As Frozen Dolls Fly Off Shelves, Better Disney Factory Working Conditions Sought

A Washington, D.C.-based green economy organization is calling on Americans to send Disney CEO Robert Iger messages about “significant labor abuses” in Chinese factories that make toys and dolls sold at Disneyland, other Disney theme parks and stores. 

“Americans purchasing Frozen toys for their kids this holiday season need to know the truth behind the toys: Disney is using factories in China that engage in exploitative practices,” says Todd Larsen, executive co-director of consumer and corporate engagement at Green America (formerly Co-op America). “We’re asking all consumers to put pressure on Disney to address labor abuses in its factories, and we encourage consumers to purchase sustainable green toys this holiday season.”

Disney spokespeople have previously said the company takes “seriously” and “thoroughly investigates” claims of labor standards violations against the independent facilities producing Disney-branded products.

Green America is leap-frogging off a recent report from China Labor Watch entitled “The Dark World of Disney” that allegedly found significant labor violations at two Disney supplier factories in China: Lam Sun Plastic Products Co. Ltd and Dongguan Zhenyang Toy Limited Co., both in Dongguan, Guangdong province.

Workers at those plants labored for 12 hours per day with brief rest breaks, cramped dormitories with unhygienic facilities, low pay ($1.32 per hour), and forced overtime, according to China Labor Watch, which has documented similar allegations at several other factories making Disney products.

Another nonprofit, Hong Kong-based Worker Empowerment, claims to have documented similar abuses at similar factories, including the failure to provide severance pay for workers at closed Disney supplier Mizutani Toy Factory Co. Ltd in Shenzhen.

“The beautiful world of Disney is merely a fairytale,” says Li Qiang, founder and executive director of China Labor Watch, in the Green America release. “The real world is one where evil has triumphed over good, and where profits triumph over conscience. We need those who seek justice to come together and fight the villains in the world of Disney, to create a world where Disney is wholeheartedly kind and just.”

The three groups say they will continue to fight for: living wages for workers, so that workers need not rely on excessive overtime just to make ends meet; strictly voluntary overtime work and payment for all overtime hours worked; payment for all mandatory job-related activities including group meetings, training and on-boarding, including back pay for workers who were denied payments in the past; hygienic and safe housing for workers; pre-job safety training that adequately prepares workers and informs them of risks to their short-term and long-term health, and how to reduce these risks; safe work environments, including free and easy access to safety equipment, and health screenings/exams, and clear and unlocked fire escapes; access to union protections; and severance payments for workers who lose their jobs when Disney supplier factories close.

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