A year after Walt Disney Co. banned Hao Wei Metal Plastic Manufactory as a supplier, Huang Renzhong got a job there sculpting melted globs of poly-resin into statuettes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Snow White, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Starting at 8 a.m., Huang regularly pulled 15-hour shifts. Sometimes he worked through the night in the dust-filled factory. Sometimes a month would pass before he had a day off. He said he was never compensated for overtime.
When he demanded back pay, he said, the factory owner threatened to have him beaten up.
Huang and four co-workers sued the labor bureau in Shenzhen, scoring a victory when a court ruled that the bureau hadn't properly considered their demand for more than $90,000 in unpaid wages. The ruling, and the five workers' audacity, was extraordinary in China. The local press picked up the story.
It was only then, Disney executives said, that they learned that Hao Wei Metal Plastic Manufactory was still in the business of making Disney merchandise. Hao Wei ran afoul of the code of conduct that Disney asks manufacturers to follow, but the company was powerless, the executives said, because it was unaware.
If that seems implausible, consider the way Disney, like many other multinational corporations, has managed its international supply chain.
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