[ National Labor Committee ]   



Wal-Mart
Mongoose bicycles
for sale at Wal-Mart, Made in China

                       (Mongoose Outer Limit BMX 20-inch girls bicycles.
                       The Outer Limit model is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.
                       On December 19, 2000, the bike was on sale for $60.50.)
                   
                      Made at:
                       * Ming Cycle Industrial Co. Ltd.
                      Jinshatou Industrial Area
                      Shajin Town, Bao’on District
                      Shenzhen, Guangdong, CHINA

                      Taiwanese-owned / Four factories / 1,400 workers / 17 to 25 years old

Internal company production documents smuggled out of the factory show that Ming Cycle Factory #3 produced 89,535 bicycles between December 24, 1999 and March 12, 2000.  The majority of the production went to Wal-Mart.  In that 80-day period, the workers received just 7 days off, five days for the most important Chinese holiday, the New Year, celebrated between February 2 and 6, and just two other days in the entire 11-week period.

This is typical.  Seven-day workweeks are the norm at Ming Cycle.  At most, the workers receive every other Sunday off.  Working up to 20 days straight is fairly common.

The workday stretches from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.  It is not uncommon, especially for the porters who move the materials, to be forced to work until 3:00 a.m.

Hours:       * 7:30 - 8:00 a.m.                       Lecture from the management and required exercise
                   * 8:00 - 12 noon                        Work
                   * Noon - 1:30 p.m.                    Lunch  (Workers receive one hot meal a day and 2 cold meals.)
                   * 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.                      Work
                   * 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.                      Dinner
                   * 6:30 - 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.      Work

Workers are at the factory 14 ˝ hours a day, while being paid for 12 hours.

Wages

The base wage at Ming Cycle is just 20 cents an hour, or $7.87 a week.  However, with the enormous overtime hours--and the premium which is supposed to be paid--the actual take-home wage appears to vary from 21 to 30 cents an hour. 

One pay record shows a skilled assembly line worker in April of 2000 working 84 hours a week to earn $25.08, or 30 cents an hour.  This person was working 13.5 hours a day, 6.5 days a week.

Workers earn just 43 cents for each $60.50 Mongoose bicycle they make.

As mentioned earlier, in 73 production days, Ming Cycle Factory #3 turned out 89,535 bicycles, or 1226.5 per day.  Now, if we use the high-end 30-cent-an-hour wage and assume a typical 12-hour shift, the worker would earn $3.60 a day.  There were 148 workers in Factory #3, meaning that the entire plant payroll for the day would be $532.80 ($3.60 x 148 = 532.80).  Even at the $60.50 sales price for the Mongoose bike, the 1226.5 bikes produced each day would have a retail value of $74,203.25 in the U.S.  This means that the workers’ wages come to just 7/10ths of one percent of the retail price--making the labor cost 43 cents per $60.50 bike.

If a worker was caught dozing off, exhausted by all the long overtime hours, he or she would be fined a half day’s wages and could lose their year-end bonus.  Twelve workers were housed in dorm rooms measuring 12 by 21 feet.

Any worker trying to organize an independent union to defend the rights of the workers would be immediately fired and imprisoned without trial in either a hard labor camp or a psychiatric hospital.

(A full report with all original documentation will be published in January.)

 


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