Apple Announces Foxconn Inspections

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Apple on Monday put out a press release in which it announced that “the Fair Labor Association [FLA] will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request. A team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook said:  “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers. The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”

Apple said that FLA will interview thousands of Foxconn employees about their working conditions, and it said its suppliers “have pledged full cooperation with the FLA.” Apple expects findings and recommendations to be posted in early March on the FLA web site.

Last month, Apple became the first tech company admitted to the FLA. It has been auditing the final assembly factories in its supply chain every year since 2006 and has the results of those posted to its web site.

A CNET story about this latest development quoted from a CNN interview with an 18-year-old Foxconn employee who said: “It’s so boring, I can’t bear it anymore. Every day is like: I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It is my daily routine and I almost feel like an animal.”

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Comments

geoduck

Of course Apple will get little to no credit for doing this…

?It?s so boring, I can?t bear it anymore. Every day is like: I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It is my daily routine and I almost feel like an animal.?

Frankly I’ve heard the same refrain from auto workers, retail workers, waitstaff, the list goes on and on. I’ve said it myself on occasion. Very few working people have a skip in their step in the morning.

To quote Red Foreman: “That’s why the call it work. Otherwise they’d call it happy fun time”

Brad Cook

Yes, it is interesting that Apple seems to get all the heat here, while Foxconn is making products for many other tech companies too, including Microsoft. And Apple seems to be doing more to address the situation than any of Foxconn’s other customers. (I’m sure Microsoft, et al love that Apple gets the brunt of this and is spearheading any changes.)

And, yes, any assembly line job is boring and tedious, no matter where it’s located. However, it would be nice to see Foxconn apply American work standards and regulations. I realize they’re abiding by China’s labor laws, which are obviously abysmal, but it would be nice if Apple could force them to adopt some changes.

Also, from what I’ve seen of the dormitory housing Foxconn has, it doesn’t seem very nice. Couple that with a tedious job with long hours and I can see how some people start losing it.

Lee Dronick

Yes, it is interesting that Apple seems to get all the heat here, while Foxconn is making products for many other tech companies too

If the headlines read “Bad Working Conditions at Dell Factory” then much fewer people would read the story than when it references Apple. It is all about selling advertising, sensation attracts reader which in turn attracts advertisers. Not there is anything wrong with reporting sensational stories and making money in the process, just that it should be done with fairness and balance.

Oh well, off my soapbox and back to the grind.

geoduck

However, it would be nice to see Foxconn apply American work standards and regulations.

Agreed. 21st century work standards. I suspect that current Foxconn conditions are comparable to conditions on (for example) the Ford assembly line in the 1920s.

Lee Dronick

I suspect that current Foxconn conditions are comparable to conditions on (for example) the Ford assembly line in the 1920s.

Sometime around then Henry Ford gave his workers a significant pay raise and reduced the work day a bit so that they weren’t fatigued.

I wonder what would happen if Foxconn and other Chinese workers formed labor unions and went on strike.  Prices of products would probably rise, maybe even become unavailable. Violence on the picket lines, strike busters.

jfbiii

but it would be nice if Apple could force them to adopt some changes.

But they have. All you have to do is look at the last report that Apple issued. Workers for Apple suppliers can no longer be asked if they’re pregnant, for example.

The people bitching in the U.S. seem to be under the impression that Apple has the ability to influence an entire culture by simply wriggling its nose. All it really can do is push a little bit by providing jobs and pull a little by telling factory owners that their continued prosperity means constantly implementing workplace improvements. If Apple could simply pay American wages to a factory that met OSHA standards they could build all their products here in the U.S. Except that here, not only are 18 year olds bored by work, they’re too spoiled to actually do it if messes up their facebook or gaming time.

Lee Dronick

The people bitching in the U.S. seem to be under the impression that Apple has the ability to influence an entire culture by simply wriggling its nose

If they could do that then they wouldn’t be a contest with Proview Technology over the name iPad.

Jamie

Exactly, jfbiii. I would take it a step further - neither Apple nor anyone else can do anything to ultimately influence the Chinese government. It kind of saddens me that people here in the states organizing protests and the like around these issues are so woefully ignorant of that reality. Granted, I’d love it if Apple and others reinvested some of their wealth into building manufacturing channels here in the US, and I’m not saying that the companies that make use of factories overseas shouldn’t do everything within their power to make working conditions and policies as fair as possible, but really, all of the ire should be directed squarely at the Chinese embassies. I know, I know too logical. raspberry

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