News Story About Hasbro Working Conditions (Post 261 for Hasbro's statement)

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by s10blazed, Dec 19, 2011.

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  1. s10blazed

    s10blazed Duly appointed...

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    Holidays by Hasbro, Transformers from Hell - MarketWatch

    In the back of my mind I've always known the conditions in these asian factories had to be bleak for these toys to be so cheap. The cost savings had to happen somewhere. Its just a shame it happens this way. Any time I read an article like this (Especially ones from Foxconn over the past year or two) it really makes me reconsider my buying habits. My Dad is a die-hard "Made in America" type and will go out of his way and pay much more just for that. But in the same sense, I always end up buying my plastic crack again by justifying it by thinking all of the hard work put into making this Transformer cannot go to waste!

    What are your thoughts on this? Is there any scenario related to working conditions where you would never buy a TF again? Would you pay the extra money for a "Made in America" toy?
     
  2. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    What is the alternative for these people if people do not buy from places that use sweatshop labor? Starvation?

    They live in a poor part of the world. While it's not NICE, they have shelter, food and pay. That's more than a lot of people have.

    Certainly Hasbro could lobby for better conditions, but they don't own or control the factories. There's only so much they can do.
     
  3. Matty

    Matty @StayingInTheBox Moderator News Staff

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    I wonder how mainstream this is going to get. If it's all legit it could spell a lot of trouble. Frankly I wonder if Hasbro themselves is aware of this. The visibility of the supply chain can be very blurred at times.
     
  4. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    ^ That's true, too. Just for PR, I wouldn't be surprised if Hasbro claimed ignorance and switched to different factories.
     
  5. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    This is pretty unfortunate, and whether it's common or not, is contrary to the image that Hasbro use to portray themselves. I hope that, now that this information has been made public and claims have been (I assume) corroborated, Hasbro takes steps to improve conditions at their subcontractors or moves to a company with better conditions.


    Didn't Hasbro say they were going to shift production to Vietnam in the near future?
     
  6. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    ^ I think that was Takara moving to Vietnam, though perhaps both. This may be the reason.

    However, I can't help wondering what will happen to the people in the crappy factories if Hasbro stops using them. Starvation?
     
  7. Matty

    Matty @StayingInTheBox Moderator News Staff

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    A toy company definitely does not want bad PR. Mattel took a pretty good hit with their missteps and I'm sure parents still don't want to buy from them.

    Should this be front paged? I don't know how big of a news item it is, but frankly it seems like it. I can't recall Hasbro has been thrown into the "sweat shop" category before.
     
  8. turboedguy

    turboedguy minibotologist

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    Well, this also explains a lot of the quality control issues.
     
  9. MisterFanwank

    MisterFanwank Toy Industry Analyst

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    Sweatshop laborer sweat? On my toys? It's more likely than I thought.
     
  10. knobbycon

    knobbycon logorrheic egghead

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    You know who else had to endure all these same conditions? All of our ancestors. It's just part of the process. I'm sure 99.99% of those laborers are happy to have a job. It's not a particularly pleasant truth, but one nonetheless.
     
  11. Not the guy

    Not the guy Well-Known Member

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    I fail to see how dragging Hasbro's name through the mud in western media will do anything to affect conditions in China.
     
  12. Deathknell

    Deathknell Well-Known Member

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    No wonder there are so many stolen figures from over there. You know I bet Hasbro could move production here to the states. Figures would probably be a bit more expensive but people buy the overpriced 3rd party stuff in bulk it seems. probably wouldn't hurt sales. IN fact it may force Hasbro to pay better attention to QC problems. Maybe not flood the pegs with so many warmers as well. I wouldn't mind fewer figures in a line with better quality and paint apps if it meant a few extra bucks. I mean come on how many people out there were spending $30 plus on the Takara Animated or Generations figures? Why? Better quality and paint.
     
  13. Cobalt Agent

    Cobalt Agent My dick kills dinosaurs

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    Why do you think they're in china in the first place?
     
  14. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    Barring improved conditions or international shifts in production habits, they'll likely just go do the same shitty job for another manufacturer. Or go back home to the rural areas and have a similarly shitty time of things.

