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Samsung socked with $108M Brazilian suit over alleged labor issues

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Brazilian prosecutors have begun legal action against technology giant and Apple rival Samsung, claiming that the South Korean conglomerate's Brazilian arm violated numerous labor laws at a factory in the Amazon region.



Prosecutors in the city of Manaus allege that working conditions at Samsung's factory there are notoriously poor, citing long hours, strict productivity standards, and sometimes unsafe conditions. The prosecutors office is suing for 250 million reais ($108 million) in damages, claiming serious labor violations.

The plant in question ? located in the Manaus Free Trade zone ? produces Samsung electronics for sale across Latin America, according to Reporter Brasil. It employs some 6,000 workers, and employees say some shifts can last up to 15 hours, with 10-hour days of standing not uncommon. Workers complained of physical aches stemming from the long hours and work conditions.

One worker said that he assembled nearly 3,000 phones per day for the South Korean giant's Brazilian arm. Other workers reported having only 32 seconds to fully assemble a mobile phone and 65 seconds to fully assemble a television set. Some employees were said to work up to 27 days in a row.

Manaus is located in the eastern portion of Amazonas, Brazil's largest state. The city has undergone massive growth in both population and economic health over the years, and it is now home to more than 1.8 million people. A number of major multinational technology firms, such as Samsung, LG, and Phillips, have made a presence there.

The manufacture of smartphones and electronics, like many consumer items, has become the target of criticism, as the workers that assemble those devices many times do not enjoy living standards comparable to those of the people that buy them. Like its chief rival, Apple, Samsung has in the past had to deal with assorted labor violations among its many suppliers' factories. The Manaus facility, though, is said to be run by Samsung, not a supplier as in the case with Apple.

As its products have grown more popular, Apple has endeavored to improve labor conditions for the people working in its own worldwide network of suppliers. The Cupertino company, under some pressure from observers, has called for shorter work hours and better overall conditions for its suppliers' employees, going so far as to terminate contracts when suppliers violate the company's labor standards.

Samsung, in a statement, said that it would take a look at the allegations and cooperate fully with Brazilian authorities.

"We are committed to offering our collaborators around the world a work environment that ensures the highest standards when it comes to safety, health and well-being," the statement said.
post #2 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"We are committed to offering our collaborators around the world a work environment that ensures the highest standards when it comes to safety, health and well-being," the statement said.

'Kay. Then how about having your 3 CEO's visit some of these plant, and personally make sure your company does follow suit?
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #3 of 30

Woohoo! Go Brazil!!

post #4 of 30

Where's Mike Daisey and the New York Times now?

 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
 
(So Y is the new X?   Zzzzzzzzzz......)
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Where's the new Apple TV?
 
 
(So Y is the new X?   Zzzzzzzzzz......)
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post #5 of 30
I'm no Samsung apologist (Apple fan here!) but Brazil should just be happy it's taking the business from China. They knew the conditions would suck before the factory was ever built. This complaint is a joke.
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

Where's Mike Daisey and the New York Times now?

"The Agony and Ecstacy of J.K. Shin" won't have the same ticket sales.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post

I'm no Samsung apologist (Apple fan here!) but Brazil should just be happy it's taking the business from China. They knew the conditions would suck before the factory was ever built. This complaint is a joke.

Ya I'm sure they stipulated that up front when they negotiated bringing a facility to Brazil.

"And of course the working conditions will suck"1rolleyes.gif
post #8 of 30
Now we get to see this image every 2 weeks instead of stock photos of asians in silly blue hats at Foxconn.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post

I'm no Samsung apologist (Apple fan here!) but Brazil should just be happy it's taking the business from China. They knew the conditions would suck before the factory was ever built. This complaint is a joke.

 

Exploiting workers in sweatshop conditions is not a joke to a lot of people.

 

I know there are many here who don't feel that sweatshops are a bad thing and logical arguments can even be made to defend them.  However, there's a reason they get such a bad reputation and that's because most people are against them.

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

 

Exploiting workers in sweatshop conditions is not a joke to a lot of people.

 

I know there are many here who don't feel that sweatshops are a bad thing and logical arguments can even be made to defend them.  However, there's a reason they get such a bad reputation and that's because most people are against them.

Really?

Can you give me some logical arguments that defend sweatshops?

post #11 of 30
"Brazil should be happy"...

And those workers IN Brazil should be happy to be abused? Or should the situation get fixed?

