Apple's own medical experts say death at Pegatron not related to working conditions

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Following the death of a 15-year-old Pegatron worker who falsified documents related to his age, Apple dispatched its own medical experts to the factory in question to conduct an investigation, and came to the conclusion that the boy's death was not related to working conditions.

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The results of the investigation were provided by Apple in a statement to Reuters on Thursday. The iPhone maker found that the boy died of pneumonia, and there was nothing in the factory that would have caused the illness.

"Last month we sent independent medical experts from the U.S. and China to conduct an investigation of the factory," Apple said in a statement. "While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones."

The statement made no mention of what are alleged to have been "several" more employee deaths --?claims made on Wednesday by watchdog group China Labor Watch. It's been said that "at least five" workers employed at mainland Chinese factories owned by Pegatron have died in recent months.

Instead, Apple only commented on the death of 15-year-old Shi Shaokun, who was hired at a Pegatron plant after providing the employer with identification for his 21-year-old cousin.

"Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that conditions meet our high standards," the company said.

Pegatron also issued its own statement on the incident, saying that its separate investigation also concluded that the boy's death was not related to workplace conditions. China Labor Watch, however, claims that the underage employee underwent a physical assessment on Sept. 4 which showed he was in good health. He died in October.

As for the other deaths cited in reports earlier this week, Pegatron told Reuters there were three others that occurred in March and April of this year. Those were also said to have been caused by medical conditions unrelated to factory work.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    So Apple determined the boy died of pneumonia by investigating the factory? What a bunch of rubbish. They should've just not said anything at all rather than feed us that crap. That said, I don't know why they feel the need to say anything at all. They have no control over who their suppliers hire, and as such it's ridiculous that they receive bad press for anything that the suppliers do.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    China Labor Watch said the boy was assessed on Sept 4th and was found healthy but died in October.

    What are they trying to imply? That it's rare for someone to get sick and due in only one month? That he was healthy one day and died since starting work so work must be the reason?
  • Reply 3 of 27
    I like how it's Apple's fault for letting an underaged boy falsify his identity so he could work at Pegatron's factory.

    It's also Apple's fault when "they" can't keep up with launch demand for the new iPhone.

    If it touches Apple, it becomes their fault.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post



    So Apple determined the boy died of pneumonia by investigating the factory? What a bunch of rubbish. They should've just not said anything at all rather than feed us that crap. That said, I don't know why they feel the need to say anything at all. They have no control over who their suppliers hire, and as such it's ridiculous that they receive bad press for anything that the suppliers do.



    To be fair they probably also examined the body/ autopsy reports. It'd be really difficult to see if the working conditions could have caused a death if you didn't know the reason the person died.

  • Reply 5 of 27
    "That said, I don't know why they feel the need to say anything at all. They have no control over who their suppliers hire, and as such it's ridiculous that they receive bad press for anything that the suppliers do."

    Your second statement answers the question posed in the first statement. The bad press forces them to respond, as any savvy company would.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    freshmaker wrote: »
    So Apple determined the boy died of pneumonia by investigating the factory? What a bunch of rubbish. They should've just not said anything at all rather than feed us that crap. That said, I don't know why they feel the need to say anything at all. They have no control over who their suppliers hire, and as such it's ridiculous that they receive bad press for anything that the suppliers do.
    This article is weirdly written. I'm assuming those were two independent things: Apple confirmed the boy died of pneumonia and then investigated the factory and determined it was not the cause of his illness and death. I'd love it too if Apple said nothing rather than feeding the witch hunt, but I think this is a case of dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

    but I think this is a case of dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.

    Exactly, more troll bait for the interwebs and media no matter what they do.

  • Reply 8 of 27
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,857member
    China Labor Watch lacks professional ability of being faithful to truth. Why it does not list the other deaths in detail? It is engaging in a propaganda like most liberal groups.
  • Reply 9 of 27
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    I like how it's Apple's fault for letting an underaged boy falsify his identity so he could work at Pegatron's factory.



    It's also Apple's fault when "they" can't keep up with launch demand for the new iPhone.



    If it touches Apple, it becomes their fault.

    If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, it's still Apple's fault.

  • Reply 10 of 27
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    freshmaker wrote: »
    So Apple determined the boy died of pneumonia by investigating the factory? What a bunch of rubbish. They should've just not said anything at all rather than feed us that crap. That said, I don't know why they feel the need to say anything at all. They have no control over who their suppliers hire, and as such it's ridiculous that they receive bad press for anything that the suppliers do.
    With all due respect, you are clueless! Go get yourself a good education before you post such ridiculous comments. Of course Apple has a responsibility to monitor these factories, as they themselves have sated, and they are doing a better job than anyone else in the industry. Further, the only way to protect themselves from media hacks like the NYT, which got this story completely wrong, or clowns like Mike Daisey, is to be proactive in their audits and dealings with supplies.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    I like how it's Apple's fault for letting an underaged boy falsify his identity so he could work at Pegatron's factory.

    It's also Apple's fault when "they" can't keep up with launch demand for the new iPhone.

