it exploits throughout the world to increase its own gains. Disney has its own agenda, and it's not about American workers, human rights, and certainly not the truth. It's about the money.

In The Path to 9/11, Disney has grossly exploited a tragedy by misrepresenting history from an obviously biased standpoint. The only winners are the Bush Administration and Disney's pockets - at least for the executives.

Click here to watch a video (a real one, not a "dramatization") investigating Disney's Chinese sweatshops

Click here to read the transcript (pdf)