Movie: "American Factory" on Netflix

I just saw the movie, “American Factory,” on Netflix.

American Factory (Chinese: 美国工厂) is a 2019 American documentary film directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, about Chinese company Fuyao’s factory in Moraine, a city near Dayton, Ohio, that occupies Moraine Assembly, a shuttered General Motors plant. It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Filmed from February 2015 until the end of 2017, Reichert and Bognar were granted filming access by Fuyao at both their Ohio and Chinese plant locations. They filmed the workers on the factory floor as well as the executives.

About half the film is in English and half is in Chinese with English subtitles.

I feel that this film is outstanding and extremely relevant to the Macro economy in both the U.S. and in China.

The contrast between the Chinese workforce (disciplined, highly motivated, fast and focused on their work, despite very long hours, few days off and low pay) and the American workers (slow, whiny, entitled, sullen) is so sharp that if this had not been a fly-on-the-wall documentary I would have thought the writers cooked up stereotypes to make the American workers look bad. The Chinese workers appeared eager to do their jobs. The American workers’ body language and eye rolls showed that they felt put upon by management since their incomes were lower than their (UAW negotiated) GM incomes.

Worker disaffection appears rampant in the U.S.

First It Was Quiet Quitting, Now Workers Are Facing Off With Their Bosses

Employee frustrations impact productivity and worker retention, Gallup says

By Lindsay Ellis, The Wall Street Journal, Updated June 13, 2023

Half of workers aren’t engaged on the job, putting in minimal effort to get by, according to research by Gallup released Tuesday. Employee engagement, a measure of involvement and enthusiasm at work, in the U.S. declined for the second year in a row. There is also a growing share of the workforce that is disengaged, or resentful that their needs aren’t being met. In some cases, these workers are disgruntled over low pay and long hours, or they have lost trust in their employers…

Workers at insurer Farmers Group called to unionize and some pledged to quit after a new chief executive said he would require most workers to be in the office three days a week. workers demonstrated at lunch recently against a hybrid-work policy with three days in the office a week… [end quote]

Is it any wonder that productivity is falling? Workers who were spoiled by being able to work from home are pushing back against actually having to come into the office.

A friend of mine who has worked in the semiconductor manufacturing industry in both the U.S. and China said that they should re-make the film using TSMC as an example. She feels that TSMC will not be able to effectively reproduce its Taiwanese success in the U.S. for lack of a competent work force.

The trade deficit has not yet returned to its pre-Covid level.

An entrepreneur watching these trends would not build manufacturing in the U.S.



State workers are worse as far as all of this can go. Not all state workers.

My neighbor went to Brazil for 4.5 months when her mother got Covid. Mother was in a comma for 4 months.

Now sadly the mother is possibly going to pass and she is down in Brazil again.

She works for a state hospital. The first time she came back to save her job when her mother was out of the comma. This time I do not know the terms of her employment but they are getting pushed at about six months leave.

The kids at work are good. Not perfect but truly good. The best at age 19 is excellent and becoming a supervisor in his first year.

I can not discuss who I work for but some face raises as minimum wage has increased. There is a worry among them that they wont get a raise. They will be. There is talk of a walk out that in their minds involves stuff they learn in college classes. It does not apply in this situation but it is driving a few of them batty thinking that way.

The kids over all have higher expectations. That means they can not be happy. Does not matter what the terms are. The expectation wont settle down.

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Not at all. The most productive and talented workers who can find WFH opportunities elsewhere we leave, and the new Farmer’s CEO will be left with an office staffed with the less capable hands.



Don’t worry. The Chinese workers will be broken down and bitter soon enough.


Ya figure? After decades of stalled wages? They should unionize to get some leverage.

And “spoiled” by work from home? These workers are the lucky few lifted by modern technology, getting some physical and financial respite from long commutes. Good for them!

Why would the author not get this?

Oh, right, she’s writing for The Wall Street Journal.


