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Former executives accuse Apple of ignoring supplier labor abuses

post #1 of 94
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A new report quotes former Apple executives as saying that the company has known about some "labor abuses" in supplier factories for years without requiring that they be addressed.

The New York Times published a follow-up report to the profile on Apple's overseas manufacturing operations that appeared last week. The publication examined the "human costs" that go into the iPad and other such devices, drawing upon interviews with several dozen "current or former employees and contractors, including a half-dozen current or former executives with firsthand knowledge of Apple’s supplier responsibility group."

"We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on,” said a former Apple executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”

Earlier this month, Apple released its annual supplier responsibility report, claiming that its zero-tolerance policy for underage labor is "the toughest in the electronics industry." The iPhone maker conducted 229 audits last year, an 80 percent increase from 2010, and discovered six active and 13 historical cases of underage labor at five facilities. CEO Tim Cook said in an email to employees that the supplier responsibility program has brought about "dramatic improvements in hiring practices" by Apple's suppliers.

The company announced this month that it was the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association and had agreed to submit to independent checks by the association of supply chain facilities. Also of note, Apple for the first time released a list of its suppliers as part of its annual report.

"We continue to expand our program to reach deeper into our supply base, and this year we added more detailed and specialized audits that focus on safety and the environment," Apple's report read.

Apple claims to require suppliers to fix problems within 90 days of an audit and institute changes to prevent them from happening again. The company also says it will terminate its relationship with repeat offenders. But, multiple former executives disagreed with the company's assertions that it holds rigid standards for its partners, according to Wednesday's report.




“If you see the same pattern of problems, year after year, that means the company’s ignoring the issue rather than solving it,” said another former Apple executive with direct knowledge of the company's supplier responsibility group. “Noncompliance is tolerated, as long as the suppliers promise to try harder next time. If we meant business, core violations would disappear.”

Li Mingqi, a former manager at Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn, has alleged that Apple didn't pay any attention to worker conditions after reaching agreements with its partner. Li, however, has gripes with Foxconn, as he is suing his former employer over the conditions of his termination last April.

“Once the deal is set and Foxconn becomes an authorized Apple supplier, Apple will no longer give any attention to worker conditions or anything that is irrelevant to its products,” he said.
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Foxconn denied his claims, stating that “both Foxconn and Apple take the welfare of our employees very seriously.”

Interestingly enough, Li helped manage the same Chengdu factory where an explosion occurred last May. The blast, which took place at a polishing plant for the iPad 2, killed four workers and injured several others. A Hong Kong-based advocacy group had reportedly sent a warning to Apple about the dangers of aluminum dust in Chengdu just weeks before the incident.

Last December, a second explosion occurred, this time at a facility owned by a subsidiary of Pegatron. Aluminum dust was again the cause of the explosion, with roughly 60 workers injured by it.

But, Apple did say in its 2001 supplier responsibility report that the causes of the two explosions were different. According to the company's report, Apple has audited all of its suppliers engaged in polishing aluminum and now is requiring better safety measures.

Former Apple employees pointed to the company's notorious secrecy as a barrier to improving working conditions at supplier's facilities.

“We’ve had this conversation hundreds of times,” a former executive in Apple’s supplier responsibility group told the Times. “There is a genuine, companywide commitment to the code of conduct. But taking it to the next level and creating real change conflicts with secrecy and business goals, and so there’s only so far we can go.”

Tipsters said they were forbidden from interacting with outside groups. “There’s a real culture of secrecy here that influences everything,” the former executive said.

The company has taken steps in recent months to be more open with environmental and labor rights groups. In November, it was revealed that the company had met with several Chinese environmental groups to address their concerns. Apple's recent decision to release its supplier list is also a step toward them, as a number of offending suppliers that groups had accused Apple of partnering with have turned out not to work with the company.
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“We’re trying really hard to make things better,” a source said. “But most people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from.”

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs asserted in 2010 that the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China was "not a sweatshop," noting that the facilities include restaurants and movie theaters in addition to the manufacturing operations, but a former Apple executive told the Times that supplier and manufacturer conditions would be disturbing to most people.

