Apple contractor repair depot described as a 'sweatshop' by workers

Posted:
in General Discussion
A repair depot contracted by Apple to fix consumers' broken hardware has been called a "sweatshop" by employees, with the workers claiming unhealthy work environments and impossible quotas.

CSAT Solutions employees complain about poor work conditions
CSAT Solutions employees complain about poor work conditions


The repair depot in question is the CSAT Solutions Houston facility, one of many companies that Apple uses for repairs. According to complaints, contractors hired by CSAT work on incoming repairs from Apple, Lenovo, and others with poor pay, long hours, and disgusting work environments.

Multiple current and former employees spoke to Business Insider about the working conditions. Several problems were described from broken air conditioning units to feces-covered toilets.

"'Sweatshop' would be the number one way I would describe CSAT," a manager who worked there for four years told Business Insider. "People are running everywhere. People are being yelled at. It's a lot of chaos when you walk in."

Apple provided a statement about the issues reported, saying that facilities are inspected regularly and Apple's partners are held to the "highest standards in the industry."

"We uphold the highest standards in the industry and regularly assess our suppliers to ensure they comply," an Apple spokesperson said. "We have undertaken three assessments at CSAT in Houston in recent years, and Apple members regularly visit the site. We take all allegations seriously and will investigate. As always, our focus is on making sure that everyone in our supply chain is protected and treated with dignity and respect."

Employees interviewed about the conditions say that Apple knew about the poor working conditions. They cite multiple Apple visits over the years with no changes to the environment.

This isn't the first time there have been reports of poor working conditions at CSAT Houston. An avid Apple leaker named @choco_bit, or "Fudge," on Twitter shared details about this repair center before.

Fudge described the CSAT management as "slow and incompetent." The leaker also said that "their workers are paid little while being expected to meet insane repair quotas with garbage work conditions."

These comments were made after a ransomware attack affected the Houston facility. Apple uses a variety of repair depots, though it appears that this CSAT facility is prone to issues.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 100member
    What is the Memphis facility like? Is it run by the same contractor?
  • Reply 2 of 11

    Lower costs of repairs
    Lower quality
    Lower whatever
    The right to repair...

    Japhey
  • Reply 3 of 11
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,341member
    Fudge described the CSAT management as "slow and incompetent." The leaker also said that "their workers are paid little while being expected to meet insane repair quotas with garbage work conditions."

    Such as…?

    While I have no real doubt this isn’t true, why are there never any specifics noted?   Is it hot?  Poorly lit?   Smelly?   

    Edit: Nevermind.  Found some details in another article.

    What does “slow” mean when referring to management?  I get incompetent.  


    edited July 27
  • Reply 4 of 11
    ITGUYINSDITGUYINSD Posts: 283member
    "Apple provided a statement about the issues reported, saying that facilities are inspected regularly and Apple's partners are held to the "highest standards in the industry."

    So, who is lying?  Or are these "highest standards" different than their products' high standards?


  • Reply 5 of 11
    stimpystimpy Posts: 16member
    The poeple in at the ends might care but the people in the middle and front facing the providers only care about bucks. We were very efficient and paid the workers 40% of each repair. Our rep basically told us due to our volume we should be sending it out to depot or sending customers to depot. It ultimately caused us not to continue our contract. Our rep was never on our side and basically out to shut us down. Our performance was over 150% the standard each month and our bathrooms are clean.
    edited July 27
  • Reply 6 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,814member
    Would the following equally factual headline be interpreted any differently?

    "Lenovo contractor repair depot described as a 'sweatshop' by workers"

    The answer is yes, it would be a big fat "Who cares?" Apple at least tries to make an effort to hold their outsourcing partners to a higher level of quality and compliance with basic human rights, even when those partners are just as much in bed with other product makers as they are with Apple. Expecting Apple to take action when grievances are aired is the standard mode of operation with these things, because everyone expects Apple to step up. I'm okay with that, but perhaps if Lenovo and all the unnamed "others" opened followed Apple's lead on these issues something may be done faster and sooner. Is Lenovo even looking into this?
    jas99llama
  • Reply 7 of 11
    "We uphold the highest standards in the industry and regularly assess our suppliers to ensure they comply," an Apple spokesperson said.
    Employees interviewed about the conditions say that Apple knew about the poor working conditions.
    Someone is clearly lying.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 122member
    Everywhere I go I see "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" signs. I'd suggest trying to find a better job if it's really that bad.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,084member
    zeus423 said:
    Everywhere I go I see "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" signs. I'd suggest trying to find a better job if it's really that bad.
    No fancy esd-safe lab coat. 
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Alex_VAlex_V Posts: 40member
    zeus423 said:
    Everywhere I go I see "Help Wanted" or "Now Hiring" signs.

    That’s all the evidence that I need… 
  • Reply 11 of 11
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,251member
    dewme said:
    Would the following equally factual headline be interpreted any differently?

    "Lenovo contractor repair depot described as a 'sweatshop' by workers"

    The answer is yes, it would be a big fat "Who cares?" Apple at least tries to make an effort to hold their outsourcing partners to a higher level of quality and compliance with basic human rights, even when those partners are just as much in bed with other product makers as they are with Apple. Expecting Apple to take action when grievances are aired is the standard mode of operation with these things, because everyone expects Apple to step up. I'm okay with that, but perhaps if Lenovo and all the unnamed "others" opened followed Apple's lead on these issues something may be done faster and sooner. Is Lenovo even looking into this?
    Here’s the difference - Apple actively promotes itself as a leader in ensuring safe and humane working conditions. Lenovo does not - when I pay a bit more for Apple products I do so knowing (or at least hoping) that some of that cost goes towards those causes. Stories like this call that into question. If true, it means Apple is actually worse than other companies because they are lying about it. 

    Now add to that the right to repair debate - Apple wants to restrict repairs to its own network, but it its network is a group of sweatshops then we’re forced to (potentially) pay more to use a sweatshop to repair our device.

    so yes, it is different and the story should be investigated. 
    ronnmuthuk_vanalingam
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