Angry Chinese Employees Release U.S. Boss Held Captive

chip starnes president specialty medical supplies held captive china employees severance
Andy Wong/APChip Starnes, president and co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies.
By Sabrina Mao and Terril Yue Jones

BEIJING -- Chinese factory workers Thursday released their U.S. boss, held captive for a week, after a compensation dispute was resolved, a company official and union representative said.

Chip Starnes, president of Specialty Medical Supplies, in the Beijing suburb of Huairou, was allowed to leave the factory and was resting in a hotel, the company official said.

The workers had demanded severance packages identical to those offered to 30 employees who were recently laid off, even though the firm planned no further layoffs, Starnes said earlier.

"The mass labor dispute incident for this unit has been resolved," said Chu Lixian, head of the rights and interests department of the Huairou District Labour Union.

"Both sides have come to an agreement through joint efforts made by Mr. Starnes and the workers' side. The results have turned out to be satisfactory."


The workers' demands followed rumors that the entire plant was being closed after the company's plastic injection molding division began a move to India to lower production costs.

"As of now my boss Chip feels exhausted after two harsh days and has gone back to a hotel, okay?" Specialty Medical General Manager Xing Shuang told Reuters Television. "This is all I have to say."

Starnes spent the week inside the plant, which produces alcohol pads and plastic blood lancets for diabetics, behind barred windows. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

The stand-off highlighted one of the lesser-known risks of doing business in China -- that trust between workers and management, and faith in the legal system, is often low.

Starnes, whose company is based in Florida, flew to China on June 18 and his detention started Friday.




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29 Comments

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lawlady50

Let them come up with their own companies. We shouldn't give jobs to criminals.

July 01 2013 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jean

Oh boo hoo. I guess when American businesses choose to take their business overseas and hire foreign workers they deserve what they get. I guess the internet is opening up a whole world to these low paid workers and they are starting to demand more pay for their work.

June 27 2013 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ectullis

China to India, where next?

June 27 2013 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
avanticrzy

MAYBE U.S. WORKERS SHOULD USE THIS AS AN EXAMPLE WHEN A COMPANY HERE WANTS TO MOVE IT PRODUCTION TO CHINA........................

June 27 2013 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maverick

I'll take a job - any job - if everyone/anyone in the world were paid the same amount to work 'any job' - would that be socialism?

June 27 2013 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
magsmom1101

I'd get the he.ll. out of there if I was him. Those chinese can't be trusted!

June 27 2013 at 6:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
vajimj

Bring the jobs back home to the USA!

June 27 2013 at 5:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vajimj's comment
magsmom1101

The unions caused this, GET rid of them first!

June 27 2013 at 6:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to magsmom1101's comment
amesmanjeff

Sorry, but the union's aren't the problem. The problem is that these coprorate pigs know they can hire all the 13-year-old Pakistanis they can find to do manufacture this cheap plastic crap in asbestos-laiden death traps of factories for $2.00 a week. All those jobs will come back to America when we're willing to work in even crappier factories for $1.95 a week. That's the conservative way baby!

June 27 2013 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
funsitesonly

mags...
umm... Perhaps if they "had" a union... it would not be a problem...

June 27 2013 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Newquest

The Chinese have NOTHING that we need. There are other countries who have cheap labor and some of them even have BRAINS! We should Walk Away from China and thank our lucky stars that we won't be forced to use all the ILLEGAL items they send over here that are TAINTED, DANGEROUS, and of SUCH LOW QUALITY that there is no money to be made! They are NOT a forward thinking, honest country with INTREGITY! We should NEVER deal with them, they'll stab us in the back after they sell us their low quality goods!

June 27 2013 at 3:43 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
lainie

This is the definition of comeuppance. Good for them!

June 27 2013 at 3:36 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lainie's comment
Newquest

In what way? They thought they should get MONEY because the people who were LAID OFF got MONEY! Oh Course they didn't get the Severance money, they WERE NOT being LAID OFF. What part don't you get? You think they should get money for being laid off EVEN though they were the ones who KEPT their jobs?! Are you 10 years old?

June 27 2013 at 3:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Newquest's comment
sadiemae1214

Are YOU 10 years old?
"The workers' demands followed rumors that the entire plant was being closed after the company's plastic injection molding division began a move to India to lower production costs" They wanted the same package IF the plant closed.

June 27 2013 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
likeadaydream78

this guy was a scumbag. didnt pay his workers for two months, and then tried to close shop and run. he deserved what he got

June 27 2013 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to likeadaydream78's comment
heavymetalkc

Really, where did you read that he didn't pay his workers for 2 months? If he didn't then that is messed up, however, if its not true and he let some employees go to outsource to India, well, **** happens. If he gave the workers he laid off severance that's not so bad. The current employees who hled him hostage who were not laid off have no right to a severance package. Then again, this is what US businesses get transferring and/or setting up businesses in China. The CEO's are greedy, but dealing with China is not like dealing with the U.S. It's a different world over there and they are not like us.

June 27 2013 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to heavymetalkc's comment
Maverick

It seems that you're saying that it's ok for him to move from China to India but not from the US to China?

June 27 2013 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down