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Tim Cook calls assault on Apple's ethics in China "patently false and offensive"

post #1 of 181
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Responding to a report by the New York Times that castigated Apple over an alleged permissiveness and indifference for workers' conditions among the suppliers it contract with in China, its chief executive Tim Cook rebutted the accusations in an email expressing "any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us."

The report, published on Wednesday, cited former Apple executives as making comments such as, "We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on. Why? Because the system works for us."

Another "former Apple executive with direct knowledge of the company's supplier responsibility group" was cited as saying, "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."

Tim Cook's email to employees

A report published by The Next Web said Cook "has fired back at reports into issues surrounding the company’s operations and partners in emerging markets," reportedly writing in his letter to employees:

Team,

As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.

For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.

Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.

At the same time, no one has been more up front about the challenges we face. We are attacking problems aggressively with the help of the world’s foremost authorities on safety, the environment, and fair labor. It would be easy to look for problems in fewer places and report prettier results, but those would not be the actions of a leader.

Earlier this month we opened our supply chain for independent evaluations by the Fair Labor Association. Apple was in a unique position to lead the industry by taking this step, and we did it without hesitation. This will lead to more frequent and more transparent reporting on our supply chain, which we welcome. These are the kinds of actions our customers expect from Apple, and we will take more of them in the future.

We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.

We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

To those within Apple who are tackling these issues every day, you have our thanks and admiration. Your work is significant and it is changing people’s lives. We are all proud to work alongside you.

Tim
post #2 of 181
Back in the early part of the 20th century workers in the US were mistreated until they formed unions. Of course the unions became corrupt and problems arose from that as well. But the workers got better treatment. Maybe what the workers need in these factories is a union. Probably won't happen any ways.
An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #3 of 181
What else would he say?
post #4 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

What else would he say?

He could copy Samsung and say nothing about worker's rights.
post #5 of 181
Actions speak louder than words.
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #6 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

He could copy Samsung and say nothing about worker's rights.

At least Samsung isn't blowing smoke. Apple (and every tech company) could do far, far more than they are.
post #7 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

At least Samsung isn't blowing smoke. Apple (and every tech company) could do far, far more than they are.

What do you know about anything in China? Apple is reporting the results of its audits. That's action. Samsung is reporting its sales are "quite smooth."

Samsung has demonstrably lied about a variety of things that don't really matter. You wonder if the company exercises some actual ethics in the way it manages its workers? Not according to what the Chinese say.
post #8 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

Actions speak louder than words.

What speaks loudest is an Android phone.

I was sitting next to this woman on the plan and it was "DROID!!!" over and over again. How embarrassing.
post #9 of 181
Professional.
Assertive.
Eloquent.
Direct.
Open.
Jobs.

While I read through Tim's email....those are the words that came to mind.

As a consumer and shareholder I am more than happy with Tim's statement and his style of handling the hubbub. Very Apple and very Jobs-like, which is why I saved it for the last word in my list.
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You talkin' to me?
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post #10 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Back in the early part of the 20th century workers in the US were mistreated until they formed unions. Of course the unions became corrupt and problems arose from that as well. But the workers got better treatment. Maybe what the workers need in these factories is a union. Probably won't happen any ways.

Unions were generally formed as a result of a mass strike. Maybe that's what the Chinese workers need to do is form a mass strike, not just Foxconn but all workers who are working in the same or worse conditions. "Force" the government to enact some legislation to ensure better working conditions.
post #11 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru_canuk View Post

Unions were generally formed as a result of a mass strike. Maybe that's what the Chinese workers need to do is form a mass strike, not just Foxconn but all workers who are working in the same or worse conditions. "Force" the government to enact some legislation to ensure better working conditions.

Apple stated that Foxconn could hire thousands of people in a single day. How would a strike help with thousands are waiting to get in? Doesn't Foxconn employee hundreds of thousands of workers? I would if you could get them all the strike at the same time. Anything less and I imagine hiring new workers would be faster than actually negotiating with them, not to mention there isn't the hassle of a union in the future. I'm sure it will happen sometime, I just don't see it happening in the near future.
post #12 of 181
Glad Cook didn't take the bait and bash the NYT. That would just feed their ego. Instead he bashed the accusations. Great response.

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post #13 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

What do you know about anything in China?

More than you, I suspect.

