Friday, January 19, 2007

"Monster Cable Stole our Future" Worker Testimony

“I worked at Monster Cable for 8 years. I have four children who are ages one, six, eight, and ten; and my husband was recently been laid off from his job, too. I don’t have money for rent, to buy food for my children, or buy health insurance. The boss says his economic situation is hard, but I think that my economic situation as a laid-off worker, is much harder. All we’re asking for is what’s fair.”

Jie Qiu Li, laid-off Monster Cable worker, 8 years service

“ I worked for Monster Cable for 18 years, using up the “spring” of my life in the Monster Cable factory. Through our hard work, we helped Monster Cable achieve today’s success. I have three children to support. We deserve fair treatment from the company that we made wealthy!”

Amy Guo, laid-off production worker, 18 years at company

“I worked at Monster Cable for 19 years. Now I’m over 60 years old, like
many of us who were laid off. It’s very hard to find work at my age. After all our years working so hard for Monster Cable, it’s not fair .”

Polly Buu Ly, laid-off production worker, 19 years at company

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

1/10/07: Workers Disrupt MacWorld Convention and Expo, Ask Apple to Tell Noel Lee to Stop Being Such a Monster

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 12:30 pm, over 50 laid-off Monster Cable workers and their supporters marched from Yerba Buena Gardens to various retailers including the Apple Store, CompUSA, Radio Shack and then to the MacWorld Conference and Exposition at Moscone Center. Laid-off workers marched to expose the hypocrisy of Monster Cable CEO Noel Lee’s claims that he can’t afford to treat workers fairly, and call upon Apple Computers, Inc., which sells various Monster Cable Products, to tell Monster Cable “Stop being such a Monster!”

At both Radio Shack and CompUSA, while protesters marched outside and handed out flyers, a small delegation of workers was turned away from the store. Workers planned to deliver a brief message and letter to store managers, but the managers refused even to speak with the three workers who entered the store. At the Apple Store, the entire group entered the store. The manager Tim Cherven agreed to speak with the delegation if the rest of the workers left, and subsequently agreed to relay the message of the workers and appeal for Apple’s support, to the district-level and corporate headquarters.

At MacWorld, workers entered the lobby on Moscone North and refused to leave until a senior-level management from the conference organizers came to speak with them. Security finally forced workers to move just outside the convention hall doors, on the grounds that they were creating a fire hazard. The Public Relations Manager of IDG (the group that produces MacWorld) Charlotte McCormack, informed workers that she contacted Apple but that the Public Relations Manager was off-site. She said that he has been contacted via e-mail and phone about this issue. Because there was nobody else who could to represent the company, Ms. McCormack agreed to relay the message and letter intended for Steve Jobs to the company. Workers continued to protest outside, calling on Apple to support worker justice, and drawing the attention of hundreds of MacWorld convention-goers. A huge red banner was hung briefly from the pedestrian sky-walk across Howard Street. It read, “Apple and MacUsers: Join our Fight Against a Real Monster! Monster Cable Workers Deserve Respect and Justice”.

1/9/07: “Head Monster” Says He Can’t Afford More for Workers; Throws “World-Class” Concert in Las Vegas at CES 2007

After weeks of protest, “’Head Monster’ Noel Lee finally met with worker representatives during the holidays, only to tell them he doesn’t have money to offer them a fair severance or support the community that made him wealthy. Meanwhile Monster Cable is organizing an expensive star-studded awards ceremony and concert for over 4,000 people at CES 2007, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, boasting that this annual show has “become the biggest social event of CES in Las Vegas.” (Monster Cable press release, December 13, 2006) -

“A small group of us finally met with Noel Lee, Monster Cable CEO on Dec. 30th. He told us that company finances were not good, and so he could not meet our demands,” says Yijun Huang, who worked at the factory for over 16 years. “And yet, we know that the company owns several dozen fancy sports cars and is throwing an expensive concert at the Las Vegas CES. Clearly, they are doing well! Unfortunately, the CEO doesn’t want to pay any attention to laid-off workers, so we are going to more retailers and to MacWorld. We hope that Apple will help us put some pressure on Monster Cable.”

