Watch this intense film about a Russian steelworker

This striking visual profile of a worker at the gargantuan Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works by director Evgenii Bakirov features Vladimir, The Metallurgist. The Russian title (горновой [the mountain]) is Vladimir's nickname. Read the rest

Watch Depression-era machinists and laborers forge and mill steel parts

When watching assembly line robots of today, it's easy to forget that gruelling repetitive work used to be done manually. This beautiful footage from 1936 shows the precision needed, and it's beautifully lit and shot in black and white. Read the rest

These are the Chinese bros who make bras and underwear

This short documentary by Enric Ribes and Oriol Martínez is titled Xiong Di, which translates in English to "brother" or, according to the directors, "fellas."

"I repeat the same things every day,” says Qu Maomao, 27. “Same clothes, same place, same process." (Dazed)

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How tennis balls are made.

Those workers look like they love their job. They're really having a ball!

(via Devour)

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True Chinese factory horror stories Mike Daisey might have told, had he not been such a lying liar

At the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, India-based journalist Adam Matthews writes about the rising labor movement in China.

Below, a snip from his most recent piece on the phenomenon of "bloody factories" in China, which he argues is a far greater problem than Foxconn.

Matthews interviews a labor advocate and self-taught "barefoot lawyer" for migrant workers who have experienced workplace injuries; the man takes him on "a tour that even Daisey couldn’t have dreamed up."

We traveled through hardscrabble sections of Dongguan’s Tangxia Town, a factory town near the coast in Guangdong. He introduced me to a worker fired for organizing a union, a man denied overtime payments and a woman whose symptoms mirrored those of the Wintek workers. The notes about her on his printed spreadsheet were: “leg can’t move.”

That woman is Shi Yuping, a mother of two with short black hair, capris and flip-flops. Shi is in her late thirties but looks much older. We sat at a picnic table outside a convenience store as Shi told her story. Her husband Jiang Ancai stood nearby and listened.

Shi worked for a Hong Kong-owned plastics factory. The factory used a chemical as toxic as n-hexane to clean plastic parts. Shi fell ill during a trip home to Henan province to see her mother and her children (many migrant workers send children to stay with grandparents so the parents can both work). She received no compensation and no reimbursement for her 20-day hospital stay. “She called the company to ask for continuation of the leave,” Wang explained.

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