Seems like an easy choice to me.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

Ya I'm sure they stipulated that up front when they negotiated bringing a facility to Brazil.

"And of course the working conditions will suck"1rolleyes.gif

It was lost in translation lol.gif
post #13 of 30
Curious to see general media response to this.

Corporations once 'used' human labour to squeeze out maximum profits. The phrase now it to "leverage its workforce". Wiggle phrasing means the same. 1oyvey.gif

"And so it goes" says Kurt Vonnegut, if I remember correctly.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post

Really?
Can you give me some logical arguments that defend sweatshops?

It brings revenue to Brazil and jobs to its people. You make it sound as though these people are forced to work there. They aren't. This isn't China. No one locks the doors at night or prevents them from leaving. They are taking a job and choosing to accept the conditions. One day, perhaps, Brazil will become a post-industrial economy and at that time they can choose to enact laws preventing this kind of exploitation. Until then, the country needs the income and the powers that be in Brazil deem the rewards worth the cost. No one is surprised by this "news". It happens en every similar factory. That's just how the world works. The alternative is Samsung pulling out of Brazil and reinvesting in another country. Do you honestly think that's better for the Brazilians who will then find themselves without the means to feed their families? I'm sorry, but even though we in the first works think this sucks, conditions like this are an inevitability of industrialization.
post #15 of 30
Nothing to see here. Move along. /s
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soloman View Post

It was lost in translation lol.gif

As was the "we'll sue you for $100 million over it". 1wink.gif
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post

Really?

Can you give me some logical arguments that defend sweatshops?

 

While I don't agree with sweatshops at all and I don't agree with the reasoning, I'll list a few common ones below.  If you'd like to dispute them with me you'll only be preaching to the choir.  However, I'm sure someone here would be more than willing to defend them as I've heard all of these arguments here and elsewhere in defense of sweatshops.  I personally feel there are huge holes in these arguments, but they usually go as follows:


- sweatshops raise the standard of living

- the workers would rather have a bad job than no job

- if they weren't working in a sweatshop they may turn to crime/prostitution or starve

post #18 of 30
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
Read the rest of my posts before you open your flap and pronounce me a troll.

 

All three of them? 1tongue.gif

post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post

It brings revenue to Brazil and jobs to its people. You make it sound as though these people are forced to work there. They aren't. This isn't China. No one locks the doors at night or prevents them from leaving. They are taking a job and choosing to accept the conditions. One day, perhaps, Brazil will become a post-industrial economy and at that time they can choose to enact laws preventing this kind of exploitation. Until then, the country needs the income and the powers that be in Brazil deem the rewards worth the cost. No one is surprised by this "news". It happens en every similar factory. That's just how the world works. The alternative is Samsung pulling out of Brazil and reinvesting in another country. Do you honestly think that's better for the Brazilians who will then find themselves without the means to feed their families? I'm sorry, but even though we in the first works think this sucks, conditions like this are an inevitability of industrialization.

Pffft. Ridiculous. You act like Samsung holds all the cards here. No one is forcing Samsung to build factories in Brazil. If they don't want to play by Brazil's rules they're free to go elsewhere.

When you wrote "conditions like these are an inevitability of industrialization" I was reminded of a quote, I can't remember who and I'm paraphrasing here,
"Life can be much broader when once you discover one fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life... I don't know who made it up. And you certainly can't poke life, or mold and change it. I mean, you'd have to be crazy, right?"
Edited by Doctor David - 8/14/13 at 2:05pm
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexmit View Post

Now we get to see this image every 2 weeks instead of stock photos of asians in silly blue hats at Foxconn.

 

At least the Chinese workers have chairs to sit on.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post


It brings revenue to Brazil and jobs to its people. You make it sound as though these people are forced to work there. They aren't. This isn't China. No one locks the doors at night or prevents them from leaving. They are taking a job and choosing to accept the conditions. One day, perhaps, Brazil will become a post-industrial economy and at that time they can choose to enact laws preventing this kind of exploitation. Until then, the country needs the income and the powers that be in Brazil deem the rewards worth the cost. No one is surprised by this "news". It happens en every similar factory. That's just how the world works. The alternative is Samsung pulling out of Brazil and reinvesting in another country. Do you honestly think that's better for the Brazilians who will then find themselves without the means to feed their families? I'm sorry, but even though we in the first works think this sucks, conditions like this are an inevitability of industrialization.

