December 27, 2012 AT 12:00 am

Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China

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Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China @ NYTimes.com.

CHENGDU, China — One day last summer, Pu Xiaolan was halfway through a shift inspecting iPad cases when she received a beige wooden chair with white stripes and a high, sturdy back.

At first, Ms. Pu wondered if someone had made a mistake. But when her bosses walked by, they just nodded curtly. So Ms. Pu gently sat down and leaned back. Her body relaxed.
The rumors were true.

When Ms. Pu was hired at thisFoxconn plant a year earlier, she received a short, green plastic stool that left her unsupported back so sore that she could barely sleep at night.

Eventually, she was promoted to a wooden chair, but the backrest was much too small to lean against. The managers of this 164,000-employee factory, she surmised, believed that comfort encouraged sloth.

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