Foxconn came under scrutiny that year after a series of worker suicides. The issue recently made headlines again after plant workers at a facility producing Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console threatened mass suicide over a dispute with factory management.
post #2 of 94
And now these former employees are just mentioning this information. Sounds fishy that they would start spilling these secrets right after Apple agrees to work with the FLA.
post #3 of 94
Why am I not surprised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daramouthe View Post

And now these former employees are just mentioning this information. Sounds fishy that they would start spilling these secrets right after Apple agrees to work with the FLA.

They have for years but the media didnt want to hear a thing about their cash cow (clicks generating -->revenue generating) Apple.

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post #4 of 94
Quote:
Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs asserted in 2010 that the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China was "not a sweatshop," noting that the facilities include restaurants and movie theaters in addition to the manufacturing operations, but a former Apple executive told the Times that supplier and manufacturer conditions would be disturbing to most people.

What Steve didn't know is that the restaurants served Taco Bell quality (Grade "D" or "medically ingestible") meat and the movie theater showed nothing but the worst Adam Sandler movies (that would otherwise be sitting on an idle Netflix server collecting dust) on a continuous loop. It's believed to be the cause of many Foxconn suicides, or failing that, a sense of empathy from Chinese workers for how some Americans spend Saturday nights.

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post #5 of 94
Though it's kind of unfair to blame just Apple. Pretty much almost all eletronics get there stuff done were its cheap. I guess only time will tell whether this will affect Apple in a big horrible way.
post #6 of 94
Deleted.
post #7 of 94
So cowards are willing to make accusations without providing evidence or their manes.
What a joke.

Give us name and dates.

I claim that Steve Jobs crapped gold. Where is my New York Times article?
post #8 of 94
It is about time Apple spent the $Bs in cash to built its own factories right here in the US. There are automated machine tools that can produce all kinds of glass structures, screws, circuit boards, etc as well as assemble them. It is an oxymoron to give $Bs to Samsung plus the designs of the microprocessors so they can build them in Texas. It looks like the entire destiny of Apple is dependent on the tender mercies of China.

Tax laws here need to be changed to favor domestic manufacturing. WTO? Right... dump that. We need fair trade.
post #9 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

So cowards are willing to make accusations without providing evidence or their manes.
What a joke.

Give us name and dates.

I claim that Steve Jobs crapped gold. Where is my New York Times article?

True. Now what's even more pitiful is to blame Apple for a Chinese Corporations bylaws and worker right conditions--China is responsible for them.
post #10 of 94
Stop regurgitating Apple's self serving press releases. A a "zero tolerance policy regarding child labor"? Sounds like Google and "Don't be evil."

Why listen to corporatese when it's possible to listen to someone who's been there?

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...-apple-factory
post #11 of 94
Anonymous: (adj.) A condition or state frequently sought by former employees, in order to prevent the closely-related term "disgruntled" from being applied instead.
post #12 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daramouthe View Post

Though it's kind of unfair to blame just Apple. Pretty much almost all eletronics get there stuff done were its cheap. I guess only time will tell whether this will affect Apple in a big horrible way.

I would add that posters in this forum cannot easily determine the truth of the allegations. We are outside of a country that has tight information controls.

Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

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post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post


What a joke.



This is no joke.
post #14 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daramouthe View Post

Though it's kind of unfair to blame just Apple. Pretty much almost all eletronics get there stuff done were its cheap. I guess only time will tell whether this will affect Apple in a big horrible way.

If you read the article from the other day -

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...pagewanted=all

It aint all dollars, and in terms of apple. They are the ones making the massive profits, with only minimal "apple tax" therefore they are making savings across the supply clain. Somebody is getting squeezed, and it is not Apple. Surely a little part of the 98billion is a worthwhile investment in the people who are making these products? Apple appear happy to spend more than the remainder of the industry to create 'green' products. A healthy supply chain is a great marketing tool.
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post #15 of 94
Quote:

That scripted piece of crap?

The truth is 99.9999% of those workers are thankful of Apple for their jobs. Their standard of living has increased tremendously since having worked in the rice paddies for a third of the pay.
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post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

So cowards are willing to make accusations without providing evidence or their manes.
What a joke.

Give us name and dates.

I claim that Steve Jobs crapped gold. Where is my New York Times article?

