Fair Labor Association begins inspections of Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Apple announced on Monday that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Foxconn's Chinese assembly factories at Apple's request.



The first inspections began Monday morning in Foxconn's mega-facility in Shenzhen, China, led by a team of labor experts featuring FLA president Auret van Heerden.



"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said. "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."



The FLA will interview thousands of employees at Apple's overseas partners, asking them about working and living conditions in the Chinese factories. Topics will include health, safety, compensation,working hours, and communication with management.



In addition, the FLA will also inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories, and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of development.



Apple's announcement of the FLA audits comes after a number of reports, including high-profile stories from The New York Times and CNN, highlighted labor issues in Apple's supply chain. The Times article suggested that Apple has known about those issues in its supply factories for years without requiring that they be addressed, but Cook fired back and called those claims "patently false and offensive."



A month ago, Apple announced it had joined the Fair Labor Association, making it the first technology company to do so. Its participation in the FLA means that Apple agrees to have the association independently assess facilities in its supply chain and report detailed findings on its website.











Apple said on Monday that its suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA, offering unrestricted access to their operations. The FLA's findings and recommendations from these initial assessments will be made publicly available in early March.



In addition to Foxconn, the FLA also plans to conduct audits and interviews at suppliers Quanta and Pegatron later this spring. The FLA's final assessment will reportedly cover facilities where more than 90 percent of Apple's products are assembled.



The FLA audits are in addition to Apple's own audits, the results of which are revealed each year in the company's annual supplier responsibility report. In 2011, a total of 229 audits were conducted, which was an 80 percent increase from 2010.





[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • msimpsonmsimpson Posts: 452member
    "Tell us what you do here at Foxconn"



  • mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    This would mean a lot more if they were looking at factories producing products for more than just Apple. In other words, I would like to see them run audits on the Foxconn plants making products for HP and Samsung and Microsoft and Sony along with the plants making products for Apple. Then it would mean something.
  • kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    I know there is nobody living in the America's or Europe that would work in hi-tech sweat shops like Foxconn. Part of the reason Apple has been raking in big $ goes beyond designing, marketing cutting edge great consumer products. The other half of the equation is the very low production (labor) costs. The workers in these factories must have better working conditions than they have at present. Apple must show it is a corporation that believes in fairness and humanity and not just the bottom line. This century will see the rise of Chinese "Robber Barons" like those in the US 100 years ago. There is no chance of there ever being a Chinese middle class without reform and workers rights, they same thing that once happened in the USA.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple announced on Monday that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Foxconn's Chinese assembly factories at Apple's request.








    This is good news. But who is the Fair Labor Association? What is the quality of their audits?



    Is this a Chinese organization? Who pays them? The big manufacturers? The ChiCom government?





    Will their inspections be pre-announced? Will management be present when workers are interviewed?



    Edit: Here's their website: http://www.fairlabor.org/fla/
  • esummersesummers Posts: 871member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    This is good news. But who is the Fair Labor Association? What is the quality of their audits?



    Is this a Chinese organization? Who pays them? The big manufacturers? The ChiCom government?





    Will their inspections be pre-announced? Will management be present when workers are interviewed?



    It is *the* fair trade organization for the textile industry. It was formed by Bill Clinton in 1999. More importantly it was the organization that was mis-quoted as having an anti-Apple stance in the New York Times article. They are primarily supported by universities in the USA. As with anything in academia, I'm sure there will be papers. Just look in to them.



    http://www.fairlabor.org/fla/
  • fecklesstechguyfecklesstechguy Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    This is good news. But who is the Fair Labor Association? What is the quality of their audits?



    Is this a Chinese organization? Who pays them? The big manufacturers? The ChiCom government?





    Will their inspections be pre-announced? Will management be present when workers are interviewed?



    Edit: Here's their website: http://www.fairlabor.org/fla/



    Amazing amount of information at their website!



    Quote:

    About Us



    Incorporated in 1999, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a collaborative effort of socially responsible companies, colleges and universities, and civil society organizations to improve working conditions in factories around the world. The FLA has developed a Workplace Code of Conduct, based on ILO standards, and created a practical monitoring, remediation and verification process to achieve those standards.



