American Factory

Director: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
Year Released: 2019
Rating: 3.0

After a General Motors plant closed in Dayton, Ohio - causing thousands of workers to lose their jobs - Chinese industrialist Cao Dewang purchased the property and turned it into Fuyao Glass America, bringing in Chinese employees (far away from their families) to work alongside Americans ... except things get testy when the workers start discussing whether to unionize, which Cao is against (and spends money to suppress).  One of the major questions Bognar and Reichert are asking is whether or not people from different cultures (East versus West) can work together, and the answer is not really - on a trip to Fuyao in Asia, the workers there hustle non-stop with no holidays and few breaks and little safety ("safe doesn't pay the bills"): it's a glossy, brainwashed Modern Slavery system that, from my Western point-of-view, does not value human life.  It concludes on a chilling note: the threat of the Union coming in is gone (farewell job security!) and, as lawyer/author Andrew Yang has been warning everyone about, jobs lost due to automation ("technological unemployment") could (will?) be a serious issue going forward.  When you leave several thousand blue collar workers without any way to support themselves and their kin, what do you think will happen?  Or, maybe that's just a knee-jerk reaction: after all, banker Steven Mnuchin said the possibility of AI replacing humans is "not even on my radar screen."  Could it be that his radar was (raspberry) jammed by Lone Starr and Barf?