After helping This American Life sift through the monologue of performer Mike Daisey, NPR Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz got his own look at the Shenzhen plant of Apple supplier Foxconn in southern China.
Schmitz reports that 99 percent of the nearly quarter-million workers at the factory are migrant workers who are earning money for workers back home. Workers, on average, are 18 t0 25 years old.
Following the assembly of the iPad through several production lines, Schmitz shows viewers how workers help to assemble and test the iPad’s motherboard, frame and screen.
Workers rotate their jobs every few days, he said, and make around $14 per day when they start. Their salary doubles after a couple of years, he said.
In a separate report, however, Schmitz notes that many of the workers don’t feel comfortable asking their supervisors for time off or other special requests because they’re worried about repercussions.