A coward would've kept his or her mouth shut. If I know a company is doing something unethical or illegal, I would rather report it and stay anonymous as well. Maybe these former Apple employees and executives see Apple as a hypocrite to join the FLA while turning a blind eye years before. It's kinda like Google's "Don't be evil."
post #17 of 94
What do these 'past executives' have to gain by bring this up now? To try to bring bad PR to apple? I have trouble believing their doing it out of some altruistic motive. Seems like they have some personal vendettas from their career, and are exploiting this issue to try and damage their previous employers. And yes, they are cowards, because they did not identify themselves, are anonymous, and did not provide specifics nor the opportunity for people to question them further. There's nothing gutsy or brave about throwing these accusations from the shadows.
post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinN206 View Post

Maybe these former Apple employees and executives see Apple as a hypocrite to join the FLA while turning a blind eye years before. It's kinda like Google's "Don't be evil."

Possibly the stupidet thing I've ever read. So, if one improves oneself, he's automatically a hypocrite because he is inconsistent with his prior behaviour? That has nothing to do with hypocrisy. Its called changing things for the better. Yeah, I guess the logical thing for Tim Cook to do would have been not to join the FLA because they historically were not part of the group, and continuing to turn a blind eye and not improve a damn thing so as to not risk being a 'hypocrite'. Is that what you do in your life when you find out you're wrong- double down and dig in, in order to remain consistent?
post #19 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

This is no joke.

Yeah, this is no joke.

And BTW...I just typed my post on a device made in a China-based factory with the very same working conditions as Apple's assemblers....so I'm nothing but a hypocrite.

Signed,
ZZZ

\
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post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

That scripted piece of crap?

The truth is 99.9999% of those workers are thankful of Apple for their jobs. Their standard of living has increased tremendously since having worked in the rice paddies for a third of the pay.

It seems that mostly the same people that state Apple isn't paying the Chinese workers enough are the same ones that want Apple to stop all foreign production. Do they really think putting hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers out of Jobs is better than no jobs at all or have they simply not thought about the repercussions?

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post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Possibly the stupidet thing I've ever read. So, if one improves oneself, he's automatically a hypocrite because he is inconsistent with his prior behaviour? That has nothing to do with hypocrisy. Its called changing things for the better. Yeah, I guess the logical thing for Tim Cook to do would have been not to join the FLA because they historically were not part of the group, and continuing to turn a blind eye and not improve a damn thing so as to not risk being a 'hypocrite'. Is that what you do in your life when you find out you're wrong- double down and dig in, in order to remain consistent?

I'm just speculating what some people may think even AFTER a company chooses to correct itself. Some people, like these ex-Apple employees, may see this as nothing more than damage-control and not in the interest of its employees. It's certainly not what I think. I applaud that Apple is actively pursuing better working conditions.
post #22 of 94
It has been a long time since I've seen the likes of the high-horsed, self-righteous, pseudo-pious indignation evinced in these posts. It is the verbal equivalent of hair shirts and cat-o-nine-tails self mutilation, and I seriously hope the innocent AND guilty among us feel better now that we have beaten our breasts and lamented unto the clouds how rotten American corporations and consumers are, one and all.

Pity the workers of the world whose blood, sweat, and tears we have so cravenly ignored in the name of rapacious capitalism. Mea culpa, mea culpa, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
post #23 of 94
Quoting former employees without naming them is as useful and probably as accurate as publishing an unconfirmed rumor from an undisclosed source.

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post #24 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It seems that mostly the same people that state Apple isn't paying the Chinese workers enough are the same ones that want Apple to stop all foreign production. Do they really think putting hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers out of Jobs is better than no jobs at all or have they simply not thought about the repercussions?

WE should do the manufacturing on U.S. soil, this way Americans can have access to plenty of jobs.

Jobs that Americans wouldn't find acceptable.

Americans can't ramp up production as fast as the Chinese.
Americans won't produce product at a rate that is needed to fulfill demand.
Americans refuse to work for less than a certain amount of pay, otherwise it's not worth their time.
Union$ would be inevitable.

So, having said that hypothetical truth, if we (Americans) build these devices, are we willing to wait 3-4 months for delivery of the latest and greatest Apple device......and pay 25% more?

