They work 12-hour shifts, six days a week, on factory floors where temperatures can surpass 100 degrees. Lunch breaks are brief, sick days highly discouraged. Take too long coming back from the bathroom and it’ll be docked from the next paycheck.
When the shift ends, they collapse onto bunk beds in crowded dormitories far from home, staring up at ceiling fans, knowing that the next day they’ll do it again — all for less than $1.50 an hour.
Such is life for tens of thousands of laborers from Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries toiling in Malaysia to produce one of the pandemic’s essential items: rubber gloves.