DaiseyHe’s the former Seattle author, actor and monologist whose breakthrough book, 21

DaiseyHe’s the former Seattle author, actor and monologist whose breakthrough book, 21 Dog Years, recounted his riotous customer-service career at Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com (where “Amazon Time was equivalent to dog years”). Now it’s Mike Daisey’s monologue about another tech mogul, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” recently broadcast on National Public Radio – that is credited with helping force Apple to take a closer look at the labor practices of its Chinese factories. On Monday, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) began conducting “special voluntary audits” of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn Technology factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request. The move comes as officials at the Shenzhen plant strung nets around its facility to catch workers in mid-air when they try to commit suicide jumping of the roof. Labor activists say employees, some grade-school age, work around the clock; one died on the job after 34 hours on the assembly line.Daisey, active in the Seattle arts and theater scene until moving to New York, clandestinely visited the Foxconn plant as research for his one-man presentation of the Jobs monologue, a commentary on the hidden human costs when Apple (and other U.S. corporations) farm out production to cash in on China’s sweat shop labor. The actor tells of labor so repetitious that it leaves worker hands deformed. He saw pre-teens on the assembly lines and asks “Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?”As Seattle Weekly reviewer Kevin Phinney said of Daisey’s monologue when he performed it here last year, “The Agony aims to do for Jobs and Apple what Al Gore did for the SUV in An Inconvenient Truth.” Now, four months after Jobs’s death, Apple clearly is reacting to such criticism. As Forbes

reported yesterday:Over the last six weeks, news coverage, especially in the New York Times, a theater piece by activist actor Mike Daisey that was broadcast on National Public Radio, and an online petition drive and coordinated protests at Apple stores on four continents, have put increasing pressure on Apple, which has been criticized for years for relying on Chinese suppliers that abuse workers.The Times reported in January that two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. And within a seven-month period in 2011, explosions at iPad factories in China killed four people and injured 77, after Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the plants.Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others. In an appearance last night on The Ed Show on MSNBC, the heavy-set Daisey, dressed in the usual black attire he wears onstage, said he was delighted Apple was finally reacting, whatever its motivation, though he had concerns about the audit independence of the FLA, since it has a cozy relationship with Apple.Daisey also said he’s planning to post the Jobs monologue transcript on his web site, and allow anyone to steal it and use it as their own – no royalties necessary. He hoped to release it this week but the Apple announcement delayed him, he says in a web message: “But it is coming soon, and the massive response, from nine different countries and hundreds of emails clamoring for the piece, is deeply encouraging.”Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Joann and Allan Thomas are flanked in court by their attorneys Terrence Kellogg (fourth from the right) and John Henry Browne (far right) on May 10, 2022. Judge Richard Jones is presiding over the case. Sketch by Seattle-based artist Lois Silver
At drainage district corruption trial, it’s a tale of dueling conspiracies

Allan and Joann Thomas are in trial in Seattle on fraud charges.

Most Read