We could learn a lesson or two from the Chinese work ethic. We had it at one time....post WWII until the 70s....but we eventually got fat, spoiled and lazy. It's sad, really.


Edit: I also think the ones who post comments like that are the very same people that voted for "change", not knowing what the repercussions of change would be. And they call us iSheep?
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post #25 of 94
In other breaking news, my ex wife thinks I'm a bastard.
post #26 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Quoting former employees without naming them is a useful and probably as accurate as publishing an unconfirmed rumor from an undisclosed source.

You mean like DigiTimes?
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post #27 of 94
OK, you aren't happy about the anonymity for the former execs. Fine.

Is anyone going to address all the other charges in the piece? I'm curious what people here think of all those.
post #28 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmister View Post

OK, you aren't happy about the anonymity for the former execs. Fine.

Is anyone going to address all the other charges in the piece? I'm curious what people here think of all those.

See posts #15, 20 & 24.
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post #29 of 94
This kinda feels like blaming our police officers for not catching every crime ever committed. Apple is the only company to audit supplier's suppliers. They are definitely pro-active. That doesn't mean that they have time to police everything. I wouldn't be surprised if these instances are related to prioritizing issues they plan to solve. Of course, this could always be some former exec spreading things he heard in the rumor mill or didn't fully understand the situation. We have no hard evidence. He is an ex-Apple exec, right?
post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmister View Post

Is anyone going to address all the other charges in the piece? I'm curious what people here think of all those.

Why? Is Apple guilty of everything they are accused of until we prove them innocent?
Or is it the job the shadowy accusers to bring the proof?

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post #31 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

It has been a long time since I've seen the likes of the high-horsed, self-righteous, pseudo-pious indignation evinced in these posts. It is the verbal equivalent of hair shirts and cat-o-nine-tails self mutilation, and I seriously hope the innocent AND guilty among us feel better now that we have beaten our breasts and lamented unto the clouds how rotten American corporations and consumers are, one and all.

Pity the workers of the world whose blood, sweat, and tears we have so cravenly ignored in the name of rapacious capitalism. Mea culpa, mea culpa, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.

They can be rotten. That is why you look at facts instead of stereotyping. In this case, there are no facts... just something that some guy said with no specifics.
post #32 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It seems that mostly the same people that state Apple isn't paying the Chinese workers enough are the same ones that want Apple to stop all foreign production. Do they really think putting hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers out of Jobs is better than no jobs at all or have they simply not thought about the repercussions?

Those repercussions and consequences require more than 3 seconds of knee-jerk reaction- so no, most people don't go that far. Demanding that Apple stop dealing with Foxconn, pull out of China and bring manufacturing to the US is pretty much the extent of the thought process. Because, you know, Apple single-handedly has the power to fundamental alter global economic realities.

Also, do people actually believe Apple could have moved numbers like 37 million iPhones a quarter if they were manufacturing in the US? They would have been lucky to hit even a fraction of that. It's just not possible.
post #33 of 94
What I would like to know is when these ”ex executives” were working for Apple and how up to date their knowledge is. If they left Apple more than 3 years ago, they do not really know the current situation.

If they now work for the competition, they will have an axe to grind.

Being quoted as anonymous must be very convenient for the Times and for them.
post #34 of 94
Just think if Apple never brought these issues to light in the first place, then they would have been sitting there quietly, basking in ignorance like every other corporation who outsources manufacturing in these countries.

So why is Apple singled out as the big, bad American corporation?

The reality is in today's world of compete or die, minimising labour costs is a necessity.

For all the hypocrites talking about "child labour", when was the last time you left a McDonalds (or other fast food chain) when you were served by a fifteen year old "child labourer"?
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post #35 of 94
A few days ago, you could read the following quote on this website :
"A former [Apple] executive recounted an instance prior to the launch of the original iPhone where 8,000 employees were woken up in the middle of the night to begin outfitting glass screens, a last-minute addition for the handset. Within just a few days, the factory was producing more than 10,000 iPhones a day. ...
Sources revealed that the last-minute adjustment came about because Jobs demanded a change in the iPhone just weeks before its scheduled launch. He had reportedly noticed that the keys in his pockets had scratched a prototype device he had been testing."
I doubt whether managers really care a lot about working conditions in overseas countries.
post #36 of 94
I love when macho forum-goers talk about how cowardly whistleblowers are for staying anonymous, while they post anonymously from there "AppleIzMuhJeZuZ" username. Yeah. You're super edgy.

