China Labor Watch again cites Apple for poor Chinese factory working conditions

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2018
Apple has come under fire again for working conditions in an iPhone and MacBook enclosure manufacturing facility, with workers allegedly undertrained, and lacking sufficient hazard protections.




A report from Bloomberg on Tuesday, and a forthcoming report from China Labor Watch both allege that goggles and earplugs for workers are not always available to workers. The sites have frequent spray of tiny metallic particles, and noise in excess of 80 decibels on the factory floor, according to the workers.

Dormitory conditions are reportedly terrible as well, lacking hot water and showers. As a result, workers may pass on washing for days at a time.

"My hands turned bloodless white after a day of work," one of the workers told Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity. "I only tell good things to my family and keep the sufferings like this for myself."

China Labor Watch interviewed 50 employees for its forthcoming report, finding "major issues" with scheduling, pollution, and occupational safety. The advocacy group claims that the company violates Chinese law regarding owed wages for departing employees.

Other issues found range from a lack of rubber gloves to protect from fluid spray, the smell of the facility mostly from solvent off-gassing, poor respiratory filters, overcrowded dormitories with poor climate control, and bad training including short sessions and a lack of fixed procedures.




No incidents of child labor were found by China Labor Watch.

After hearing about the impending report, Apple sent an additional team to audit the complex. An Apple spokeswoman said that the team found no evidence of violations of its standards, after interviewing 150 people.

"We know our work is never done and we investigate each and every allegation thats made," the un-named spokeswoman said to Bloomberg. "We remain dedicated to doing all we can to protect the workers in our supply chain."

Catcher works for Apple, Samsung, HP, Lenovo, and LG, amongst others, providing magnesium and machined aluminum, with both Bloomberg and China Labor Watch mentioning the other companies in passing. Apple's iPhone and MacBook enclosures are milled by Catcher.

The report out of Catcher's Suqian facility is not the first to find issues. In 2013 and 2014, the supplier was found to be in violation of many issues, surrounding pay and hazardous material handling.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,284member
    I wonder if Samsung, HP, Lenovo, and LG all sent auditors immediately after hearing about the report.
    racerhomie3anton zuykovspinnydradster360watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Screw the China watchdog.
    They should do a watchdog for their government 
    spinnydwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,808member
    Why are they citing Apple for this? Its not Apple's factory...its Foxconn's. Out of 100,000 or so that work there, they chose 50 people? Thats hardly a sample. Why don't they crack down on Foxconn and all of the other factories like this? Why does Apple constantly have to be involved to protect their name? If they were a real government, they'd be all over this instead of playing the blame game. 
    anton zuykovmagman1979spinnydbaconstangjony0radster360watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    macxpress said:
    Why are they citing Apple for this? Its not Apple's factory...its Foxconn's. Out of 100,000 or so that work there, they chose 50 people? Thats hardly a sample. Why don't they crack down on Foxconn and all of the other factories like this? Why does Apple constantly have to be involved to protect their name? If they were a real government, they'd be all over this instead of playing the blame game. 
    Why does Apple always take the heat for the entire industry? Because Apple is quite literally the worldwide face of tech. The trolls can bleat on about how Apple has lost its mojo, has become irrelevant, no longer innovates, is being surpassed by everybody. It just shows how clueless they are. When people think of tech they think of Apple, period, the caterwauling of tech wannabes not withstanding. So-called tech forums exist in an alternate universe. In the real world Apple is the top dog, number one, the one everybody looks to. So when an activist group wants to make a statement they have to drag Apple into it or no one will pay any attention to them. Greenpeace often attacks Apple over environmental issues even though other tech companies are much more egregious in their treatment of the environment.

    That’s the scourge of being number one.
    anton zuykovjony0radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    lkrupp said:
    Why does Apple always take the heat for the entire industry?
    Because several brains cells that an average Apple basher got, are not capable of processing thoughts that the whole industry and Apple being two separate parts.
    edited January 2018 magman1979spinnydwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,035member
    macxpress said:
    Why are they citing Apple for this? Its not Apple's factory...its Foxconn's. Out of 100,000 or so that work there, they chose 50 people? Thats hardly a sample. Why don't they crack down on Foxconn and all of the other factories like this? Why does Apple constantly have to be involved to protect their name? If they were a real government, they'd be all over this instead of playing the blame game. 
    @macxpress: I don't see where Foxconn was cited in this report by CLW. It was Catcher. I didn't research far into it but it appears that Catcher isn't related to Foxconn other than being a supplier for Apple.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    Why do you want to take a picture of bedroom and show it on media? 
    baconstangjony0
  • Reply 8 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,808member
    linkman said:
    macxpress said:
    Why are they citing Apple for this? Its not Apple's factory...its Foxconn's. Out of 100,000 or so that work there, they chose 50 people? Thats hardly a sample. Why don't they crack down on Foxconn and all of the other factories like this? Why does Apple constantly have to be involved to protect their name? If they were a real government, they'd be all over this instead of playing the blame game. 
    @macxpress: I don't see where Foxconn was cited in this report by CLW. It was Catcher. I didn't research far into it but it appears that Catcher isn't related to Foxconn other than being a supplier for Apple.
    Apple doesn't operate their own factories in China. So if its not Foxconn, then whomever. It doesn't matter anyways. My point still stands...why does Apple have to continuously backup itself instead of these watchdogs going after the people who run the damn factories? Its not Apple's factory, its whomever runs it. Apple is just the client. 
    magman1979spinnydwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,808member

    tzeshan said:
    Why do you want to take a picture of bedroom and show it on media? 

