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Foxconn promises to fix a multitude of violations found by FLA audit

post #1 of 23
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A Fair Labor Association audit of working conditions at Apple supplier Foxconn's plants has revealed a number of violations, but the Chinese company has reportedly vowed to rectify the situation.

The FLA posted its first report on Thursday through its website, saying that it found excess working times and various code violations at the three Foxconn factories investigated.

“The Fair Labor Association gave Apple’s largest supplier the equivalent of a full-body scan through 3,000 staff hours investigating three of its factories and surveying more than 35,000 workers," said Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the FLA. "Apple and its supplier Foxconn have agreed to our prescriptions, and we will verify progress and report publicly.”

Apple first joined forces with the FLA in January amid a slew of high-profile media stories highlighting labor issues in the Cupertino, Calif., company's supply chain. The iPhone maker sought to resolve reports of working conditions that were incongruent with supplier responsibility policies.

For its part, Foxconn pledged to bring its factories up to spec with Chinese laws and the FLA's Code by July 2013. Part of the remediation would include bringing working hours down to the legal limit of 49 hours per week including overtime, and a reduction in monthly overtime from 80 to 36 hours.

The FLA found that during peak production periods within the past 12 months, the average number of hours worked per week was over the code's limit of 60 hours per worker. Some employees were reported to have worked more than seven days in a row without taking a mandated 24 hours off.

One of the issues regarding the working hours is that some employees are opting to work longer shifts for the higher wages. To resolve this, Foxconn has agreed to create a better compensation package to offset the losses workers would face by decreasing their overtime hours.

Some 14 percent of employees are possibly affected by the Chinese manufacturer's overtime payment structure, which currently counts work time in 30-minute increments. The FLA reached an agreement with both Foxconn and Apple to retroactively pay any outstanding overtime wages.

As for the level of pay, an employee survey found that 64 percent workers say that compensation does not meet their basic needs. To this end, Foxconn will work with the FLA in an upcoming study to help determine what constitutes basic needs in the company's Shenzhen and Chengdu locations.

Workplace conditions

Working conditions at Foxconn's factories have come under scrutiny in May 2011, when an explosion at an iPad 2 plant caused the deaths of two employees.

According to the worker survey, over 43 percent say that they have seen or been part of an accident while in the factory. The exact number of accidents can't be accurately reported because Foxconn's previous rules only recorded an incident that stopped production. This will change immediately, however, and the company is now requiring that all supervisors and employees report injuries as soon as they occur.

During the audit, Foxconn corrected safety problems like blocked exits, lack of or faulty personal protective equipment and missing permits.

Since the Chengdu incident, the company has apparently made advances in risk measurement and reporting to ensure that an accident of that magnitude won't occur again.

Chance to become an industry leader

The FLA said that Foxconn has the opportunity to become the gold standard in China for factory workers' rights, though the current situation is less than optimal.

The factory worker's union is basically a shell organization led by management representatives. In order to provide true worker representation, Foxconn has agreed to hold elections without interference from the management

All of the promises mentioned above would be a giant leap forward from current conditions, and would bring the factory's standards more in line with western counterparts.

“If implemented, these commitments will significantly improve the lives of more than 1.2 million Foxconn employees and set a new standard for Chinese factories,” van Heerden said.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Foxconn's new Zengzhou plant, which employs 120,000 workers, as part of his China tour that has so far seen talks with chinese officials and local Apple Store visits.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 23
post #3 of 23
49 hours a week? Including OT? Who works only 49 hours a week? I don't.
post #4 of 23
So much for the anti-Apple comments that the FLA wouldn't find anything wrong simply because Apple was paying for the audit.

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #5 of 23
"So much for the anti-Apple comments that the FLA wouldn't find anything wrong simply because Apple was paying for the audit."

Exactly. And with that, Apple shall be absolved.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

So much for the anti-Apple comments that the FLA wouldn't find anything wrong simply because Apple was paying for the audit.

So much for the pro-Apple comments that the FLA wouldn't find anything wrong simply because Apple was treating workers humanely.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

So much for the pro-Apple comments that the FLA wouldn't find anything wrong simply because Apple was treating workers humanely.

Who said that? Retail companies do audits of their stores all the time in order to find shortcomings. The auditors, sometimes internal sometimes external, aren't paid to come back with "everything is perfect and wonderful, you guys are awesome." It's about finding holes that can affect profit. So show me one person who wasn't an ignorant troll thought that Apple hiring a firm to audit their manufacturing partner would come back with no issues. Now show me where they verified your boy Daisey's claims of underage workers, slave workers, and other human rights violations.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

So much for the pro-Apple comments that the FLA wouldn't find anything wrong simply because Apple was treating workers humanely.

Foxconn, dumbass, Foxconn.

You know, that company also employed by Acer, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba?