Workers are turning to Apple Computers Inc. and to electronics consumers to tell Mr. Lee “Stop being such a monster!” They hope to raise awareness about the plight of Monster Cable workers and more broadly, the issue of labor practices in the electronics industry. Currently, Monster Cable Inc. makes a number of products for Apple Computers Inc., including the iTV link, iEZClick, iSplitter, iCruze, iCarPlay, iCable and iStudioLink, with cost up to $100 per product.

12/22/06: "Monsterous" Christmas Carols at factory holiday party

On Friday, Dec. 22, at 2:00 pm, over 100 laid-off Monster Cable workers and their community supporters gathered outside of the Monster Cable factory during their Annual Holiday Party to deliver a giant Christmas card and sing “Monsterous” Christmas carols created by workers and supporters to call on CEO Noel Lee’s “holiday spirit” to fairly resolve the concerns of laid-off workers and address their long term issues of unemployment.

“After CEO Noel Lee refused to meet with workers about their concerns, last weekend workers took there issues to major retailers such as Home Depot, Radio Shack, Circuit City, Cambridge SoundWorks and Guitar City and received support from local store managers,” said Shaw San Liu, Chinese Progressive Association organizer. “But still, hundreds of workers are left with no Christmas this year.”

A small delegation of workers went to deliver the giant card to CEO Noel Lee, but were asked for their party tickets at the door by company lawyer Dave Tognotti. Having been laid off and no not invited to the party, they of course had none. Subsequently Tognotti asked workers to leave, not allowing them to deliver the card, and told them he would notify Mr. Lee. After nearly an hour of waiting, workers finally asked a police officer to go inside the party and get a company representative (Sue Sami, HR Manager) to come out and receive Mr. Lee's card. Workers marched just outside the party, chanted and sang Monsterous Christmas carols despite the cold and wind. Workers were joined by supporters from various community groups, including the SF Day Laborer Program, Young Workers United, POWER, and others.

12/16/06 Workers Deliver Candy Canes to Retailers

On Saturday, Dec. 16, over 100 laid-off Monster Cable workers and their community supporters gathered at the Southwest corner of Van Ness and Sutter to hold a press conference and holiday march for justice. Workers and community supporters marched up Van Ness Ave to deliver candy canes to major electronics retailers who carry Monster Cable Products. They asked retailers and consumers to call on CEO Noel Lee’s “holiday spirit” to fairly resolve the concerns of laid-off workers and received positive responses from Cambridge SoundWorks and the Guitar Center store managers.

Most recently, CEO Noel Lee left workers hanging on Monday, Dec. 11th , when he failed to show up to a scheduled meeting with him, company executives, and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Workers were disappointed and requested to re-schedule the meeting, but were informed by company representatives that Mr. Lee was unavailable and that the severance package was not up for negotiation. “It’s the holiday season, but the attitude of Monster Cable has been anything but one of giving. In stark contrast, the company’s approach has been to ignore laid-off workers and their concerns,” said Shaw San Liu, Organizer for the Chinese Progressive Association.

“The boss has made it clear that he is not concerned about us, and is treating us disrespectfully. This is not the right attitude of a high-level CEO,” says Yijun Huang, who worked for 16 years at Monster Cable’s Brisbane factory and was only offered 4 weeks of severance pay. “His behavior is extremely disappointing to us. All he wants is talk about how well he treated us in the past, without any sincere intention to resolve our current issues—a fair severance and support for a community transition fund.”

12/05/06: Worker Press Conference with San Francisco Board of Supervisors

At 11:00 am on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006, over 100 immigrant workers and community supporters will rally on the steps of City Hall to declare that workers shouldn’t have to pay the price for “Monster Profits”. They demand that Monster Cable take responsibility for outsourcing their livelihoods overseas by paying a fair severance package and contributing to a Worker and Community Transition Fund to mitigate the long-term impacts of mass layoff on the community. They will be joined by members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who will be introducing a resolution that day to support the demands of the laid-off workers. Since early November, workers made their demands in person and in writing to management, and at time of press, have received no response.