The fact of the matter is Apple does business with companies that exploit humans, including children, for profit. You can be part of that group of people that tries to brush it off, but that makes you a coward. A person with the slightest shred of integrity would say, "This is a problem, and it doesn't matter if it is happening in China or Detroit, children should be protected."

But that line is a little too severe for ya, huh? Can't handle owning the fact that the imaginary border between here and there isn't, in fact, a magical portal where human suffering is suddenly cool if it pads a CEOs bonus by a few million? Are you really that bereft of decency?

Let not a single one of you enemies of humanity say that you're a man when you look yourself in the mirror tomorrow. A man has a sense of justice, and you clearly do not. You show it in all your shameless pandering to a corporation that doesn't give a flip about you and yours; one that would be glad to see you work yourself (literally) to death in a factory if they could figure out how stick you in one. You think corporate execs would cry their eyes out if it were kansas city instead of shengdu? Not bloody likely.

The correct way to approach an article like this, or any article similar to it, is to ask for policy changes from the government to prevent companies, en masse, from engaging in activities that are detrimental to humanity outside the imaginary box of our natural borders. If American capital can flow here and there without hinderance then our sense of dignity (if any sense is left) should be expected to go with it. Why, WHY is it only the responsibility of the chinese to care for chinese children??? Doesn't any man, and I mean a real man, the sort of person you have respect for, take offense to poaching on the helpless, no matter what time zone it takes place in?

I guess I'm not racist enough to really be an american, but I contend that all exploitation should be met with ample indignation, whether in the south where you dogs are from, or in china, or south africa, or anywhere else. You may be disgustingly stupid, but if this sort of thing were happening to you I would be just as offended... it's called decency... you should try it out some time.
post #37 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post

I love when macho forum-goers talk about how cowardly whistleblowers are for staying anonymous, while they post anonymously from there "AppleIzMuhJeZuZ" username. Yeah. You're super edgy.

The fact of the matter is Apple does business with companies that exploit humans, including children, for profit. You can be part of that group of people that tries to brush it off, but that makes you a coward. A person with the slightest shred of integrity would say, "This is a problem, and it doesn't matter if it is happening in China or Detroit, children should be protected."

But that line is a little too severe for ya, huh? Can't handle owning the fact that the imaginary border between here and there isn't, in fact, a magical portal where human suffering is suddenly cool if it pads a CEOs bonus by a few million? Are you really that bereft of decency?

Let not a single one of you enemies of humanity say that you're a man when you look yourself in the mirror tomorrow. A man has a sense of justice, and you clearly do not. You show it in all your shameless pandering to a corporation that doesn't give a flip about you and yours; one that would be glad to see you work yourself (literally) to death in a factory if they could figure out how stick you in one. You think corporate execs would cry their eyes out if it were kansas city instead of shengdu? Not bloody likely.

The correct way to approach an article like this, or any article similar to it, is to ask for policy changes from the government to prevent companies, en masse, from engaging in activities that are detrimental to humanity outside the imaginary box of our natural borders. If American capital can flow here and there without hinderance then our sense of dignity (if any sense is left) should be expected to go with it. Why, WHY is it only the responsibility of the chinese to care for chinese children??? Doesn't any man, and I mean a real man, the sort of person you have respect for, take offense to poaching on the helpless, no matter what time zone it takes place in?

I guess I'm not racist enough to really be an american, but I contend that all exploitation should be met with ample indignation, whether in the south where you dogs are from, or in china, or south africa, or anywhere else. You may be disgustingly stupid, but if this sort of thing were happening to you I would be just as offended... it's called decency... you should try it out some time.

Here, have a real windmill to tilt at.

India has an 80% rate of recycling, this is why.

The factory workers of China who make the things that fill your stores with cheap goods are living in luxury in comparison.
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post #38 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Above.

I'm sure if you keep looking you can find people who have it a little worse, and a little worse still. But you could just say, "hey, they're alive, and that beats being dead!" Except for a lot of foxconn employees, who felt that that wasn't the case.

