[Guest post: Manfred Elfstrom is a PhD student at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Mr. Elfstrom was responsible for China programming at the International Labor Rights Forum and was Campaigns Coordinator at China Labor Watch.]
A series of exposés of labor conditions at factories supplying Apple have put Chinese workers in the western media spotlight again. Amid the important conversations that have been restarted about consumers’ responsibilities for supply chain abuses, something equally vital has been overlooked: the extraordinary degree to which Chinese workers are themselves taking action to improve their lives. My Ushahidi-powered website, China Strikes, attempts to document just that.
Ushahidi’s software is perfect for my project. It allows me to show my incident reports in a very easy to understand format. If there is anything I would improve, it would be the process of downloading data from the site: in the Excel sheet that is generated, there is not a separate column for each category I’ve created, meaning that I have to go through each report and separate out its elements again. This is a minor point, though—my experience with the site overall has been excellent and I look forward to building on what China Strikes has gathered so far, with help from all those who care about the future of the Chinese working class.