Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Opinion: The Trail of Tears that Led from Taiwan to Vietnam

In Taiwan and South Korea, since 1999's so-called insecurity in the labor market, many companies have drastically decreased or halted new recruitment for full-time employees with secure labor contracts as a firm strategy to reduce labor costs and to increase employment flexibility (Yun 2009). Even with existing regular jobs, firms often substituted them with contingent workers with precarious labor conditions. With employers insistence on greater flexibility in allocating and deploying labor, the government introduced or changed labor policies to make the labor market more flexible but highly insecure for the working people. Contingent labor, which comes in many different names, such as irregular, temporary, part-time, and dispatch workers has dramatically increased in recent years. The privatization of state owned enterprises (SOE) was also a part of this restructuring process, which usually involved cuts in existing employment (Y.K. Lee 2011). Since 1999, irregular workers have accounted for over half of South Korea's paid labor force (Kim 2007). In the case of Taiwan, the National Statistical Office does not  even track the composition of the labor force by the forms of employment but the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) show a rising usage of contingent labor, from 12.4 in 2003 to 18.4 in 2007. by 2014, it must be 27% of the labor force or more. 

In Taiwan, workplaces with under 30 employees cannot, by law, be unionized. Workers get the same wages as they did 16 years ago. The Sunflower Movement is too late in stemming the tide of exploitation from China. It's been done here by America for years. 

Who has a stable job in Taiwan, America, and Europe anymore? How many 'state-owned enterprises' (like public schools,  post office, etc.) have gone through privatization?  Greed runs rampant in the corporate world. Corporations need to get a cheap, stable work force to save money on salary, pension, benefits, workplace safety and abuse. That's how they get "profit." Where else can children still be used for cheap, dangerous labor? Where else can workers be abused? 

Follow the tracks in the soot of sweatshop factories. Follow the lint that floats through the air and chokes the garment workers in Bangladesh and Vietnam, the chemicals that poison the children. See the blocked exit doors that kill workers trying to escape from factory fires. Go to any developing nation and you will find these corporations spilling their toxic waters into the local streams. 

Union decimation: the number one priority of corporate controlled governments. You can't exploit workers when they protect themselves with collective bargaining in a union. 

Companies like Reebok, Nike in Latin America abusing workers and using their Taiwanese out-sourcing connections that act as smoke screens, washing money for greedy corporations and their stock holders. Formosa Plastic and Foxcom (for Apple) polluting  and sickening people in unprotected plants in Asia when the people in Taiwan stopped them.  First it was made in Japan, then in Taiwan and South Korea, next to China, then in Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia. The outsourcing of misery and despair for workers who've lost their farmland to agribusiness and have no choice but to work in Special Economic Zones as the ruling classes of Asian nations learn their lessons well from the West and exploit their own people, in the name of capitalism; this is why the workers in Vietnam are trashing foreign factories; read "sweatshops." Don't believe the New York Times which says the rioting is a misplaced anger at the Chinese government for drilling for oil in disputed territorial oceans. Exxon has been drilling there, too. 

As the filthy trail of exploitation passes from poor nation to poor nation, as workers left in the wake of developed nations struggle with minimum wage part-time jobs, who taught this to the world that it wants to tenderize for it's own ambition? 
Answer # 1 : Corporate Capitalism

How can workers end this mayhem and fight back? 

Answer # 2 : Start and join the IWW, a Workers Union

If you want freedom from wage slavery, there is power in the hands of working folk when we stand hand in hand.

It is a power that must rule in every land.

One Industrial Union grand.
For One Big Union
x 347367

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