The documentary opens with the closing of the GM factory, and the opening of Fuyao. Fuyao is a Chinese based company that opened up a glass factory in Dayton, Ohio. The company’s goal was to bring the Americans and Chinese together in order to create a functioning, American factory. During the initial opening of the factory, many of the workers were happy to be able to have a job to support themselves and their families. However, as time went by, it was obvious that the company had a difficult time functioning efficiently due to the cultural divide that existed. Language was initially a huge barrier as if any problems were encountered, or ideas shared, it took a while to translate between the languages to come to a conclusion. Another barrier that was encountered was the clash of cultures. The Chinese came from a country with strict working conditions (they worked 12 hours a shift, only had two days off per month, etc.), which contrasted with the American system with basic rights for workers (fair shifts, good pay, safety measures). As a result, the Chinese would work longer and harder than the Americans, which caused slight conflicts between the workers. This was especially seen in the conflict between the workers that were pro and anti-union. During the conflicts, many American managers and higher-ups were fired and replaced with Chinese employees, and many pro union workers were fired as well. Jobs became strenuous as more tasks were given to one or two people. Towards the end, many of the employees were replaced with machines. Still, no groups had the same opinion on the conflicts at hand. Though some people were angered by the unfairness of the company, others were grateful for the opportunities that were provided to them.
This documentary was very moving in my opinion. One thing that I appreciated was the way everyone’s perspective was shown, where no one was shown to be right or wrong. It was very unbiased in a way that allowed for the audience to understand the feelings of those involved. By getting to know the story behind each person, the audience was able to understand the motivations that led people to take the actions they did. One of the most interesting things about the documentary was the cultural divide. I enjoyed the fact that though the workers came from two totally different cultures, they still tried to work on their bonds and work for the betterment of the company. I truly thing the only problem to be found was that the two cultures have two different work ethics. Though both groups are hard working, they seem to have different thoughts when it comes to the functionality of the job. Whereas the Chinese strive for quantity and a structured work place (more focus on the group), the Americans focus more on safety and workers’ rights (focus on individual). However, the two cultures are still connected in that each person’s main goal is to be able to provide for themselves and their families in order to live better lives. This shows to me that no matter how different humans are around the world, we almost always have the same goal where we work together in order to survive. I personally do not like how Fuyao went about in terms of running their business. I really think they should have provided their workers with safer conditions, give them higher pay, and even more breaks… especially for their workers in China. Still, I think this is a great documentary to watch as an IA scholar as it depicts that there isn’t a single, right answer to any problem. It is important to understand everyone’s perspective in situations that involve so many people, because no story is the same for any one person.