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Factory Workers

May 1, 2013 | By Emily Alpert
Reeling from the deadly collapse of a building packed with thousands of factory workers, Bangladeshi laborers rallied Wednesday, marking May Day with renewed calls for workplace safety. The death toll steadily swelled in the aftermath of the disaster last week and continued to grow Wednesday as more bodies were pulled from the rubble, reaching 412 people killed in the collapse, according to theĀ  Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha national news agency. Outrage over the disaster spilled into May Day, an annual holiday meant to champion the rights of workers worldwide.
They may have bigger cars, larger apartments or new VCRs but, a year after winning a share of a $41-million jackpot, 19 of 21 factory workers are still working on an assembly line. "We're not poor, but we're not millionaires," said Kevin Fleming. The men, from 14 countries, had pooled their money and wound up with one of three winning tickets in the Aug. 21, 1985, New York state lottery drawing, which had a jackpot of $41 million to be paid out over 20 years.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina plans to introduce a resolution next week asking that officials consider restoring an industrial health program that critics say would benefit Latinos and others who toil in factories countywide, Molina's spokesman said Friday. Responding to a Times report on Latino factory workers, Molina "found it deplorable that government has turned its back on workers under the guise of budgetary constraints," spokesman Robert Alaniz said. Los Angeles County had an industrial health unit but dismantled it amid budget concerns more than 10 years ago--in apparent violation of state law, The Times found.
FMC Corp.'s farm-chemical business is humming. The result is that Allen Bailey worked all but four days between November and June--including weekends, including Christmas, including the first anniversary of his wedding to Sharon Bailey. Sixty-hour, seven-day workweeks are standard for the chemical technician. At least twice a month he works 16 hours straight.
While work-related fatalities throughout California and the United States have declined dramatically over the last century, death on the job has remained a fact of life. Nearly 10,000 workers were killed in 1991, according to the most recent figures available from the National Safety Council. Factory workers accounted for an estimated 800 of those deaths. In Los Angeles County in 1992, at least 10 people died in manufacturing-related accidents, including eight Latinos, coroner's records show.
July 9, 2006 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
In his classic 1936 film, "Modern Times," Charlie Chaplin has to work so fast tightening bolts in a steel factory that he finally goes crazy. In a memorable scene that has become a metaphor for labor exploitation, the Little Tramp is run through the factory's enormous gears. For President Hugo Chavez's socialist government, the film is more than just entertainment: It's become a teaching tool.
November 21, 1999
1900 Losers: Blacksmiths, buggy salesmen. Thank people like Henry Ford. Winners: Auto mechanics. The Model T is introduced in 1908, putting the car into the hands of the everyday driver. That's not always good. Winner: John D. Rockefeller. Boom in auto sales puts oil baron in position to control just about everything until the government busts him up in 1912. Losers: Factory workers. Conditions deplorable. Child labor. No overtime. Kind of like some overseas garment factories today.
December 3, 2006 | P.J. Huffstutter, Times Staff Writer
After spending most of his working life on an assembly floor at Ford Motor Co., Harold Jackson wasn't expecting many offers as he trudged into a job fair at the union hall. Here he was, a 40-year-old factory worker in a state that has lost about 110,000 auto jobs over the last six years. But John Riddle, a recruiter for CSX Transportation Inc., pressed forward out of the crowd to shake his hand. "Ever thought about moving to the East Coast? Ever wanted to be a train conductor?"
September 27, 2012 | Bloomberg News
Security teams wearing riot helmets and wielding plastic shields marched around a Foxconn Technology Group factory that had been the scene of a fight involving 2,000 workers. The campus used by 79,000 workers in Taiyuan in northern Shanxi province showed the damage caused by the Sunday clash among laborers that left more than 40 people hospitalized. Windows in a bathhouse, supermarket, arcade and parked cars were shattered. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou has moved in recent years to improve conditions at his factories after a spate of suicides.
January 12, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. auto industry plans to add thousands of jobs this year as sales continue to rebound and automakers look to produce more cars in the United States to sidestep currency woes overseas. The growth in domestic manufacturing is coming as U.S. auto sales are recovering from historic lows during the recession. "The yen, the euro, all the currencies that affect the manufacturers' balance sheets, except for the dollar, are in flux. So the only way to hedge is to build where you sell," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive.
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