Have you seen The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs? I have.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/c...viewed_.3.html

It's a brilliant 2-hour show that retells first-hand accounts of what happens in the factories where the iPhone is produced, in even more vivid detail than the damning NY Times article.
post #14 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Professional.
Assertive.
Eloquent.
Direct.
Open.
Jobs.

While I read through Tim's email....those are the words that came to mind.

As a consumer and shareholder I am more than happy with Tim's statement and his style of handling the hubbub. Very Apple and very Jobs-like, which is why I saved it for the last word in my list.

Paedo Jobs. What an unfortunately ordered list.
post #15 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

More than you, I suspect.

Have you seen The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs? I have.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/c...viewed_.3.html

It's a brilliant 2-hour show that retells first-hand accounts of what happens in the factories where the iPhone is produced, in even more vivid detail than the damning NY Times article.

..this is the extent of your insight on China? You're basis your assertion that 'Apple can do much, much more' on...the insight gained from this radioshow? I would call this a joke post, but it seems clear you're being serious, so I pity your apparent naivety and childishness. Yeah the show is well done and emotionally manipulative, but from a perspective of actual knowledge, it doesn't disclose anything that most people who have a shred of info on the subject know. Also, the guy admitted to making stuff up and exaggeration to get a more powerful response. How utterly clueless of you. I guarantee you, you are in no position to comment on whether Apple can do more or not, because you have no clue about the dynamics of the situation. And you've just proved it to everyone, since you apparently 'discovered' the China situation just now from this show. I'll take Cook's word over yours- at least there's a chance he knows what he's talking about, and has credentials beyond 'armchair message-board expert that just found out Foxconn existed last week'.
post #16 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

More than you, I suspect.
Have you seen The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs? I have.
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/c...viewed_.3.html
It's a brilliant 2-hour show that retells first-hand accounts of what happens in the factories where the iPhone is produced, in even more vivid detail than the damning NY Times article.

This American Life broadcast part of this show recently. The second part of the radio program was independent fact checking on part 1, and was actually pretty favorable towards Apple.
post #17 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

..this is the extent of your insight on China?

No. I also didn't listen to a "radio show;" I saw it in person. Please tell me which parts were made up, I'd love to know.
post #18 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

Paedo Jobs. What an unfortunately ordered list.

LOL! Maybe a hint towards the kind of jobs offered at those companies?

On a serious note, Mr Cook's letter is very well written, and says what needs to be said. I don't believe Apple needs to apologize any more than anyone else in the industry, and I applaud that they are taking the lead in improving conditions and raising awareness. Local governments should be forced to do their fair share, too.
post #19 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

No. I also didn't listen to a "radio show;" I saw it in person. Please tell me which parts were made up, I'd love to know.

I doubt that. Considering you your response to 'what do you know about China' was point to the radio show, proud of the fact that you listened to it, then specifically mention the NYT article, it woud seem you would have also mentioned a small detail like being in China and seeing things in person the 1st time as your response, and basis for your insight. Also, I skimmed your previous post, and not ONCE did you post ANYTHING about the subject before this became the trendy news of the week- when everyone else started posting about it. One would think, if you had 1st had knowledge and were so concerned about the situation, you would have done your duty and maybe spoke out about it here before the radioplay.
Unless you're talking about seeing the play in person..which changes nothing from listening to it, of course, in terms of real knowledge obtained.

Also, there was a part 2 of cross-checking on that show. But I suspect, you didnt quite get that far.

Also, even if theoretically speaking you did see some things in person, how would that put you in a position to confidently say that Apple can do more? It can't, unless you've spent years at Apple itself, and found out firsthand exactly what they're doing and not doing, and the extent of what could be done beyond that if anything. If not, you're basically talking out of your ass and coming up with your own conclusions that you can't possibly have the information to do. Maybe if we had, I don't know, ONE example of ONE company doing more than Apple on this front, we could say with conclusive certainty that it can be done. But that's not the situation, and you're in no position to say that the company who is doing the most can certainly do 'much, much more' in context of the dynamics of the situation.
post #20 of 181
The timing of this article is suspicious at best, it reminds me of that article about Apple board searching for CEO.
Apple report a blowout quarter and the accusation come in. I don't say the reports completely false, but targeting Apple only is completely wrong, partial truth is worst than a lie. That bad situation is in most of the third world factories, people need to put food in the table and they will endure every thing for that, and always there will be some one to exploit their need.
I would like a comparison with other companies as well.
Its always good to look who will benefit from a certain situation .
English is not my native language so feel free to correct me.
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English is not my native language so feel free to correct me.
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post #21 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Glad Cook didn't take the bait and bash the NYT. That would just feed their ego. Instead he bashed the accusations. Great response.