    Hasbro and other western companies take advantage of these conditions in China. The lion's share of their customers are in the west, or at least consume western media. Raising awareness in said media drums up antipathy for these working conditions, and hopefully, for the companies that support them. Customers unhappy with company practices can influence them to change through direct complaint or withdrawl of business. This can lead companies to put pressure on their subcontractors in China and change working conditions.

    This is pretty much the case of things. Why WOULDN'T workers try to steal figures and test shots, when they know that one figure can be sold for what amounts to a week, or even a month's wages?

    However, you underestimate the increase of costs in the states. Not only are wages significantly higher (at least 7-8 times higher), but production in the states would require employers to devote much more resources to worker benefits, safe and healthy workplace conditions, meeting environmental and workplace safety standards, etc. Which would dramatically increase the cost of figures. Would you be willing to pay twice as much for your figures? What about three times as much? I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but it would require a similarly dramatic shift in how we consume.
     
  15. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Yeah this is pretty awful, but not surprising. ALL factories in third world countries are "sweat shops". Remember the expose a year ago about the high suicide rates in Apple assembly plants? Doesn't seem to have hurt iPad sales.

    I'm not defending this. We definitely have all sorts of unfair advantages, living in the privileged domains of the world (and really most of us have done nothing special to deserve that advantage... it's just luck of the draw). We have no idea how much our silly toys and other amenities really cost. There's not much to be done... big companies are always going to try to find places where they can get their products made for the lowest prices... but it would be a better world if there were some more universal standards in place. You don't necessarily need to "buy american", but it would be nice to know that there were better minimum working conditions and wages in these places.

    Hasbro doesn't own the factory, but they DO have the power to dictate conditions that their toys are made under. I think they still need to carry some blame for this kind of thing.

    zmog
     
  16. Pimpimus Prime

    Pimpimus Prime (┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐) TFW2005 Supporter

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  17. Secretcode

    Secretcode Keeper of Encarta Veteran

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    THat's the packaging for the upcoming Prime mainline in early 2012.
     
  18. wolfe

    wolfe Well-Known Member

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    It will be interesting to see what Hasbro ultimately does. The conditions are poor but anyone who has looked into it realizes this. Condtions will remain poor at all their factories until laws and such change.
     
  19. Stygian360

    Stygian360 Well-Known Member

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    Before we cast stones at Hasbro, let's keep in mind that many U.S. companies are currently involved in these practices- whether they are actively aware of it or not. This issue goes much deeper than one article and is more to do with the system of labor in China and other overseas companies than anything to do with malfescence on the part of Hasbro.

    Yes, U.S. companies are always seeking to lower their bottom line and many overseas manufacturers are forced to do anything they can to also lower theirs, but in most cases the conditions described in this article are a by-product of what the production plants do to their workers, and not Hasbro and any mandates or turning a blind eye on their part. By consequence perhaps you can hold Hasbro responsible, but as the recent announcement of Hasbro removing plastic from their packaging indicates, they are quite morally responsible.

    You're talking about a broken system. U.S. companies farming out labor to manufacturers who are willing to lower their worker standards to almost sub-human, in order to meet U.S. product quotas, but also indicative of overseas companies that are willing to enact sub-human standards and practices whether or not U.S. companies object.

    For instance; Wal-Mart was taken to task for similar practices and actually went out to Asian factories and do regularly inspect them for abuses; however, every worker knows that there are "showroom" factories that the U.S. management is allowed to see and review, and then the 'actual' factories where the sweatshop conditions continue. All of this kept going by corrupt overseas companies and or overseas management willing to do anything possible to keep ahead of their competition and continue partnerships with U.S. companies. In other words, even the best of intentions can still result in poor conditions for workers because it's the overseas companies who are willing to slave drive their workers, and U.S. companies that drive them to this because of the relentless need to keep the bottom line as low as possible.
     
  20. Transbot90210

    Transbot90210 Banned

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    Well if an entire country with over a billion people doesnt care for their people and allows this to happen then I have no issues buying the stuff.

    Sounds cold but China is becoming a super power off the backs of slave labourers. If the people of China don't like it they can do something about it. America can not be expected to babysit the world. I think they should but China doesn't welcome them so you get what you get in China, no respect for human life.
     
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