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2012/03/22

How Etch A Sketch Outsourced Manufacturing To China, Hundreds Of Ohio Workers Lost Jobs

-Who would buy a $20 etch a sketch!?

Mitt Romney came under fire today for an adviser comparing his campaign's ability to remake itself to an Etch A Sketch. But in Bryan, Ohio, Etch A Sketch is a symbol of the ravages of free trade, a central subject of the presidential campaign. The company exported production to China in 2000 to save money, laying off hundreds of workers at the Ohio Art Company, the manufacturer of the toy.

From Buzzfeed.

From New York Times December 7, 2003

Workers at Kin Ki Industrial, a leading Chinese toy maker, make a decent salary, rarely work nights or weekends and often ''hang out along the street, play Ping-Pong and watch TV.''
They all have work contracts, pensions and medical benefits. The factory canteen offers tasty food. The dormitories are comfortable.
These are the official working conditions at Kin Ki as they are described on paper -- crib sheets -- handed to workers just before inspections.
Those occur when big American clients, like the Ohio company that uses Kin Ki to produce the iconic toy Etch A Sketch, visit to make sure that the factory has good labor standards.
Real-world Kin Ki employees, mostly teenage migrants from internal provinces, say they work many more hours and earn about 40 percent less than the company claims. They sleep head-to-toe in tiny rooms. They staged two strikes recently demanding they get paid closer to the legal minimum wage.


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