I entirely agree.

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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post #22 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Glad Cook didn't take the bait and bash the NYT. That would just feed their ego. Instead he bashed the accusations. Great response.

I will bash the NYT and also dump their paper. WSJ is a much better paper.
All iPad newspaper readers should dump the NYT.
post #23 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Back in the early part of the 20th century workers in the US were mistreated until they formed unions. Of course the unions became corrupt and problems arose from that as well. But the workers got better treatment. Maybe what the workers need in these factories is a union. Probably won't happen any ways.

Rubbish. Working conditions in US factories were improving at a faster rate in the late 19th century and very early 20th century before the legalization of unions. The introduction of unions in the US put the brakes on and dramatically slowed down the rate of improvement in factory working conditions. The unions were corrupt and controlled by the mafia before the first strike. Unions have never been anything other than a protection racket, sucking union dues from the workers, so that the mafia fat-cats who run the unions can live high on the hog. The last thing Chinese workers need is US-style labor unions.
Mac user since August 1983.
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Mac user since August 1983.
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post #24 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

No. I also didn't listen to a "radio show;" I saw it in person. Please tell me which parts were made up, I'd love to know.

Saying you know how it is in China because you saw some guy's one man show about it is like saying you understand the complexities of baseball because a guy who went to a game explained it to you.

You're claiming to understand the nuances of the Chinese employment structure, payroll methods, and reward/punishment structure because a guy who went there for a matter of days saw it, interpreted it through his own biases, wrote and performed a piece based on it, you interpreted his words and actions, and now you understand their system? My friend, that's blowhardy on many levels.
post #25 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

At least Samsung isn't blowing smoke. Apple (and every tech company) could do far, far more than they are.

Lets bash Apple - Samsung not blowing smoke?

http://twc2.org.sg/2012/01/25/how-low-can-a-salary-go/

Human rights abuses are happening everywhere across Asia by many organizations in construction and manufacturing in Asia. A division of Samsung is supported by the Singapore government to abuse foreign workers by paying them a lowly S$270 per month. Thats approximately USD216 per month.
post #26 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Back in the early part of the 20th century workers in the US were mistreated until they formed unions. Of course the unions became corrupt and problems arose from that as well. But the workers got better treatment. Maybe what the workers need in these factories is a union. Probably won't happen any ways.

You must be dreaming by saying this absurd remark especially in China!You are talking about a communist country not a democratic one like we have here in the states.
post #27 of 181
I have no doubt that Tim is honest in making these remonstrations, but often the General does not know everything that happens to the troops in the trenches.

Also, periodic checks are worthless. Nada.

e.g. there was a recent outcry in Australia when a TV investigative team uncovered barbaric slaughterhouse practices on Australian cattle shipped to Indonesia. If you have the stomach for it, here's the youtube video. http://youtu.be/6baDhDWxlpI

So naturally there was a national outcry, and Australia sent inspectors to Indonesia. While the inspectors are there, everyone in the factories are at their best behaviour, then when the inspectors depart, the workers go back to old habits.

If Apple is serious, it will station permanent observers in each plant. Periodic inspections are just to salve the conscience of politically-correct Westerners, but do nothing to change the daily problems.

Let me state it clearly. Once the Western inspectors go home, the atrocities keep going, and then are hidden when the next inspectors arrive. Please, be realistic.
post #28 of 181
Apple are just customers of these Chinese companies, I don't see any mention of the liability of other companies that have stuff made by Foxconn etc.

It's like you being accused of low wages in Walmart because you have shopped there before.

I think it's great that Apple are bothering at all.
post #29 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Glad Cook didn't take the bait and bash the NYT. That would just feed their ego. Instead he bashed the accusations. Great response.

I would've loved it if he had concluded with "And EFF you, NYT."

