Xi’er is a sixteen-year old girl, the only child in her family, and loves school more than anything. Especially chemistry class. But she’s had to drop out of 11th grade because the family needs the income to pay for rent.
[[Today is your first day of work]]
This factory is one of many in the Huang empire franchise. They always pay their employees late, and mistreat their employees. But, Xi'er's father reminds her that she is lucky to have this job.
There are many people hungry for a job. And besides, the whole family has always worked for the Huang franchise.
In fact, the whole [[family story]] is wrapped up in the Huang factory
Xi’er’s mother and father met at the factory gates, married, and had Xi’er all within a few blocks of the grey smoke-stained building.
But that is not all. Many years ago, Xi'er's mother was in an accident while at work. She lost too much blood and the doctors were not able to help her. All because the factory equipment was faulty and needed repair. Today, Xi’er and her father are still paying the mountain of medical bills.
It was not always this way. But a few years ago, [[Huang Shiren]] inherited the factory and turned it upside down.Huang Shiren is a corrupt and fraudulent man. Not only does he create a bad working environment for the employees, he underpays the staff, steals from the business, and often sexually harasses the female workers.
Xi'er, fearing that she might end up as another one of his victims, wants to avoid all possible contact with Huang Shiren. But since she’s new, young, and pretty Huang Shiren has kept his eye on Xi’er since she walked in.
While on a tour around the factory, over the intercom Xi’er gets called to Huang Shiren’s office.
What should she do?
[[Option 1]]: Go, it’s her first day on the job so she should try to make a good first impression.
[[Option 2]]: Ask to go to the bathroom. It’s best to avoid Huang Shiren no matter the cost.
Xi’er goes to the office. Even though she did her best to avoid Huang Shiren, at the end of the day he is still her boss and her pay check relies on him. Making a good first impression will only help her future security at the factory. Maybe the rumors are false or exaggerated? These kinds of thoughts run through her mind as she makes her way up the stairs to his office.
Once she reaches the door of Huang Shiren’s office, Xi'er takes a moment before entering to catch her breath, reminding herself to avoid eye contact and to keep the interaction as short as possible. She opens the door and [[walks inside.]] Xi’er politely asks to be excused so she can use the bathroom and quietly slips away from the group. If she can get out of seeing Huang Shiren in person that would be best. She rushes off towards the bathroom and after getting inside shuts the door of the bathroom stall. She sits down on the toilet and tries her best to come up with the best excuse to get out of going to Huang Shiren’s office.
While in the middle of deciding on what excuse would be the most effective, the bathroom door swings open. Xi’er caught off guard quickly holds her breath and leans forward in an attempt to [[hear]] any type of clue to who could have just entered the bathroom.
Upon walking inside she sees Huang Shiren sitting at his desk. Xi’er’s eyes wander and explore his office, it’s significantly cooler and cleaner than the rest of the factory. Spacing out while gazing at the details of his office, Huang Shiren’s voice snaps Xi’er out of her mindlessness. Shocked and now fully realizing the situation she is in, Xi’er quickly faces the ground and tries her best to be as still and quiet as possible.
Huang Shiren stands up and approaches Xi’er and places his hand on her shoulder resulting in a shudder from Xi’er. The events that followed left Xi’er feeling dirty, ashamed, and overall devastated.
[[months later]] Heavy footsteps approach the bathroom stall Xi’er is occupying. Xi’er continues to hold her breath and begins to get anxious as the footsteps get closer and closer to where she is hiding. A loud knock on the bathroom stall makes Xi’er jump and gasp in fear. Now knowing that she has given her position away for sure, she responds to the knock with a timid hello.
The mysterious person behind the stall door responds and to Xi’er’s surprise the voice is that of a male. Xi’er in a panic gets up to leave under the assumption that she had entered the men’s bathroom in her rush to escape from having to go to Huang Shiren’s office. She opens the stall door and her heart stops. The man standing in front of her turns out to be Huang Shiren himself. Xi’er flustered and scared, attempts to slip past him to leave the bathroom. But before she even has the chance Huang Shiren stops her in her tracks. The events that followed left Xi’er feeling dirty, ashamed, and overall devastated.
[[months later]] For weeks after her experience with Huang Shiren, Xi’er felt sick. She tried her best to remove any and all memories from that day but no matter how hard she tried to distract herself, the memories kept tormenting her.
