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Human Rights Organization Blows Whistle on Huffy

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SHENZHEN, China (19 May 2000)–A recent report by the National Labor Committee for Human Rights has shed negative light on US bicycle manufacturer Huffy’s. Under the title ‘Huffy Bikes Made in China Sold at Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart’, the report outlines the working conditions at the Baoan Bicycle Factory I in Shenzhen, China, a major production […]

SHENZHEN, China (19 May 2000)–A recent report by the National Labor Committee for Human Rights has shed negative light on US bicycle manufacturer Huffy’s. Under the title ‘Huffy Bikes Made in China Sold at Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart’, the report outlines the working conditions at the Baoan Bicycle Factory I in Shenzhen, China, a major production hub for Huffy (Germini and Tec also produce there, but in smaller quantities) for bicycles destined for the US, Canada and Europe. The report also names other US manufacturers like Jansport, New Balance, Nike, Spiegel, Timberland and the Kathie Lee Gifford label sold at Wal-Mart. A brief article concerning the Huffy allegations appeared on the Bicycle Retailer website on 11 May. Since then, the US trade magazine has received numerous responses from dealers concerned that the news will bring about bad press (or even a boycott) not only for Huffy bicycles, but for the entire industry. In response, one industry veteran noted that in his 18 years of visiting Chinese factories the conditions “are nothing like I have heard about.” The National Labor Committee for Human Rights report states that Chinese workers at the Baoan Bicycle Factory I are forced to work 13.5-15 hour work shifts seven days a week, that failure to work overtime is punished with a fine of two days’ wages, that no health insurance or social security pension is provided, that there is no talking during working hours and that they receive two meals a day of poor quality food.Moreover, if workers complain or attempt to raise a grievance about the harsh working conditions, the excessively long forced overtime hours or their low wages, they are immediately fired. The Baoan Bicycle Factory I employees 700 to 800 workers with wages ranging from 25 to 41 US cents an hour. The report also points out that Huffy wages in China are less than 2% of what they paid in the US. For the complete National Labor Committee for Human Rights report log onto www.nlcnet.org/report00/huffybikesdox.htm. (JW)

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