Seriously tho. as much as I like the professionalism of the response, someone needs to give a harsh reply to those accusing Apple in a biased manner.
post #30 of 181
Unfortunately social and environmental responsibility are not easily resolved in the China market. The suggestion of unions is a no go because the Chinese government does not allow unions and would actively prevent such an organization from being formed. Also, it is difficult for individual factories to change their policies when the Chinese government doesn't help or in some cases works actively against them.

There are also competitive concerns if all the companies in China don't work to change in unison. There have been situations where factories tried to restrict overtime for their workers and the workers just went to a competitors company that would give them overtime. There is definitely an issue with worker conditions in China but it will take the concerted effort of many companies working in cooperation with each other to fix it.

I think progress is starting to be made through the industry groups like the EICC and Fair Labor Association but these things aren't fixed overnight. For an interesting look at what a Chinese factory for someone other than Apple can be like, the video "A Decent Factory" gives an informative look at Nokia's auditing of Chinese suppliers. It is hard to find but they do show it on cable now and again.

Cheers.
post #31 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

Actions speak louder than words.

In your case, user names speak louder than comments.
post #32 of 181
Cook's response is exactly spot on. (i) Don't waste time calling call a press conference; talk to your employees; (ii) Deal with the scurrilous accusations; ignore the messenger; (iii) Carry on with what you think is the right thing to do.

The rest will take care of itself.
post #33 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceltic View Post

The timing of this article is suspicious at best, it reminds me of that article about Apple board searching for CEO.
Apple report a blowout quarter and the accusation come in. I don't say the reports completely false, but targeting Apple only is completely wrong, partial truth is worst than a lie. That bad situation is in most of the third world factories, people need to put food in the table and they will endure every thing for that, and always there will be some one to exploit their need.
I would like a comparison with other companies as well.
Its always good to look who will benefit from a certain situation .

The shorts plant a few negative stories about Apple. The stock goes down for a few weeks. Then come a few positive stories about iPad 3, and the stock goes to a new high.

It's the typical up and down cycle. Rise into earnings and product announcements, then down again. Meanwhile Apple keeps raking it in. $100 per share in cash.
post #34 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Professional.
Assertive.
Eloquent.
Direct.
Open.
Jobs.

While I read through Tim's email....those are the words that came to mind.

As a consumer and shareholder I am more than happy with Tim's statement and his style of handling the hubbub. Very Apple and very Jobs-like, which is why I saved it for the last word in my list.

I thought the same thing! He brings fire and conviction to the job. Apple is truly in good hands here.
post #35 of 181
Slaves built the pyramids
Slaves picked cotton in the South
Slaves make all these fancy gadgets we love so much?

Jeeeeesh, I dunno the answer to that question.

But probably not.

Though all you haters would LOVE to think so.

Whether or not you love/hate Apple, Android. Who cares?!!!!!

It is what it is.

Grow up.

   I am long on my shares of AAPL at $37.00

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   I am long on my shares of AAPL at $37.00

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post #36 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

Slaves built the pyramids

No they didn't.
post #37 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post

The shorts plant a few negative stories about Apple. The stock goes down for a few weeks. Then come a few positive stories about iPad 3, and the stock goes to a new high.

It's the typical up and down cycle. Rise into earnings and product announcements, then down again. Meanwhile Apple keeps raking it in. $100 per share in cash.

It sounds like you live in a world where the stock market is everything. That's fine if it makes you happy. But you're living in denial if you don't think any of the stories the NYT reported yesterday are genuine.

NYT didn't just bash Apple. They admitted others are guilty of turning a blind eye to many of the same activities from overseas suppliers. But that doesn't condone what Apple allows to happen with its suppliers in pursuit of increasing margins.

As for Tim Cook's impressive employee email that somehow magically leaked out, he said what I would expect him to say. I'm sure he got what he wanted out of it which is a whole lot of press covering Apple's positive spin on the story.
post #38 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

No they didn't.

No they didn't.

Aliens did.

   I am long on my shares of AAPL at $37.00

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   I am long on my shares of AAPL at $37.00

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post #39 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Back in the early part of the 20th century workers in the US were mistreated until they formed unions. Of course the unions became corrupt and problems arose from that as well. But the workers got better treatment. Maybe what the workers need in these factories is a union. Probably won't happen any ways.

Right. The Chinese shoot people in the open streets for voicing their views. A better idea, would be not to do business in those places, and make the playing field fair through US intervention.
post #40 of 181
I am happy I cancelled my subscription of NYT.
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