 

It allows Samsung to sell in Brazil, who have strict rules regarding imports.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #22 of 30
Actually, FYI, Samsung is installed in Manaus since 1996. So it's not simply the case of "Brazil taking the business from China".
post #23 of 30
I would love to get some feedback from someone who comes from a background where he or his family members had to choose between having a less than desireable job versus unemployment and their children starving. Let's be realistic here. The people commenting here about the conditions are doing so with from their comfy couches on their iPads. I know that's what I'm doing. However, I have a degree in politics (waste of time and money if you're interested) and in every international political economy course I've taken, and all the research I've read, all signs point to foreign investment being necessary for the conversion of pre-industrial societies through industrialization and into post-industrialization. Sweatshops are an inevitable part of that process. They sound bad to us in first world but they create jobs and provide services to areas previously lacking. Those are things the Brazilian government hasn't been able to do for its people. Frankly, this fine is out of proportion to the conditions described, and worse still not one cent will ever been seen in those communities affected by this factory. Corporations will always try to maximize their profits. If Brazil really wants to set an example they should reinvest this massive bounty they intend to reap from Samsung back into the community afflicted in the first place.

For the record: Apple has only cleaned up its act in China (related to working conditions) for fear it would harm them in the long run. Part of what sells Apple as a premium brand is their image and how they are perceived to be a cut above their competition, even as it relates to working conditions. Make no mistake, Apple exists to generate profit, not to do the "right thing".
post #24 of 30
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
For the record: Apple has only cleaned up its act in China (related to working conditions) for fear it would harm them in the long run.

 

Prove it.

post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Prove it.

How about this: Apple has given the appearance of cleaning up its act to maintain its premium image.  I wasn't making the point that Apple was doing good things, I was making the point that Apple acted to clean up its production facilities in China in order to maintain its image, not because in some grand scheme of things it was the "right thing" to do.  Make sense?

post #26 of 30
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post
Apple acted… …to maintain its image, not because in some grand scheme of things it was the "right thing" to do.

 

Prove. It. What was difficult to understand about my statement before? Do I need to repeat it a third time?

post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post


It brings revenue to Brazil and jobs to its people. You make it sound as though these people are forced to work there. They aren't. This isn't China. No one locks the doors at night or prevents them from leaving. They are taking a job and choosing to accept the conditions. One day, perhaps, Brazil will become a post-industrial economy and at that time they can choose to enact laws preventing this kind of exploitation. Until then, the country needs the income and the powers that be in Brazil deem the rewards worth the cost. No one is surprised by this "news". It happens en every similar factory. That's just how the world works. The alternative is Samsung pulling out of Brazil and reinvesting in another country. Do you honestly think that's better for the Brazilians who will then find themselves without the means to feed their families? I'm sorry, but even though we in the first works think this sucks, conditions like this are an inevitability of industrialization.

 

Bullshit.

 

FOXCONN has an factory in Brazil and follow ALL the brazilian labor laws!

 

"Foxconn has operated in Brazil since 2005, and has five plants in Sao Paulo, including an assembly plant for Apple products in Jundiai."

post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlord View Post

Bullshit.

FOXCONN has an factory in Brazil and follow ALL the brazilian labor laws!

"Foxconn has operated in Brazil since 2005, and has five plants in Sao Paulo, including an assembly plant for Apple products in Jundiai."
http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/04/26/foxconn_brazil_workers_reportedly_threaten_strike_over_working_conditions

Several sources agree tho that overall worker protection laws are much stronger in Brazil than China. There's a study from Georgetown University than compares and comments on Foxxonn China and Foxconn Brazil if you're interested.
http://lwp.georgetown.edu/2012/04/12/a-closer-look-at-apple-and-foxconn-labor-practices-in-china-and-brazil/
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/04/26/foxconn_brazil_workers_reportedly_threaten_strike_over_working_conditions

Several sources agree tho that overall worker protection laws are much stronger in Brazil than China. There's a study from Georgetown University than compares and comments on Foxxonn China and Foxconn Brazil if you're interested.
http://lwp.georgetown.edu/2012/04/12/a-closer-look-at-apple-and-foxconn-labor-practices-in-china-and-brazil/

 

The problems occurs on the newest FOXCONN' factory only.

"Problems at the factory have been exacerbated by the recent hiring of more than a thousand employees. Foxconn was said not to have increased its transport infrastructure with the new hires. The company reportedly had to hire water trucks to bring in water for its employees."

post #30 of 30
How about forcing CEOs to perform the same work these people do for a whole week...and don't let them go till they do!
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