The irony of Apple's CEO being there in person to address these issues while we haven't heard squat from all those companies is highly amusing.
My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
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My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
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post #9 of 23
Yawn. We all knew this already. Nothing to see here.

Of course, the media frauds will bury it in p. 12 of Section 2.
post #10 of 23
Very bad news for all the other manufacturers. Now that Apple is stepping up the others will have to follow. The problem is twofold:

First, Apple was already better than the majority of manufacturers when it came to workers. Now the gap is even wider, and other companies will look terrible when compared next to Apple if they don't do anything to match Apple.

Second, Apple can afford this. Other companies don't have the resources Apple does and many are barely making enough to stay afloat. Now they've just had another huge expense added to their bottom line that they didn't have to worry about.

In the end, I bet everyone else is pissed at Daisey more than Apple, as they're the ones who are going to suffer most.

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Author of The Fuel Injection Bible

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post #11 of 23
This makes me proud to own apple products
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Very bad news for all the other manufacturers. Now that Apple is stepping up the others will have to follow. The problem is twofold:

First, Apple was already better than the majority of manufacturers when it came to workers. Now the gap is even wider, and other companies will look terrible when compared next to Apple if they don't do anything to match Apple.

Second, Apple can afford this. Other companies don't have the resources Apple does and many are barely making enough to stay afloat. Now they've just had another huge expense added to their bottom line that they didn't have to worry about.

In the end, I bet everyone else is pissed at Daisey more than Apple, as they're the ones who are going to suffer most.

Good analysis!
post #13 of 23
They have until July 2013 to comply? When was the last time a traffic fine didnt have to be paid for a year?
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post

They have until July 2013 to comply? When was the last time a traffic fine didnt have to be paid for a year?

You're comparing this to a traffic fine?

What the...?
My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
Reply
My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
Reply
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

You're comparing this to a traffic fine?

What the...?

Well its actually more serious which means the issue should be remedied even more hastily, correct? That's my point. Apple has soul. I know they will do the right thing.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post

Well its actually more serious which means the issue should be remedied even more hastily, correct? That's my point. Apple has soul. I know they will do the right thing.

'More serious than a traffic fine' would then probably require a longer period to resolve than a traffic fine then, yes?

Isn't this what they've been given?

You know they will 'do the right thing'?

Are you saying they aren't doing the right thing already?
My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
Reply
My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
Reply
post #17 of 23
Why the issue with Apple period is what I can't understand. If I hire someone to paint my home, and that person abuses his employees and doesn't pay them well, then this is my problem because why?!?

Fault the Chinese Government and it's standards of business practices. Drop Apple out of the equation. That's total bullshit to fault Apple when they just want a product built by the lowest bidder.

All other companies that are escaping the light of this will just end up moving their operations to another country that won't give a shit about it's people and work them hard to make a profit. It all began with NAFTA and legalized outsourcing and no one saw this coming?

Our government told these corps "here's our labor laws and policies but if you don't like that, then you have the option to outsource to any other place that won't regulate or restrict your operations. And who truly benefited from this deal in the long run? The politicians who accepted the lobbying dollars to legalize all of this. So point the finger back to washington where the blame belongs. If they truly cared about unemployment and our economy, then these jobs would be forced to stay domestic where our local men and women can unionize and complain about their working conditions and unlawful labor torture. This way the cycle can come full circle.

Did I even get the point across. I'm not sure if I did but I do feel better. ;-)
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

'More serious than a traffic fine' would then probably require a longer period to resolve than a traffic fine then, yes?

Isn't this what they've been given?

You know they will 'do the right thing'?

Are you saying they aren't doing the right thing already?

In a perfect world they would have all of their products made in America.
But we no longer have skilled, disciplined, or competent workers, so that's not going to happen. Just watch the reality and court shows and witness the plethora of ignorance that permeates the nation.

Yes, I do believe Apple could improve itself in the labor situation. Although, these are not Apple employees, and Apple does treat its own employees very well, including benefits for domestic partners. Most companies can't claim that.

It's nice to see at least one corporation try to improve conditions. I think about oil companies that spill massive amounts of oil, kill our oceans, and then the taxpayers pick up the bill. Yet everybody still drives cars everyday and doesn't think twice. But a subcontractor of Apple's has some instances of labor violations and all of a sudden Apple is the most evil entity on the planet. The short attention span of Americans never ceases to annoy me.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post


A- In a perfect world they would have all of their products made in America.

B- The short attention span of Americans never ceases to annoy me.

