Secrets, Lies, And Sweatshops

From Business Week, via A Glimpse of the World:

American importers have long answered criticism of conditions at their Chinese suppliers with labor rules and inspections. But many factories have just gotten better at concealing abuses

was caught in an impossible squeeze. For years, his employer, Ningbo Beifa Group, had prospered as a top supplier of pens, mechanical pencils, and highlighters to Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ) and other major retailers. But late last year, Tang learned that auditors from Wal-Mart, Beifa’s biggest customer, were about to inspect labor conditions at the factory in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo where he worked as an administrator. Wal-Mart had already on three occasions caught Beifa paying its 3,000 workers less than China’s minimum wage and violating overtime rules, Tang says. Under the U.S. chain’s labor rules, a fourth offense would end the relationship. [Full Text]

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