    So people can draw endless conclusions about the poor working conditions and how this somehow relates to US working conditions. 
    baconstangjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,035member


    A report from Bloomberg on Tuesday, and a forthcoming report from China Labor Watch both allege that goggles and earplugs for workers are not always available to workers. The sites have frequent spray of tiny metallic particles, and noise in excess of 80 decibels on the factory floor, according to the workers.
    The noise level report here is problematic. Did these workers interviewed by CLW have their own noise level measuring equipment? Do they have calibrated ears? Typically sound level measurements in a workplace require workers to be equipped with sound level loggers and be worn for an entire shift for valid results. Source: I was involved with a hired industrial audiologist that ran a study where I work to determine noise levels and OSHA compliance. 80 dBA is typically far below any threshold for needing hearing protection even for extended periods of time.

    https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9735
    spinnydbaconstangradarthekat
  • Reply 11 of 18
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,927member
    Stories like this are difficult to interpret - a (somewhat) relevant question is what are the conditions in factories run by competing companies? Apple may actually be the best among a horrid set of manufacturers. Although Apple does not own the factory, they are indirectly culpable for abuses and have the power to specify conditions in their contracts.  They are also stuck somewhat too. If Samsung, LG, Google, etc contract with factories that employ slave labor then they are able to sell their products cheaper and most people don’t look beyond the price.

    Ultimately, we as consumers bear responsibility. We all like inexpensive products. Who would voluntarily pay any extra $500 for their phone? But if we don’t hold the entire industry accountable and turn a blind eye to horrible abuses just so we can get stuff for cheap, what incentive do the manufacturers have to change? A more helpful article would compare the manufacturers’ facilities rather than looking at just one.
    baconstangradarthekatwatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 18
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 283member
    Apple has the most scrutinized working conditions in tech. This is one reason why I purchase Apple products.
    Once in a while news about bad working conditions for the suppliers of others tech companies is released but the story is always ignored.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/samsung-factory-working-conditions-2012-11

    https://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-supplier-factory-found-to-have-child-labor-watchdog-says/

    * What I've learned in discussions with people from the huge Apple basher community, is that these people don't care about bad working conditions in tech. The bashers want their super cheap Android phones and they don't care how they are produced.

    - But Apple bashers do want to read articles which trash Apple and the tech media provides material for this big audience (as tracked by the Macalope column). As for watchdog safety/environmental groups, with tech, they focus on reporting on Apple (which is the only way to get attention). 

    * Only Apple gets this level of scrutiny. And because I do care about these issues, it's one reason why I purchase Apple products. 

    edited January 2018 jony0watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 13 of 18
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member

    Key point to remember here.

    "advocacy group claims that the company violates Chinese law regarding owed wages for departing employees"

    This is not US or international law, and if these Chinese companies broke Chinese Laws then China Government has jurisdiction not Apple or any other company. If a US company violate US labor law it the US government showing up on their door step making sure they comply with the law. Do you see these advocacy group showing up to company in the US and then complaining to the foreign companies who use them and tell them they need to do something about it.

    edited January 2018 baconstangjony0watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 18
    How is Apple responsible for what goes on in a Chinese factory?  Isn't Apple usually forced to do whatever the Chinese government tells them to do?  I hate to see any employees being abused by management and whatever the problem is, it should be corrected.  However, it's as though Apple is always the worst offender despite all the other companies who have work done in China.  People really seem to go out of their way to attack Apple.  I can only hope they're also going after other companies and not just Apple.  Is Apple supposed to watch every factory that makes parts for them or does assembly for them?  Why not place some Chinese watchdogs to make sure working conditions are satisfactory before they get that bad?

    When I worked in a machine shop in NYC, if the company didn't bother to provide ear protection or masks, I just went out and bought my own.  Cutting fiber material on a lathe or milling machine produces a lot of dust and cutting metal on a lathe can certainly cause a high-pitched squeal.  I don't need anyone to tell me I should protect my lungs, ears and eyes.  That's just common safety knowledge I learned in high school shop classes.  If I'm out in the yard spraying insecticide, you think I need someone to tell me to wear a mask and goggles and hand protection.  Just a stray gust of wind could have that toxic crap in your face or get on your skin.  Usually the product's instructions tell you that much.

    How is it all those people that were supposed to be trained experts were running around the World Trade Center without masks after the 9/11 attacks?  Anyone with any sense would have known the air was filled with toxic dust and materials.  I saw firemen running around without masks or goggles and the dust was crazy thick you could hardly see.  Where were the watchdogs telling people to stop searching in unsafe conditions?
  • Reply 15 of 18
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,069member
    mayb china should focus on their sweatshop conditions and leave Apple alone
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Here we go again. Maybe Apple should take all the money they have overseas and give it back to stock holder, pay off those bonds and just keep few billion in bank. This will stop those watchdogs, the US Senators/Congressman, US Patent Trolls, etc. to come after Apple anymore. 

    Apple does not own any manufacturing facility and why do they keep after them. Apple goes beyond call of duty to make sure that their OEMs and suppliers follow much higher standards than other manufacturers.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    eideardeideard Posts: 428member
    Annual fundraising time for CLW. Creeps whose initial formation was as pimps for Britain's continued colonial ownership of Hong Kong. When that collapsed, the meal ticket went away and they had to invent as new reason to keep from getting an honest job. No shortage of Apple competitors, rejected subcontractors and, of course, leftover Cold Warriors to serve as fundraising targets.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Mike McLaneMike McLane Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Apple should cut all foreign manufacturing and do that here in the USA --- they have the money -- they just have leadership that suffers from sociopathy/psychopathy --- Steve Jobs suffered from Mental Illness (sociopathy) and that's no exaggeration by any stretch of the imagination. Tim Cook needs to be drop kicked.
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