    The FLA is a brand accountability system that places the onus on companies to voluntarily achieve the FLA?s labor standards in the factories manufacturing their products. Universities affiliated with the FLA ensure that the licensees supplying their licensed products manufacture or source those products from factories in which workers? rights are protected. Learn more about how FLA is making an impact across the globe.



  • rtamesisrtamesis Posts: 88member
    And why won't the People's Republic of China, supposedly a workers' paradise, simply enforce their own labor laws instead of leaving it up to foreign companies to do so?
  • greginpraguegreginprague Posts: 408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    This is good news. But who is the Fair Labor Association? What is the quality of their audits?



    Is this a Chinese organization? Who pays them? The big manufacturers? The ChiCom government?





    Will their inspections be pre-announced? Will management be present when workers are interviewed?



    Edit: Here's their website: http://www.fairlabor.org/fla/



    If you'd take the time to read the information on their site you'd have the answers to nearly all of your questions. If it was just a sham organization and the audits had not teeth then Apple wouldn't be the first tech company to join it.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    I know there is nobody living in the America's or Europe that would work in hi-tech sweat shops like Foxconn. Part of the reason Apple has been raking in big $ goes beyond designing, marketing cutting edge great consumer products. The other half of the equation is the very low production (labor) costs. The workers in these factories must have better working conditions than they have at present. Apple must show it is a corporation that believes in fairness and humanity and not just the bottom line. This century will see the rise of Chinese "Robber Barons" like those in the US 100 years ago. There is no chance of there ever being a Chinese middle class without reform and workers rights, they same thing that once happened in the USA.



    Why? You're making an arbitrary decision that U.S. standards should apply in China. What is the basis for that?



    And if you're going to take that position, why aren't you picketing that U.S. businesses are slave labor shops because they don't give women a full year of maternity leave like Canada? Or you should be picketing U.S. businesses because they make workers put in more than 35 hours a week - which is the legal limit in France.



    Different standards apply around the world. Every country has its own standards based on its culture and present state of its economy. It is hypocritical to argue that U.S. companies are wrong for not using U.S. standards in China while ignoring the fact that U.S. standards are not as generous as some other countries.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    One of the greatest complaints by the workers is the name calling they have to endure by management.



    For instance, you'll notice the Chinese lettering on the woman's left arm. That actually reads:



    "You are a poopy-head".



    [I could erase this because it may sound insensitive, but, since I said it, I'll leave it up. I guess I just don't take all this chest thumping by some people as being any more serious than my comment]



    [this was, by the way, a nod to a comment made by Zither in another thread]
  • fairthropefairthrope Posts: 249member
    Oh man, here comes the curse of being big. Now activists, lawyers and politicians won't leave Apple in peace anymore eh?
  • esummersesummers Posts: 871member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtamesis View Post


    And why won't the People's Republic of China, supposedly a workers' paradise, simply enforce their own labor laws instead of leaving it up to foreign companies to do so?



    Why do we let executives take huge bonuses when their companies are in bankruptcy? Sometimes it is hard for government to get involved because they do not have direct control over the private sector. Besides, their government is supportive of these efforts and have some of their own as far as I've heard. Despite the fact that many people like to spread FUD about this, China is a free market society just like us. Think of it as a multi-pronged approach. We can try to enforce fair supplier contracts and they can try to introduce regulation. We all know the effect of over-regulation, so it is a difficult problem to solve. It is interesting that as we try to increase workers rights in China, we are trying to strip them away here in the USA.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    Why do we let executives take huge bonuses when their companies are in bankruptcy? Sometimes it is hard for government to get involved because they do not have direct control over the private sector. Besides, their government is supportive of these efforts and have some of their own as far as I've heard.



