Tetch o Sketch
Tetch O Sketchy made in China
Workers sued for a minimum wage.
By JOSEPH KAHN
Published: December 07, 2003
Workers at Kin Ki Industrial, a leading Chinese toy maker, make a decent salary, rarely work nights or weekends and often ''hang out along the street, play Ping-Pong and watch TV.''
They all have work contracts, pensions and medical benefits. The factory canteen offers tasty food. The dormitories are comfortable.
These are the official working conditions at Kin Ki as they are described on paper -- crib sheets -- handed to workers just before inspections.
Those occur when big American clients, like the Ohio company that uses Kin Ki to produce the iconic toy Etch A Sketch, visit to make sure that the factory has good labor standards.
Real-world Kin Ki employees, mostly teenage migrants from internal provinces, say they work many more hours and earn about 40 percent less than the company claims. They sleep head-to-toe in tiny rooms. They staged two strikes recently demanding they get paid closer to the legal minimum wage.
Most do not have pensions, medical insurance or work contracts. The company's crib sheet recommends if inspectors press to see such documents, workers should ''intentionally waste time and then say they can't find them,'' according to company memos provided to The New York Times by employees.
So McSketchy's Bain Capital owns Toys R Us who forced OHIO arts to (cut the fat & flee the US)
Kin Ki stays competitive, workers say, by paying them 24 cents an hour in Shenzhen, where the legal minimum wage is 33 cents. When the Etch A Sketch line shut down in Ohio just after the Christmas rush in 2000, wages for the unionized work force there had reached $9 an hour. I bet that wage is up to at least 5o cents an hour by now!
Here is a link that might be useful: Etch o flop