EXACTLY! In the first year of the pandemic, Simon Segars (the CEO of Arm back then) said numerous times he was surprised and thrilled at the productivity during full lockdown. At least in my industry WFH is not a problem in terms of worker productivity. But it saves many of us stupid amounts of time in time-sucking commutes that do nothing but detract from quality of life. The WSJ is clueless here.


UAW’s defeat comes after a stinging loss it suffered in the U.S. Deep South in August.

The vote, which began on Wednesday, involved roughly 1,500 workers at the Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co Ltd plant in Moraine, a Dayton suburb that was once home to a large, unionized General Motors Co assembly plant.

The union lost by a nearly two-to-one margin, with 868 votes against union representation and 444 votes for.


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I wonder why it failed.

“… a barrage of anti-labor tactics and intimidation by management.”

“…the current climate of fear of job losses”

“… 15 Ohio Republican state representatives wrote an open letter urging employees to reject”

And all they want is a bump from $10/hr and a safe workplace.


And the commute is time devoted to work that you don’t get paid for. No shocker people don’t like it.

And I’ll go on record as saying the office is not a good place to get productive work done. There are too many distractions, especially now the “open office” has become popular. To wit, here is a picture of Facebook’s famous open office. It looks like a dystopian hellscape. And note the number of empty desks. The serious workers are someplace else where they can focus.


Actually they should start their own company.



Why should workers have to start their own company just to get decent wages and benefits?


It’s OK for doctors (American Medical Association), lawyers (American Bar Association), and various trade groups representing corporations, etc. to have “unions” representing their interests. But when labor does it, it’s a big no no. And they’ve been successful in getting the most racist, ignorant and innumerate 35% of the population to support this anti-union nonsense. It’s really a wonder to watch people act against their economic interests and then blame blacks and Hispanics for their poor life outcomes.

The fact this has gone on for so long likely means it’s hereditary. {LOL}



If you think people vote against their own interests, then the chances are you have misunderstood their interests.

(And don’t forget that unions are not cost free).


Of course they’re not free. The AMA, ABA, and various industry trade groups all have annual dues and fees, just like unions. It’s just a question of whether a union is delivering more in benefits and wage increases (or preventing price competition or regulation in the case of those other groups) that its annual membership cost. Some do, some don’t.



The attempt at organizing the VW plant in Chattanooga a few years ago also failed. In that case, VW favored the union, but the local PTB, and the state government fought against it.

In Michigan, a few yeas ago, when the (L&Ses) and the Gov were all Shiny, a “right to work” law was passed, which would have had the effect of defunding the unions. as workers could receive the wages and benefits the union fought for, without paying union dues.

The 2022 election flipped both houses of the legislature. The current Gov and new legislative leadership repealed the “right to work” law.

The former Gov (a JC himself) has reengaged in state politics, with the stated intent of flipping the government Shiny, so the “right to work” law could be reenacted.



Why would you want to hold somebody down working for someone else, paying a fee to a union for a job, when they can put their time and energy into creating work for their family that will always keep them employed and their wealth increases?



It’s worked exceptionally well for me!

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As the holder or the holdee?


Why not? Because the probability is TOO HIGH that their time and energy will be wasted and their family will suffer. Most of the people I know are not cut out to be entrepreneurs, especially in the extremely uncertain environment of our times (e.g. the internet destroyed thousands of hard working but too old fashioned shop keepers). I was cut out for it, and I remain deeply grateful to my hardworking employees.

The tendency (actually the strategic intent of the JC flacks) to glorify and worship JC’s (I expect the most famous longtime JC would laugh but wince) is sickening.


Good for them, but also good for hardworking workers. I hope more of the workers wake up and stay awake…

david fb
(woke since birth, screaming in both joy and anguish)


That is a little to elitist for me. Most of the people I know can run their own business’s. Maybe not in the rarefied business sense that you are talking about but you don’t have to know how to run the internet to have a business as an Electrician, plumber, air conditioning, framer, lawncare, arborist, barber, Ford automobile dealer, or many other jobs out there. It is amazing what people can do when they put their mind to it.