    If it touches Apple, it becomes their fault.

    Actually he wasn't underage. You are allowed to work at 15 in China.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    freerange wrote: »
    Actually he wasn't underage. You are allowed to work at 15 in China.
    Does Pegatron allow 15 year old workers?
  • Reply 13 of 27
    I agree that on both sides of this reported story, there are holes, massive ones, with missing information that may lead to fault or implied fault. Apple was grilled at so many levels a few years ago with Mr.Cook took the reigns at Apple. He has (ne: Apple) installed more watchdogs to monitor working conditions, dangerous materials and mandatory safety training for respect of human life than any company before it. The loopholes a manufacturer must create to allow underage, unhealthy workers to assemble Apple products must be very difficult to hide. No, we all know life in these impoverished countries is nowhere near to the quality of life in Europe, Japan, the USA or Canada. There is a pent-up demand to work under any conditions for very low wages opposed to not working and not eating or getting health care for your family. This is not Apple's fault. These are national/regional conditions based on political and social situations.
    If Apple is to be judged freely, compare their current actions against all others such as Acer, HP, Microsoft and every other company that uses Pegatron to manufacture their goods. Do they demand the same standards, wages, security or safety? Do they even monitor for infringements? Let's compare apples to apples, oranges to oranges. Accountability lies at every level of creation....design, r&d, manufacturing/outsourcing manufacturing, distribution and selling. Apple , I believe understands that each and every product that falls into a customers hands is accountable by them.

    (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/08/business/global/hewlett-packard-joins-push-to-limit-use-of-student-labor-in-china.html?ref=foxconntechnology&_r=0)
  • Reply 14 of 27
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,391member
    The fact that it's Pegatron's factory is largely irrelevant. You can't escape responsibility by using subcontractors. WalMart tried to pull this same crap some years ago when they hired a contractor to clean its stores at night. I don't remember the specifics, but I believe the employees were paid below minimum wage and were also locked into the store at night.

    If Apple used a contractor who bought slaves, would you say it's not Apple's problem because it's the contractor who is responsible?

    It's one thing when you're buying one tiny part from a supplier; it's quite another when the contractor is replacing something that is traditionally typical for a company like Apple to do themselves.

    The fact that a worker died from pneumonia is not in itself a sign that Apple or Pegatron did anything wrong. When I was a freshman in college, a classmate got pneumonia and died in short order. Sometimes these things just happen.

    But the fact that the worker was both underage and had apparently been forced to work more than the hours that Apple permits is an issue. As I've posted elsewhere, if the worker was exhausted from working 75 hours a week and got a bad cold, a suppressed immune system could have led to pneumonia, especially if the kid had been afraid to take any time off. And what hasn't been reported is whether or not this kid lived in a dorm at the factory or whether he lived at home. If he lived at the factory, did he have access to medical care?

    In spite of Apple's "Supplier Code", the suppliers are going to do everything to work around it because they're only interested in profit. The only way this is ever going to be resolved is if Apple places a permanent Apple-employed supervisor in each of the major contractor factories. But they won't because they'll probably feel that this will make them even more liable when something goes wrong.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,857member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post



    The fact that it's Pegatron's factory is largely irrelevant. You can't escape responsibility by using subcontractors. WalMart tried to pull this same crap some years ago when they hired a contractor to clean its stores at night. I don't remember the specifics, but I believe the employees were paid below minimum wage and were also locked into the store at night.



    If Apple used a contractor who bought slaves, would you say it's not Apple's problem because it's the contractor who is responsible?



    It's one thing when you're buying one tiny part from a supplier; it's quite another when the contractor is replacing something that is traditionally typical for a company like Apple to do themselves.



    The fact that a worker died from pneumonia is not in itself a sign that Apple or Pegatron did anything wrong. When I was a freshman in college, a classmate got pneumonia and died in short order. Sometimes these things just happen.



    But the fact that the worker was both underage and had apparently been forced to work more than the hours that Apple permits is an issue. As I've posted elsewhere, if the worker was exhausted from working 75 hours a week and got a bad cold, a suppressed immune system could have led to pneumonia, especially if the kid had been afraid to take any time off. And what hasn't been reported is whether or not this kid lived in a dorm at the factory or whether he lived at home. If he lived at the factory, did he have access to medical care?



    In spite of Apple's "Supplier Code", the suppliers are going to do everything to work around it because they're only interested in profit. The only way this is ever going to be resolved is if Apple places a permanent Apple-employed supervisor in each of the major contractor factories. But they won't because they'll probably feel that this will make them even more liable when something goes wrong.



    Several of your points are ignorant.  You are probably a salaried worker or simply a company exective.  Workers are paid by hours or work performed.  Most of them like to work as much as possible.  They are not FORCED.

     

    Second, have you read the news carefully.  In China the minimum working age is 15.  Even in US, high school kids are allowed to work in summertime or halftime. 

  • Reply 16 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

     



    Several of your points are ignorant.  You are probably a salaried worker or simply a company exective.  Workers are paid by hours or work performed.  Most of them like to work as much as possible.  They are not FORCED.

