CNN investigates Foxconn iPad factory conditions, Apple responds

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


A new report features a woman who works 60 hours per week assembling iPad components in China, though she has never seen a full iPad in person. In response, Apple said it works to protect "every worker" in its worldwide supply chain.



The report from CNN features a woman called "Miss Chen," whose name was changed to protect her identity. Though she works at a Foxconn factory assembling iPads, she is shown the fully assembled product for the first time in her life by the TV news network.



"Wow, I want it," the 18-year-old student from a village outside of Chongqing, China, said. She is said to labor more than 60 hours per week assembling components for the iPad.



"Chen" told the network that she took the job at Foxconn and was promised "great benefits and little overtime." But once she began working at the Foxconn factory, she claims she was forced into overtime regularly, and found out that only senior employees receive benefits and sick leave.



CNN reached out to Apple for comment on the story. The Cupertino, Calif., company issued the following statement:



"We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing products wherever Apple products are made. Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple."



For the interview, the employee was taken to what she said was the first restaurant she has eaten at since she began working at the Foxconn factory. Employees at Foxconn's mega-facilities, like the one in Chengdu where "Chen" is employed, frequently eat, sleep, work and live there.



Reporter Stan Grant was on location at the front gate of Foxconn's Chengdu plant, though he was not allowed to enter the facility. He was told by "Chen" that she does not feel Foxconn cares about her.



The CNN story is the latest recent report to attack Apple and its relationship with Foxconn for assembly of its products. Late last month, The New York Times published a pair of stories profiling Apple's overseas manufacturing operations, examining the "human costs" that go into the iPad and other devices.



















An anonymous former Apple executive who spoke with the newspaper said that the company has known about labor abuses in overseas factories for years. But they said nothing has been done because "the system works for us."



Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook responded to those claims with an e-mail calling them "patently false and offensive." The letter issued to employees noted that Apple will continue to scrutinize its supply chain and will inevitably find more issues, but said that the company will never turn a blind eye to problems. "On this you have my word," he said.



Last month, a number of Foxconn workers at a factory that produces Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console threatened mass suicide if working conditions and wages were not improved. The company eventually settled a dispute with the protesting workers.



Apple recently released its annual supplier responsibility report, revealing there were fewer cases of underage labor at its overseas partners in 2011, with no intentional underage hirings. A total of 229 audits were conducted throughout the supply chain in 2011, an 80 percent increase from 2010.



Apple also boasted in January that it became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association. Apple's participation in the FLA means the company has agreed to have the association independently assess facilities in its supply chain and report detailed findings on its website.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 147
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,573member
    Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.





    More info here



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



  • Reply 2 of 147
    I put in 60 hours in my job all the time in a week. That is normal practice.
  • Reply 3 of 147
    I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.
  • Reply 4 of 147
    If she was promised it and wasn't given it, why didn't she quit. Or complain to the government, the courts or whatever.



    No, she put up with it. Why, who knows? But if these folks have an issue with their treatment they need to stay up for themselves. If not doing that is just part of the culture then the culture needs to change. If the laws allow it then they need to get the laws changed.



    And CNN etc need to realize that Apple is one of only something like 50 tech companies that do business with Foxconn and if you look at unit counts, those other 49 do way more business than Apple. Apple's higher prices just cause a higher dollar amount on the final figure. Where are the news stories about them. Where are the petitions. Where's the uproar about the XBox protest where more folks threatened to jump in that single incident than have jumped or tried in the past 5-7 years. No one is looking at Microsoft's factories, etc.



    It's great that people want Apple to clean up the US, clean up China etc. But this is not an Apple issue to handle alone. There are other companies and also governments that should be involved. So where are they
  • Reply 5 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.





    Do the crime, do the time. I don't feel bad for those who are in prison and worked like dogs. They did something to get there, didn't they? I would rather see them work than sit in jail and get room and board on my tax dollars after they were jailed for a crime.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sblanford View Post


    I put in 60 hours in my job all the time in a week. That is normal practice.



    Same here. Not every week, but often enough. Part of my job.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    If she was promised it and wasn't given it, why didn't she quit. Or complain to the government, the courts or whatever.



    No, she put up with it. Why, who knows? But if these folks have an issue with their treatment they need to stay up for themselves. If not doing that is just part of the culture then the culture needs to change. If the laws allow it then they need to get the laws changed.



    And CNN etc need to realize that Apple is one of only something like 50 tech companies that do business with Foxconn and if you look at unit counts, those other 49 do way more business than Apple. Apple's higher prices just cause a higher dollar amount on the final figure. Where are the news stories about them. Where are the petitions. Where's the uproar about the XBox protest where more folks threatened to jump in that single incident than have jumped or tried in the past 5-7 years. No one is looking at Microsoft's factories, etc.



    Exactly.
  • Reply 6 of 147
    hodarhodar Posts: 258member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post


    Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.





    The folk in prisons have demonstrated that they "Don't play well with others" - hence, they are confined to a cell and treated like animals. Why? Becuase, left to their own devices, they act like animals. Many seem to enjoy this - because they keep going back.



    If you want a pity-party - why not go visit with their victims? Those are the people who deserve pity.
  • Reply 7 of 147
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by radiospace View Post


    I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.



    We should bring those jobs here to the U.S.!!!!

    Apple can afford to bring those jobs here to the US. I am not faulting them for doing well..I support Apple by buying their products. But with billions in cash reserves they should bring those jobs to the U.S.
  • Reply 8 of 147
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hodar View Post


    The folk in prisons have demonstrated that they "Don't play well with others" - hence, they are confined to a cell and treated like animals. Why? Becuase, left to their own devices, they act like animals. Many seem to enjoy this - because they keep going back.



