Posts Tagged ‘labor’

Unionmade Goods hipster clothing not actually union made. Whodathunk?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Unionmade Goods: unionbusters?

Via a rather pissed off AFL-CIOnow today, I came across a Gawker article about Californian clothing company Unionmade Goods. They sell upmarket priced downmarket looking clothing to the good hipster folk of the Bay Area.

All quite pleasant looking, if rather on the pricey side, and topped off with a woolly commitment to ethical sourcing, which is some way better than nowt for the fashion industry. But what’s this? Apparently the fact they’re called “Unionmade” and have a rip off US union logo,  is not to be taken as any kind of inference that unions have been involved at any point in the process. (more…)

Samsung Galaxy Note ethical teardown

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012


View Samsung Galaxy Note ethical teardown in a larger map

Work very much in progress here, but I wanted to take a look at how some of the supply chains fit together in a modern smartphone. The badge on the front of my shiny new device says Samsung, and the Korean electronics giant obviously did a large chunk of the work involved in making it, but there are technical and economic factors making the overall picture of its origins rather wider.

Given the pretty reliable maxim that if you turn over most stones you’ll find something creepy underneath, I thought I’d have a look at the bits that make up my gadget and see if I can find out a little more about they impact they’ve had around the world.

So here are my first two snippets of stone lifting so far… (more…)

Nokia Lumia 800 – Another Foxconn sweated smartphone?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Nokia announced themselves back in the smartphone race yesterday, with two forthcoming Windows 7 models, the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. They’ve lost ground hand over fist in recent years to Apple, HTC and Samsung phones. How long has it been since you last heard the once ubiquitous Nokia ringtone in the wild?

The Lumia 800 in particular looks like a pretty neato handset. So as I’m in the market for an upgrade at the moment, I thought I’d check it out a bit more. My upgrade choices (Samsung’s Google Nexus Prime, HTC’s Sensation XL and Apple’s iPhone 4s) all have some degree of question mark over their corporate ethics, so could do with some competition if I’m looking for a less unethical mobile (I realise I’ve no chance of an actively ethical one!). (more…)

Samsung: Not as evil as they have been…

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Samsung customer services have been rather less keen to engage with my quest for a more ethical smartphone than their counterparts at HTC. First, I was told my email couldn’t be answered by national customer services, only international (apparently Samsung email doesn’t have ‘forward’), to I’d have to resend. Then my email couldn’t be answered as it was about something that had to be discussed by posted correspondence only (apparently they don’t have a printer). Then (surprise, surprise) my letter was mysteriously lost.

I did inadvertently manage to get one useful bit of information out of them though. Samsung have for a long while been customers of sweatshop touchscreen outsourcer, Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO), who provide them with LCD touchscreens. However, as I was asking specifically about the Galaxy S2 model, I found out that as Samsung have been the pioneers in AMOLED screen technology, they built the capacity to make the new type of screens in house, rather than use screen suppliers. (more…)

Social media and activism: I wrote an essay… honest!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I’m not too proud of having been a lousy student. I don’t think I ever got an assignment in on time, and really found it a struggle to get much information out of libraries or lectures and into my head. Of course, since leaving uni for the world of work, I’ve found a big sop for my wounded pride in managmenty self awareness tests. It’s all because I’m an activist learner you see (not my fault whatsoever, honest!), and find it awkward to learn something unless I’m actually in the process of trying it at the same time.

So when I was asked to do an essay on union activists and social media for US academic journal WorkingUSA, I was a bit panicked. Luckily I managed to work it out by developing a presentation on many of the themes I wanted to cover, so I could test it out with different audiences first. The final essay “Connecting Activists” is now published in the current issue of WorkingUSA – go buy/loan a copy now! (more…)