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Rumor or Slave Labor

July 4, 2010

Every day we see them drive by. Up to 300  or more cars with two or three people inside.  The parking lot of the warehouse fills and the late comers fill every available space on the side streets.  They all are wearing blue lab coats and the majority are Hispanic.  At break times there are two or three “roach” coaches that pull up and must be making a fortune just at this one stop.

We sent one of our Spanish speaking employees over during a break to see if he could find out what all these people did inside the warehouse.  There are no signs outside, no markings of any kind that would tell you what company this is.  Only large unmarked semi-trucks backed into a loading dock and hundreds of discarded pallets piled high.  He came back and as he told his story I kept saying, “What? What?”.

According to the people he talked with, they work in a warehouse that assembles Apple computers.  They are hired en masse and work for 89 days then are rehired for another 89 days.  This process allows whoever is doing the hiring to not pay them benefits.  They seem to be okay with this as at least it is a job.

Now all of this raises several questions.  Is this an Apple assembly plant?  Is this a subcontractor hired by Apple?  Does anyone know this place exists? How close to slave labor is this? While legal, is it morally right? Is this the only place of its kind or are they scattered throughout the valley?  To whom does one ask these questions?

The people working here seem to be hard workers and by the looks of their cars are not getting rich.  Which is another issue.  The police have discovered that if they sit along the road leading to the warehouse there is a gold mine for them in expired registrations, drivers with expired or no license, drivers with no proof of insurance, and a multitude of other vehicle code violations.  We see four or five cars a day pulled over and then towed away by the local police

So not only are these people getting short changed on the benefit end, they can easily lose their means of transportation that is getting them to a job where they are at least making a living.  Where is their advocate?

A factoid is a word that really means an untruth, but we use it to mean a small fact.  It would be nice to discover that all of the above is the former.

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