While a certain ESPN columnist was noting MLB’s progress on globalization over the weekend, this article was published under the sports news radar in the international section of the NYT:
“Low-Wage Costa Ricans Make Baseballs for Millionaires”
As Tim Rogers reports, Rawlings, baseball’s official baseball concessionaire, produces its balls at a plant in Costa Rica where workers are paid roughly $2750 per year, or 30 cents for each ball manufactured (retail price: $14.99). Temperatures in the plant can reach 95 degrees, and repetitive stress injuries are, according to a local physician, common (Rawlings denies this). Rawlings pays no taxes and imports materials for the manufacturing process duty free. The article noted the average salary of the (unionized) MLB player is over $2 million. Rawlings revenues from baseballs are over $30 million.
Low as they may be, Rawlings wages are (barely) above Costa Rican minimum wage, and its factory is the only significant employer in a town that is otherwise in catastrophically bad shape. So the workers are, not surprisingly, grateful for their work and happy with the jobs.
Read the article in full at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/international/americas/25COST.html?ex=1076065723&ei=1&en=c2e0186c83ff2d66