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Apple supplier Wintek says it treated workers for chemical exposure

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wintek, the maker of display panels for Apple's iPhone and iPad, said this week that it provided proper medical treatment to workers who became sick after alleged exposure to a poisonous chemical.

Wintek announced through the Taiwan Stock Exchange this week that it stopped using the dangerous chemical known as n-hexane, and all affected workers have been examined and treated, according to DigiTimes. The company said those exposed to the chemical are recovering and some have returned to work.

The Taiwanese company said it has taken proper measures in response to the incident including medical treatment for all of those who were exposed to n-hexane. The chemical can cause nerve damage and paralysis in humans.

Last week, it was revealed that 44 workers of Wintek's plant in Suzhou, China, plan to sue the company. It was reported that at least 62 Wintek workers were hospitalized since August of 2009 after exposure to n-hexane.

The Chinese workers claim that they were forced to use n-hexane instead of alcohol to clean display panels because the chemical dries faster and leaves fewer streaks on glass. The factory manager who allegedly forced the workers to use n-hexane has since been fired.

Wintek is a major manufacturing partner of Apple. The company recently landed a contract to produce new iPad screens to help offset a reported shortage. Wintek is also rumored to be responsible for 40 percent of the touch panels in Apple's next-generation iPhone. The device is expected to be announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to begin June 7 at San Francisco's Moscone West.

The alleged chemical exposure was the subject of a violent strike at the Wintek plant earlier this year. More than 2,000 workers in Suzhou destroyed their equipment and damaged vehicles at the plant in response to a number of deaths allegedly from overexposure to toxic chemicals. The strike was eventually settled days later with bonuses offered to workers, and production of products from the plant went unaffected.

Wintek also came under fire in 2009, as workers at the company took their case directly to Apple over what they saw as illegal and abusive working conditions. Members of the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Taiwan protested in front of Apple's Taipei offices last May, hoping the Mac maker would influence Wintek.

Apple has not been immune to scrutiny for its overseas partnerships for manufacturing. A 2009 audit of factories Apple contracts with in China found that more than half were not paying valid overtime rates for those that qualified, and 23 of the 83 surveyed factories weren't even paying their workers China's minimum wage.
post #2 of 11
This is typical of the lack of respect for workers there. If there was actually a change I am sure it only came because of pressure from Apple et al. This is not something that is typical for a company there to do - unless it somehow saved money. Workers there are a commodity not human beings.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

This is typical of the lack of respect for workers there. If there was actually a change I am sure it only came because of pressure from Apple et al. This is not something that is typical for a company there to do - unless it somehow saved money. Workers there are a commodity not human beings.

what is "there'? you mean mainland "china"? for the record, this particular company is from taiwan island, where a supposedly better "democratic" system existed. don't they understand to respect those workers in mainland? at least their basic safety.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by anakin1992 View Post

what is "there'? you mean mainland "china"? for the record, this particular company is from taiwan island, where a supposedly better "democratic" system existed. don't they understand to respect those workers in mainland? at least their basic safety.

Wintek may be a Taiwanese company but they are operating this plant in Suzhou, China using chinese workers.

I'm just trying to clarify the confusion here.
post #5 of 11
I remember the good old days when most all Mac's were made in the USA and if not, it was i believe Ireland.

Sorry, but i just kind of think that in times of record Apple profits, more of these computers, machines could be made in US and Canada. Especially given the horrible employment and waste records in China.
post #6 of 11
This is yet another example of why we here in the "Land of the Free" take advice from China on issue such as human rights, and immigration laws!!!!

Thank you yet again, current residing administration for the wonderful things you continue to due to our country! Bend over and lift your skirt up for Russ next!

...and leave apple alone.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by anakin1992 View Post

what is "there'? you mean mainland "china"? for the record, this particular company is from taiwan island, where a supposedly better "democratic" system existed. don't they understand to respect those workers in mainland? at least their basic safety.

China/Taiwan narratives don't really fit it here.

In fact, this story kind of destroys the 'oppression of Chinese tech factory workers' mythology. The manager that harmed them was fired, and now they are suing the company for damages. Sucks that they got hurt, but where is the problem with the system? There is no government or economic 'time travel' device to fix poor judgement and accidents.

But I guess its inevitable that any news has to be politically mutated to fit the team D & R sentiment banners.
Go Teams!
post #8 of 11
Weren't these workers also making Nokia screens?

Why single out Apple.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Weren't these workers also making Nokia screens?

Why single out Apple.

Apple is the biggest clickbait out there, that's why.

When a report was issued a few weeks ago about Microsoft's suppliers' various labor law violations in China, including using underage workers, nobody batted an eyelash. If those same suppliers were working for Apple, you can bet there would have been 72-point headlines on the front page of CNet, PC World, et al.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/te...20china&st=cse
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

I remember the good old days when most all Mac's were made in the USA and if not, it was i believe Ireland.

Sorry, but i just kind of think that in times of record Apple profits, more of these computers, machines could be made in US and Canada. Especially given the horrible employment and waste records in China.

In the good old days in California, there too was a lot of oppression/exploitation, especially among farm workers which was better documented. There remains the residues of these exploitation in California, and supposedly the sweatshops of the linen district in New York. The coal mine workers of West Virginia come to mind too.

Unfortunately, speculator/investors who focus too much on profit, as well as management that cater to them and fend fro their own led to most basic manufacturing jobs going overseas. The clout of the unions protected the auto-industry but such clout eventually became the albatross. Right now, the bulk of the American economy that employ workers are in the service industries. In fact, even some of these seervices are now subcontracted in other countries, notably Asia.

If you read OSHA reports, which monitors health and safety in the workplace, you might be surprised how lax they can be even in the US, in implementing already approved federal legistations and policies. Sometimes, even in research laboratories not all the scientists themselves would be observing them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oxygenhose View Post

China/Taiwan narratives don't really fit it here.

In fact, this story kind of destroys the 'oppression of Chinese tech factory workers' mythology. The manager that harmed them was fired, and now they are suing the company for damages. Sucks that they got hurt, but where is the problem with the system? There is no government or economic 'time travel' device to fix poor judgement and accidents.

But I guess its inevitable that any news has to be politically mutated to fit the team D & R sentiment banners.
Go Teams!

Not sure exactly how stringent factories are in observing health and safety measures in factories in Asian countries. The substance involved, n-hexane is not only quite flammable but has a high volatility index. Thus, very dangerous. Proper handling would require chemical hood (ventilators) which would be very expensive and consume a lot of space.

Apart from direct inhalation of the fumes, the other danger is skin contact when the chemical is used for cleaning. I don't think people would be wearing chemical mask (if ventilators are not the norm) because they are not that convenient for prolonged periods. I do not know exactly what they would use for gloves because the usual gloves would be easily "weakend" by the chemical. It is unlikely also that they would have adequate gowns to protect the body.

More than likely, the cases reported would be accidents. Frequent and prolonged exposure to the fumes may still cause long term damages that may not otherwise be easily attributed to the chemical because the deleterious effects might be delayed.

CGC
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silencio View Post

Apple is the biggest clickbait out there, that's why.


Wrong. The workers specifically said they were poisoned while cleaning screens for the iPhone.

http://www.digitimes.com/NewsShow/Ne...15&query=APPLE

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