Belabored Podcast #142: Smartphone Sweatshops in Asia, with Joe DiGangi

Belabored Podcast #142: Smartphone Sweatshops in Asia, with Joe DiGangi

Do you know where your smartphone was made? A new in-depth report reveals dangerous conditions in Samsung factories in Vietnam.

A worker inside a Samsung factory in Vietnam
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The world of Big Tech seems clean and ultra modern, but your smartphone was likely built under shockingly dirty labor conditions. An in-depth investigation of Vietnamese Samsung production facilities peels back the shrink-wrap of the electronics industry to reveal who makes our fancy gadgets and what our obsession with consumer electronics means for workplace health. We speak with Joe DiGangi of IPEN, which published the report. The revelations, which fit into a pattern of labor exploitation at Samsung, have prompted international scrutiny as well as reported crackdowns on workers.

In other news, we look at a movement for a shorter workweek in Germany, a drive for higher wages at Disney, a milestone for the fast food worker movement in New York, and Trump’s latest assault on immigrant communities. With recommended reading on labor unrest in Iran and #MeToo in the workplace.

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Trump’s attacks on humanitarian immigration just became a full-blown war (Vox)

Michelle: A Labor Battle at… Disney World? (The Nation)

German workers strike for right to two-year, 28-hour working week (Guardian)

Fast-Food Workers Claim Victory in a New York Labor Effort (New York Times)



Joe DiGangi, IPEN researcher

IPEN and CGFED, Stories of Women Workers in Vietnam’s Electronics Industry

Michelle: Was Your Smartphone Built in a Sweatshop? (The Nation)

Where Was Your Smartphone Made? (WNYC)

Argh, I Wish Id Written That!

Sarah: J.C. Pan, Arbitrary Rule (The Nation)

Michelle: Murtaza Hussain, Protests in Iran Took Many By Surprise — But Not Iranian Labor Activists (The Intercept)