The role of the labor union in factories has shifted throughout the years from arch-enemy of the manager to the savior of the average Joe. With China entering a golden age of trade and export, the prominence of the labor union has risen exponentially. In the case of Foxconn, one of the largest producer of electronics in China, labor is booming. The recent mass suicides have sparked questions about the role in bettering working conditions. In a similar bout of worker unrest, a Honda factory was shut down after workers organized and demanded a raise in benefits.
The biggest issue raised by the author was the debate over whether or not unions should be run by workers for workers. The case of the Foxconn suicides highlighted the inefficiency of the labor union in helping their constituents, especially migrant workers. When looking at the conditions of these workers, their stress levels were so incredibly high that suicide seemed to be their only form of expression. The job of the labor union is to voice the opinion of its members. When mass suicides occur, someone isn’t doing their job…in this case was it the laborers or the labor union?