    Sorry, I just have to check... we are talking about China, right? [see bold text above]
  • pbrstreetgpbrstreetg Posts: 162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    I know there is nobody living in the America's or Europe that would work in hi-tech sweat shops like Foxconn. Part of the reason Apple has been raking in big $ goes beyond designing, marketing cutting edge great consumer products. The other half of the equation is the very low production (labor) costs. The workers in these factories must have better working conditions than they have at present. Apple must show it is a corporation that believes in fairness and humanity and not just the bottom line. This century will see the rise of Chinese "Robber Barons" like those in the US 100 years ago. There is no chance of there ever being a Chinese middle class without reform and workers rights, they same thing that once happened in the USA.



    I conceptually agree with you but this is a problem for the Chinese labor movement and China to figure out. I know it sounds harsh but a huge problem with America is meddling in places they have no business and this is one of them. I am a firm believer in letting people do what they have to do, even if they have to fail many times to get it done. The Chinese people need to empower themselves if they intend on having voice and negotiation power with big corporations like Foxconn. There is a a lot of blood, sweat and tears to be shed.



    Apple can certainly influence the outcome of some labor policies but they cannot make Foxconn management labor decisions. A key thing that a lot of people don't understand is that Apple does not employ any Foxconn employees.



    I do think that Apple is interested in better working conditions, unlike what some may say on this board Apple is socially conscious but they can only influence China and labor relations to a point where it gets to being out of the scope of running a business.



    Also from what little I know of SJ's manufacturing philosophy, I don't even think he wants iOS devices and Macs assembled by people at all.
  • pbrstreetgpbrstreetg Posts: 162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtamesis View Post


    And why won't the People's Republic of China, supposedly a workers' paradise, simply enforce their own labor laws instead of leaving it up to foreign companies to do so?



    China can't even regulate environmental protection what makes you think they have enforceable labor laws? China like other countries is corrupt but its far more open and accepted practice.



    Its not up to Apple to coerce Foxconn to enforce labor laws. Foxconn is the real bad guy here and always has been.
  • stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    One of the greatest complaints by the workers is the name calling they have to endure by management.



    For instance, you'll notice the Chinese lettering on the woman's left arm. That actually reads:



    "You are a poopy-head".



    Really? This is an issue that should be thus trivialized?
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Really? This is an issue that should be thus trivialized?



    More moral indignation... how cool.
  • pbrstreetgpbrstreetg Posts: 162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Why? You're making an arbitrary decision that U.S. standards should apply in China. What is the basis for that?



    And if you're going to take that position, why aren't you picketing that U.S. businesses are slave labor shops because they don't give women a full year of maternity leave like Canada? Or you should be picketing U.S. businesses because they make workers put in more than 35 hours a week - which is the legal limit in France.



    Different standards apply around the world. Every country has its own standards based on its culture and present state of its economy. It is hypocritical to argue that U.S. companies are wrong for not using U.S. standards in China while ignoring the fact that U.S. standards are not as generous as some other countries.



    jragosta, why do you continue to insinuate that it is ok to treat people poorly as long as its in the context and societal norm of their culture, socioeconomic status or geopolitical condition.



    Was it OK for Serbs to gang rape and kill Bosniak women because they could? The Chinese need to aspire to a higher standard in worker treatment but its not up to Apple to lead that charge. If working in a foxconn plant is such a glorious experience that pays boats loads of money I don't see many Americans swarming to work in those sweatshops.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PBRSTREETG View Post


    jragosta, why do you continue to insinuate that it is ok to treat people poorly as long as its in the context and societal norm of their culture, socioeconomic status or geopolitical condition.



    Was it OK for Serbs to gang rape and kill Bosniak women because they could? The Chinese need to aspire to a higher standard in worker treatment but its not up to Apple to lead that charge. If working in a foxconn plant is such a glorious experience that pays boats loads of money I don't see many Americans swarming to work in those sweatshops.



    That may happen yet.



    [I'm always wondering who the grand arbiter is in all of this. I think it's inhumane to make people work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I think we should work no more than 4 days a week and 6 hours a day with a minimum of 4 weeks holiday and $20 hour.]
  • pbrstreetgpbrstreetg Posts: 162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    That may happen yet.



    Where this economy is going that may be true. For an expat working in engineering, business or management, job outlooks are good in Shengzhou.
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