A-> Why the hell would that be? In a perfect world, Apple would do what it currently does, and there would be no third world. Everyone would have a good job, and the hardest working would earn the most money. If Americans are more lazy, they should earn less. If they are more hardworking, they should earn more. There is NO moral grounding for Apple products to be made in America, unless you believe that God sent down Abraham Lincoln with stone tablets to tell the people of America that this is the promised land... (yes, this is a reference to the Bible )

B-> "humans". Chinese, Indians, French, English, Dutch, Italians, Malaysians, from my experience, have the exact same behavior. The size and diversity of the sample allows me to statistically believe this behavior to be human. The good question is, what purpose does it serve? I would surmise that evolution has ingrained it in us for SOME reason?

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #20 of 23
If Foxconn wants to agree with FLA to limit working hours, that's fine, that's their right to do that.

But I feel kind of sorry for the desperately poor, fresh off the farm, with a whole family back home depending on them - they will want to work all the hours they physically can, spare time be damned. I hope these people can get a second job at another company.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post

In a perfect world they would have all of their products made in America.
But we no longer have skilled, disciplined, or competent workers, so that's not going to happen. Just watch the reality and court shows and witness the plethora of ignorance that permeates the nation.

Your idea of a 'perfect world' is a far cry from the reality of global businesses.

First, Apple is a global company. In case you hadn't noticed, they sell products all over the planet. In fact, IIRC, they actually get less than half of their revenues in the U.S. Why would all of their product be made in the U.S. in a perfect world?

Second, it has little to do with the availability of skilled labor. Actually, that's one of the factors, but is the most easily corrected. The entire infrastructure works against high volume manufacturing here (currency exchange rates, environmental laws, health and safety laws, legal liability, corporate tax rates, etc).
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post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by djkikrome View Post

Why the issue with Apple period is what I can't understand. If I hire someone to paint my home, and that person abuses his employees and doesn't pay them well, then this is my problem because why?!?

If Apple was giving Foxconn a tiny bit of business that was equivalent to the business that other companies were giving it, I might agree with you. But in this case, where certainly tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Foxconn employees are there because of Apple, Apple has to bare some responsibility.

I don't think Apple and companies like it should be able to hide behind "outsourcing". Taken to an extreme conclusion, if Apple bares no responsibility for these employees because this is a contract with a third party, that third party could hire slave labor, child labor, etc. I don't find that acceptable. I don't think we should be judging Foxconn by American labor standards, but Apple (and the other companies who use them) is not going to look very good if there's ever a big tragedy.

The U.S. labor movement really took off after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire that killed 146 workers in 1911 on the site of what is now New York University. Triangle was famous for the sign that read, "If you don't come in on Sunday, don't come in on Monday". Workers died because the doors were locked from the outside so they couldn't leave during their shift. This FLA audit found such things as locked exits. That's a major tragedy waiting to happen. How is Apple going to look if there's ever a big fire and 200 Foxconn employees die? And what this looks like to the world, regardless of Foxconn's involvement is "large American company that produces luxury products exploits workers." Every worker is entitled to a living wage, pay for overtime, safe work conditions and to not work an unreasonable amount of hours. It's not reasonable for Apple's workers not to have this, regardless of whether Apple "hides" by outsourcing.

This is no different than Wal-Mart getting into trouble for the conditions faced by their cleaning crews, even though those were contracted to another company and when some celeb's clothing line (Kathy Lee Gifford, maybe?) was found to be manufactured in part by child labor. Outsourcing doesn't absolve one of moral responsibility.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

If Apple was giving Foxconn a tiny bit of business that was equivalent to the business that other companies were giving it, I might agree with you. But in this case, where certainly tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Foxconn employees are there because of Apple, Apple has to bare some responsibility.

I don't think Apple and companies like it should be able to hide behind "outsourcing". Taken to an extreme conclusion, if Apple bares no responsibility for these employees because this is a contract with a third party, that third party could hire slave labor, child labor, etc. I don't find that acceptable. I don't think we should be judging Foxconn by American labor standards, but Apple (and the other companies who use them) is not going to look very good if there's ever a big tragedy.

The U.S. labor movement really took off after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire that killed 146 workers in 1911 on the site of what is now New York University. Triangle was famous for the sign that read, "If you don't come in on Sunday, don't come in on Monday". Workers died because the doors were locked from the outside so they couldn't leave during their shift. This FLA audit found such things as locked exits. That's a major tragedy waiting to happen. How is Apple going to look if there's ever a big fire and 200 Foxconn employees die? And what this looks like to the world, regardless of Foxconn's involvement is "large American company that produces luxury products exploits workers." Every worker is entitled to a living wage, pay for overtime, safe work conditions and to not work an unreasonable amount of hours. It's not reasonable for Apple's workers not to have this, regardless of whether Apple "hides" by outsourcing.

This is no different than Wal-Mart getting into trouble for the conditions faced by their cleaning crews, even though those were contracted to another company and when some celeb's clothing line (Kathy Lee Gifford, maybe?) was found to be manufactured in part by child labor. Outsourcing doesn't absolve one of moral responsibility.

Thanks for the history info. Interesting.
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