Chinese factory laborers call jobs like Hunter’s “working the screws.” Until recently, the 34-year-old worked on the iPhone 14 Pro assembly line at a Foxconn factory in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou. His task was to pick up an iPhone’s rear cover and a tiny cable that charges the battery, scan their QR codes, peel off adhesive tape backing, and join the two parts by tightening two screws. He’d then put the unfinished phone onto a conveyor belt that carried it to the next station.
Hunter had to complete this task once every minute. During a normal 10-hour shift, his target was to attach 600 cables to 600 cases, using 1,200 screws. Every day, 600 more unassembled iPhones awaited him.
“I feel we have no rights and dignity inside the workshops,” Hunter, who asked to be identified by his nickname, told Rest of World in a call after work one day. “Some line leaders just can’t live a day without scolding people.” He hated the humiliation and tediousness of the production line job, but he gritted his teeth. The pay would be worth it.