Box B: Xi'er can’t seem to escape Huang Shiren. His cologne makes her stomach turn, even in her nightmares. What is worse, Xi’er has noticed that all her friend’s at work have the same aversion to Huang Shiren’s supervision.
They meet at the cafeteria, try to warn each other, but it’s no use. Huang Shiren always finds somebody to torment. Male or female, everyone fears Huang Shiren’s volatile temper and no one dares stand up to him
Xi’er is angry and frustrated. [[She decides to do something about it]].
She decides to do something about it:
That night, Xi’er invites all the employees to her apartment. Everyone squeezes into the tiny shoebox apartment, every inch is occupied with someone who has lost something to Huang Shiren’s greed. And they want revenge.
What should Xi’er and her colleagues do?
Option 1: Xi’er should [[go back to the factory]] and help build a union with her coworkers. A labour movement would get compensation for everyone who has suffered at the hands of Huang Shiren and protect future employees. But it is risky and they could all lose their jobs.
Option 2: Xi’er should [[quit her job and go to the media]] to expose Huang Shiren. Such an exposé of the exploitation within the mighty Huang Empire could gain a lot of attention worldwide. But this would leave her without any proof of her abuse in her personnel file. However, by quitting Xi’er can protect all her friends’ jobs and make sure that the losses they endure are minimal.
Option 3: Xi’er should [[get herself fired]]. This is the most reckless option, but by making Huang Shiren fire her despite her perfect production record and model employee reputation, Xi’er can have all the documentation necessary for a wrongful dismissal legal case.
Xi’er is nervous about going back to the site of her abuse. She cannot sleep at night. But she has prepared everything. She was able to contact the perfect union which has all the necessary resources required for taking on the Huang Empire. Everyone’s union membership cards are signed, organized, and in her bag. That was all done with the help of [[Da Chun]]. Her favourite co-worker’s easy smile and earnest words were able to convince the necessary 45% of labourers to sign the cards. The only thing left to do is to certify the results!
The future of the union rested in the balance.
What is more likely do you think? To [[succeed]] or [[fail]]?Xi’er, although passionate about her cause shudders deeply at the thought of having to quit her job. If her story doesn’t gain any attention then her decision to quit would be all for nothing. On top of that, this means having to interact with Huang Shiren in order to quit.
Xi’er sits with these thoughts for a moment and finally comes to the conclusion that no matter what, she will do anything to help expose Huang Shiren and to protect her fellow work colleagues. Even if that means having to [[talk to Huang Shiren again]].
Xi’er knows what she needs to do, she has to make sure she gets fired as soon as possible. But how? Xi’er and her colleagues discuss the different ways in which she could get fired that would allow her to have a fair and reasonable case against Huang Shiren with lots of evidence. After a couple hours of debate they finally come up with the perfect plan. In order to expose Huang Shiren and get Xi’er fired wrongfully, they need to collect all the security footage from that horrible day and use it against him. Then, when Xi’er confronts Huang and tells him of her plan to expose him to the media knowing Huang he’ll explode. Firing her and causing a huge scene that another employee will secretly record providing even more evidence against Huang Shiren.
Within the next few days Xi’er and her fellow employees [[collect the evidence]] they need and carry on with their plan.
As she slowly ascends the stairs to Huang Shiren’s office, she tries her best to not show any emotion. Knocking on the door, Huang Shiren calls out to her. “Come in!” She takes a deep breath, ignores the fact that she is shaking uncontrollably and walks in confidently.
[[Fail 2]]Da Chun worked until the bones in his fingers ached from the assembly lines’ interminable supply of work. But his smile always seemed to reach his eyes and knew everyone in the factory by name. He worked extra hours in order to help Xi’er’s message reach new ears. He cared for her, but union cards were better than flowers to catch her attention.
He was her support and friend.
The workers union was surprised with the proportion of workers who were willing to sign their support for unionizing. If their boss found this document, they were sure to be at best fired and worse be met with ambushed pain and punishment. Luckily for them the union formed quickly and [[worked together]].
It had been five days of losing our wages. Today, the sun was searing our skin, and wilting our spirits, but nothing could distract us. Huang Shiren addressed the crowd, “Labourers! You are traitors and thieves. You must return to the factory at once. To repay the mighty Huang Empire, you will work without pay or breaks the next five days. You must produce double the quota. Anyone who makes any mistake in the assembly line will be fired and thrown out. ''Let the garbage dump be your home!''”