     

    Second, have you read the news carefully.  In China the minimum working age is 15.  Even in US, high school kids are allowed to work in summertime or halftime. 




    I don't think they like to work a low paying job for many hours just to earn enough money to live

  • Reply 17 of 27
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,857member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

     



    I don't think they like to work a low paying job for many hours just to earn enough money to live




    To an American the pay may seem like slavery.  To a 15 year old working in a high tech plant, it is different. 

  • Reply 18 of 27
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,391member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

     



    Several of your points are ignorant.  You are probably a salaried worker or simply a company exective.  Workers are paid by hours or work performed.  Most of them like to work as much as possible.  They are not FORCED.

     

    Second, have you read the news carefully.  In China the minimum working age is 15.  Even in US, high school kids are allowed to work in summertime or halftime. 


    I'm not going to get into a name-calling contest with you.   It's absurd that you can state that my points are ignorant as if that was a proven fact.

     

    Yes, workers are paid by hours, but the workers in these factories cannot choose how many hours they wish to work.     They can either work the hours their supervisors demand or they can quit (or be fired).    At the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., the famous sign that used to be posted in factories was, "If you don't come in on Sunday, don't come in on Monday".    That sign was posted at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, which locked stairway exits so the employees couldn't steal or take breaks and in which a fire killed 146 people who couldn't escape or who jumped out of 10th-story windows.    That fire caused the rise of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union which fought for better working conditions.  

     

    China may permit 15-year-old workers, but Apple doesn't.    So the factory violated Apple's code of conduct.    Besides, what China permits is not really relevant.   If China permitted 7-year-old workers, would you say that's okay?   And in the U.S., the jobs that minors are permitted to work are limited, as are the hours.   I don't think there's a single state that permits minors to work in factories.    In many states, you have to be 18 to even operate most amusement park rides (even though that's a job frequently associated with summer-time work for high-school students).   New York and New Jersey definitely require ride operators to be 18 (kiddie-rides might be an exception).   

  • Reply 19 of 27
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,857member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

     

    I'm not going to get into a name-calling contest with you.   It's absurd that you can state that my points are ignorant as if that was a proven fact.

     

    Yes, workers are paid by hours, but the workers in these factories cannot choose how many hours they wish to work.     They can either work the hours their supervisors demand or they can quit (or be fired).    At the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., the famous sign that used to be posted in factories was, "If you don't come in on Sunday, don't come in on Monday".    That sign was posted at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, which locked stairway exits so the employees couldn't steal or take breaks and in which a fire killed 146 people who couldn't escape or who jumped out of 10th-story windows.    That fire caused the rise of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union which fought for better working conditions.  

     

    China may permit 15-year-old workers, but Apple doesn't.    So the factory violated Apple's code of conduct.    Besides, what China permits is not really relevant.   If China permitted 7-year-old workers, would you say that's okay?   And in the U.S., the jobs that minors are permitted to work are limited, as are the hours.   I don't think there's a single state that permits minors to work in factories.    In many states, you have to be 18 to even operate most amusement park rides (even though that's a job frequently associated with summer-time work for high-school students).   New York and New Jersey definitely require ride operators to be 18 (kiddie-rides might be an exception).   




    Again you are ignorant about Apple.  Apple wants the plant to obey local laws.  Please show me Apple document that forbid 15 year old worker.

    I don't know the exact rule in China factory.  But what you said in US is not true now.  The US factory use punch cards.  If the worker has rule exactly as the supervisors demand, then punch cards are mostly useless.  Again I don't thing you are a US worker or ever worked in a US factory. 

  • Reply 20 of 27
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,391member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post


    Again you are ignorant about Apple.  Apple wants the plant to obey local laws.  Please show me Apple document that forbid 15 year old worker.

    I don't know the exact rule in China factory.  But what you said in US is not true now.  The US factory use punch cards.  If the worker has rule exactly as the supervisors demand, then punch cards are mostly useless.  Again I don't thing you are a US worker or ever worked in a US factory. 

     

    Everything you say is incorrect.

    - Yes, U.S. factories have punch cards to track hours, but that doesn't mean you can work any hours that you want. If you don't show up at the required time for your shift, don't you think there are ramifications? Do you think you can just walk off the line when you feel like it and say, "okay, I'm leaving….you don't have to pay for me for the rest of today." Hell, I once got fired from a retail job because I didn't punch out for lunch - we were so busy I didn't take lunch. I didn't expect to get paid for that hour, but I did it for the good for the department. I got fired for my trouble. The reason why factories use punch cards in spite of mandatory hours is to track the exact time you worked down to the minute and also to track days off.

    - Apple's code of conduct is much more stringent than local laws. Local laws form the baseline of what Apple requires. If Apple only required adherence to local laws, then their supplier code of conduct would not be necessary because it would be moot, wouldn't it?

    - If Apple or Pegatron permitted 15-year-old workers, then it wouldn't have been necessary for the worker who died to use his cousin's fake ID, would it?

    Note that I'm not responding to any further comments you make because your absurd remarks aren't worth my time.
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