I would say, however, that both of these things are unfortunate, and shouldn't be defended as "Just" or "necessary" by any stretch of the imagination. Why is that so impossible to admit, to yourselves and to others?
post #39 of 94
I'm getting increasingly fed-up by all the news outlets spinning this issue in relation to Apple all of a sudden. My local newspaper had a similar horribly suggestive piece like this yesterday, conveniently using Apples blowout earnings (1 small column in the paper) report to fill half a page about how Apple was indirectly funding child labor, driving assembly workers to suicide, destroying the environment around the factories, etc.

I understand that stuff like this happens in the factories that make all the cheap shiny things we like to buy, and I'm all for changing that. But pinning this on Apple or using Apple as poster child for all that is wrong with Chinese labor conditions is the epitome of hypocrisy. The computers that were used to typeset and publish all these articles were probably made in the exact same factories. If the authors of said articles go shopping for whatever they are looking for, price will often be top of the list when it comes to buying decisions. Everyone is profiting from cheap stuff manufactured somewhere they have cheap labor.

The fact that Apple is now singled out as the prime example of a big bad western company exploiting Chinese factory workers is ridiculous. I advise anyone who disagrees to go have a look in (for example) the Chinese food processing industry, and see how employees are treated over there. Compared to that, working 70 hours a week behind a Foxconn assembly line is almost like retirement.

Moral of the story: if you are sincerely worried about labor conditions in most parts of Asia, go complain there, and vote with your wallet, instead of riding an individual company's success to make your point. And realize this probably means paying twice as much for electronics, toys, clothing, many processed food stuffs, and so on.
post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

I'm getting increasingly fed-up by all the news outlets spinning this issue in relation to Apple all of a sudden. My local newspaper had a similar horribly suggestive piece like this yesterday, conveniently using Apples blowout earnings (1 small column in the paper) report to fill half a page about how Apple was indirectly funding child labor, driving assembly workers to suicide, destroying the environment around the factories, etc.

I understand that stuff like this happens in the factories that make all the cheap shiny things we like to buy, and I'm all for changing that. But pinning this on Apple or using Apple as poster child for all that is wrong with Chinese labor conditions is the epitome of hypocrisy. The computers that were used to typeset and publish all these articles were probably made in the exact same factories. If the authors of said articles go shopping for whatever they are looking for, price will often be top of the list when it comes to buying decisions. Everyone is profiting from cheap stuff manufactured somewhere they have cheap labor.

The fact that Apple is now singled out as the prime example of a big bad western company exploiting Chinese factory workers is ridiculous. I advise anyone who disagrees to go have a look in (for example) the Chinese food processing industry, and see how employees are treated over there. Compared to that, working 70 hours a week behind a Foxconn assembly line is almost like retirement.

Moral of the story: if you are sincerely worried about labor conditions in most parts of Asia, go complain there, and vote with your wallet, instead of riding an individual company's success to make your point. And realize this probably means paying twice as much for electronics, toys, clothing, many processed food stuffs, and so on.

This needed quoting for posterity. Apple's success has put them in the cross hairs of the 'anti-built in China' movement on several fronts. Part of that is the labor conditions, but Apple is the only tech company that is voluntarily joining the Fair Labor Association. That says something for Apple's commitment to improving labor conditions in the factories building their products. Part of it is the 'bring jobs back to the US' mantra people. Unfortunately, these people are out of touch with the limitations that the current US workforce possess. Simply put, the US is now a nation of full of people who can't think past a sound bite. Comedian George Carlin once said "think of how stupid the average American is, and remember for him to be average, half of everyone has to be dumber than him". I work in a manufacturing facility, I know that the average new hire we have wouldn't possibly be capable of assembling the components inside an i-device, heck, many of them barely even pick up their feet when they walk.

Secondly, has any other tech company besides Apple released their own internal review of their contracted labor facilities to the public? I don't recall Samsung, Sony, Nintendo, Nike, HP, Dell, or any other large cap company releasing the findings from their internal investigations, especially to the public. To me, that speaks volumes of how much this issue matters to Apple. Bringing violations to light, even though they paint you and your contracted facilities as the bad guy from time to time takes intestinal fortitude that, apparently, a lot of other companies don't have.
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