It had been five days of losing our wages. Today, the sun was searing our skin, but nothing could distract us. Huang Shiren addressed the crowd, “Labourers! We need to you to return to the factory. But we must do so as a family. After talking with your union representatives Xi’er and Dachun, as well as our lawyers, we have agreed to certain modifications of the work environment...”
The workers erupted. They could not believe their ears! Had Shiren really agreed?
“...such as sick days and compensation for loss of limbs”
Someone had light a firecracker and its loud bang was matched by the jubilant crowd’s energy
Shouts of “overtime,” “pension” “wage increase” were repeated throughout the courtyard and into the city outside the factory walls.
Huang Shiren had acquiesced and met all their demands. Including a [[strict no sexualized violence tolerance policy]].
This policy was the first of its kind, offering survivor centered support and safety. As a result, the Huang factory slowly became the safest workplace in the province.
Soon, Xi'er was reached by organizers, media, and other unions. She became the face of the worker's Mee Too movement. Her courage despite such profound pain stroke a chord with everyone who heard her story. More people came forward with their own stories and accountability swept through even the smallest factories in China. From outside the office the other workers can hear a commotion and loud voices coming from inside Huang Shiren’s office. In a matter of minutes Huang Shiren storms out of his own office and descends the stairs. All the other workers quickly turn away to avoid any uncomfortable eye contact.
After Huang Shiren is nowhere to be seen, Xi’er walks out of his office and gives a big smile to her colleagues. Everyone lets out a sigh of relief. She quit! She did it! Finally she can escape this place and help her friends and herself. First things first, she must go to her friend Da Chun who works for a well known media outlet. Xi’er is sure that he can help her with the exposé!
Xi’er leaves the office crying. Not only did she fail to get fired. Huang Shiren’s displeasure was so great he made her sit and listen as he called the editors of the nearest newspapers. They published stories the next day detailing Xi’er’s debt, leaked intimate photos of her body, and questioned her sanity. Everyone who read the story asked themselves what foolishness could propel someone to dare besmirch the great Huang name. Xi’er was greeted everywhere with people avoiding her eyes, hurled insults, and once even some rotten eggs were thrown at her.
Xi’er had every shred of her truth and dignity eviscerated by Huang Shiren.
The events followed as planned, it was perfectly executed. Now all that was left was to find a good lawyer willing to help Xi’er with her lawsuit against Huang Shiren. Da Chun, a lawyer who heard of Xi’er’s case and the need for a lawyer wanted to help. Together they gathered all the evidence and testimonies they needed to make the perfect case against Huang Shiren. There was no way this plan could fail! Right?
Money. In order to make this case work both Xi’er and Da Chun need the funds to support their case and themselves. Xi’er, now jobless and Da Chun genuinely wanting to help but unable to work for free, money was a necessity that they didn’t have access to. So what should they do? How can they make enough money in order to continue their case?
Option 1: [[Ask Xi’er coworkers for extra funds.]] They’ll be willing to help if it means there’s a possibility for justice!
Option 2: [[Go to the media and tell them Xi’er’s story.]] With enough media coverage and attention on their case, inside scoops and interviews could make them a pretty penny.
Ask Xi’er coworkers for extra funds. They’ll be willing to help if it means there’s a possibility for [[justice!]]
With enough media coverage and attention on their case, inside scoops and interviews could make them a pretty penny...[[right]]!?
All of Xi’er’s coworkers gave all they could in the hopes that the case could continue, but sadly since they are all underpaid and have a need for every cent earned in order to survive. So even after collecting all they could, no one had enough to push the case forward. Therefore Xi’er and Da Chun had to hold off on the lawsuit. As time passed Huang Shiren got anxious and harassed Xi’er and Da Chun to the point where they had to give up on the case all together in order to protect themselves and those they care about. Sometimes justice is simply not applicable to the working class’ pain.
With an overwhelming amount of evidence and support from fellow coworkers the media picked up Xi’er’s story. The story and case gained huge amounts of attention, starting protests and sparking the Me Too movement that swept the nation by storm.With enough money from interviews and donations from the general public, Xi’er and Da Chun went on to win the lawsuit case against Huang Shiren! Leading to Huang Shiren being ostracized, fired from his position at the factory, and shortly after being arrested and put away. Even after the case, Xi’er and her story continued to gain more and more attention even globally. Now she is a women’s rights activist and the reason that reforms have been put in place to protect workers jobs and rights.