    If you want a pity-party - why not go visit with their victims? Those are the people who deserve pity.



    I agree! Those that say that probably would not want them living next door....or having contact with their families. If you want to see context visit the VICTIMS families and see what their opinions are...........
  • Reply 9 of 147
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by geekdad View Post


    We should bring those jobs here to the U.S.!!!!



    Those jobs are never going to come back.



    If they did, we'd have to pay more for Apple products. Its all OK when you are spending other people's money, eh? If you were an Apple shareholder you would want the highest possible profit, and if you were an Apple customer you would want the lowest possible price.



    Nobody gets anything good if those jobs come back to the US.
  • Reply 10 of 147
    Who died and made CNN et al the arbiter on what are fair labor practices in China? If the employee interviewed felt she was being mistreated, why is she still working there? The obvious implication being her alternatives were less desirable.
  • Reply 11 of 147
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    Those jobs are never going to come back.



    If they did, we'd have to pay more for Apple products. Its all OK when you are spending other people's money, eh? If you were an Apple shareholder you would want the highest possible profit, and if you were an Apple customer you would want the lowest possible price.



    Nobody gets anything good if those jobs come back to the US.



    I disagree....for an American company they should base their jobs in the US. It does everything for them and the US......As far as profit goes. Apple has more cash than they know what to do with. At some point American corporations as a whole need to stop offshoring jobs. I do not fault Apple or any other copr for doing well. But you can't argue and say that would hurt them...as it would not slow down sales at all. I agree it would hurt the bottom line by either raising prices slightly or lowering profit margins
  • Reply 12 of 147
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by radiospace View Post


    I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.



    I bet you get more than 83c an hour though, which is what she gets.
  • Reply 13 of 147
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Apple could address this issue very easily by mandating in their supplier contracts a maximum working week and a minimum hourly wage. Apple could easily survive with a bit less profit every quarter. They don't do anything meaningful with their cash pile anyway so why not give a little back to give these people a better life.
  • Reply 14 of 147
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by radiospace View Post


    I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.



    Poor you. How do you survive on $1 an hour?
  • Reply 15 of 147
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    $1 an hour would constitute 17% pay rise over her actual wage
  • Reply 16 of 147
    This is not just Apple but this is Typical in China. Most of the workers leave their families for months on end to go work in these factories.



    This one girl I know works six days a week. But she's happy.. She does order processing online and offline. I don't know how she does it but she does
  • Reply 17 of 147
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,953member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by radiospace View Post


    I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.



    Let's keep the downward spiral going and try to compete with them in order to bring those jobs back: let's go for 80 hours a week at the lowest wage possible, sleeping in company dorm rooms, eating company meals, no benefits, and no time off for family life or vacations. All the while praying we don't get cancer or some other illness which makes it impossible to work.



    And in our spare waking hours, we might catch a glimpse of the sons & daughters of the people who own the company we work for on reality TV shows flaunting the trust funds they inherited off our backs.



    Welcome to the future...
  • Reply 18 of 147
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    Foxconn could address this issue very easily by mandating a maximum working week and a minimum hourly wage. Foxconn could easily survive with a bit less profit every quarter. They don't do anything meaningful with their cash pile anyway so why not give a little back to give these people a better life.



    Funny it's also true this way.
  • Reply 19 of 147
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    I wonder how many CNN reporters have been awoken in the middle of the night, had to pack their bags and travel to all points in the world to cover a story?



    Watching the disasters in Louisiana, Haiti, etc., one wonders how much overtime they were compensated for while people were clamoring for help.



    Interesting one was the "Montana Vermiculite Contamination" which I don't think CNN ever covered.



    As for "Buy American," ever wonder why the news media, in particular is comprised of a somewhat disproportional number of non-Americans in primary news positions or called in a world experts, even for US based issues.



    Actually, I don't wonder about it as much as I did, having researched public attitudes studies that have demonstrated time after time that the media are only perceived to be as untrustworthy as lawyers and politicians. All three at the bottom of the barrel so-to-speak. Hmm. Just dawned on me…CNN and the like are obviously trying to change there image hiring personnel out of the country



    But then, one has to imaging how many gold medals the US would really have gotten if there Olympic/ College organizations were prevented from recruiting foreign athletes and fast tracking their citizenship status.
  • Reply 20 of 147
    I'm tired of these articles, unfairly singling out Apple merely because it's the biggest name in the game -- and (unfortunately) Apple needs to nip this in the bud now before it snowballs out of control.



    I abhor Chinese labor practices, and try to avoid "Made in China" when I can. But that's no reason to single out Apple for criticism; in fact (as few of these articles point out) Apple is one of the few companies actively trying to improve its Chinese working conditions. Do the NY Times and CNN, et al, really think that their shoes Made in China, and clothes Made in China, and other electronics, toys, dog food, etc. Made in China is made any differently than these working conditions?



    Even though these poor working conditions are endemic to China, there have been enough of these stories now that they could take on a life of their own and unfairly impact Apple's reputation. Apple needs to work fast, now, to nip these in the bud and shed light on the overall Chinese working situation.



    And by the way, dear CNN, where are all the Chinese workers who are thrilled to have these jobs? The NY Times received many responses for actual Chinese workers criticizing their articles on Apple, noting that the factory working conditions are still better - and the pay higher - than what they'd known before. Anyone can find one disgruntled worker; a true news organization would do a comprehensive investigation and detail the bigger picture.



    ... but wait, that wouldn't generate hype-filled headlines and drive sales now, would it.
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