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Apple Partners with Labor Group to Monitor Workplace Conditions at Suppliers' Factories


Bloomberg reports that Apple has agreed to allow the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to access its suppliers' facilities to monitor workplace conditions in the wake of publicity surrounding worker suicides at Apple's primary manufacturing partner Foxconn.
The world’s most valuable technology company joins Nike Inc. (NKE), Nestle SA (NESN) and Syngenta AG (SYNN) in turning to the Fair Labor Association, set up in 1999 to monitor workplace conditions globally in an initiative by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Apple is the first technology business to sign up to the FLA as a participating company, the Washington-based body said today in a press release.
In the press release (PDF), Apple senior vice president Jeff Williams notes that Apple routinely performs audits of its suppliers' facilities but that the company is pleased to engage with the Fair Labor Association as an independent monitoring group.
"We're extremely proud to be the first technology company admitted to the FLA," said Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of Operations. "Last year we performed more than 200 audits at our supplier's facilities around the world. With the benefit of the FLA's experience and expertise, we will continue to drive improvements for workers and provide even greater transparency into our supply chain."
The FLA reports that it worked with Apple last year on the company's training programs regarding labor rights and worker standards, and that Apple will bring all of its workplace compliance standards in line with the FLA's guidelines over the next two years.

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38 months ago

It's about time. Quite frankly, the human rights conditions in these factories are worse than Darfur.


Quite frankly, you are quite full of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Darfur

One's a condition of overwork and stressful working conditions.

The other is war, starvation and genocide.

They aren't comparable, so stop trying.

Oh, and I downgraded you.
Rating: 4 Votes
38 months ago

Almost none of us really CAN do anything about it. Those with power aren't those who care.


We elect those in power.

Nobody in a democracy can shirk personal responsibility.

If we wanted to, we could do something about this tomorrow. But in reality we don't really want to (and I include myself in this, I'm as "guilty" as everyone else).
Rating: 4 Votes
38 months ago
Cynically I'd say Apple know the rumours over awful working conditions are bad PR and so try to combat that rather than any heartfelt humanitarian concerns, but that being said:

Good move Apple.
Rating: 3 Votes
38 months ago

You can always vote with your wallet. If you are unhappy with how a certain company does its dealings, don't buy their stuff and educate others why they shouldn't do that either. And communicate with that company if you actually want to buy their stuff but can't due to them being immoral.


Your logic has a fatal flaw: what alternative companies provide better value and a better work environment for their employees? I'm all for being "moral" as long as I'm not being ripped off on a garbage product, and I don't see a lot of Apple's competitors setting up shop in comfortable plants with high pay, pensions, and perks.
Rating: 3 Votes
38 months ago

It was in the news elsewhere that workers threatened mass suicide (!) in Microsoft's Foxcon plant.

Can you imagine what would happen if there was a Jim Jones-like Kool-aid incident there? It would change everything.


No, it wouldn't. There are plenty of people willing to take these jobs who would be thrilled not to have to do manual labor in rice fields. These people who hate Foxconn's working conditions didn't have to irrigate crops for 30-40 years and see what REAL sore feet feel like. While I don't think a job there is great in any way, I definitely can say it's a step up from some of the rural options.
Rating: 2 Votes
38 months ago

We elect those in power.

Nobody in a democracy can shirk personal responsibility.

If we wanted to, we could do something about this tomorrow. But in reality we don't really want to (and I include myself in this, I'm as "guilty" as everyone else).


Oh, Lord. You're laboring under the delusion that the masses have almost any real say about what happens in our country? Hell, our President's so hemmed in by a republican congress that he can't even do anything to help anyone. Every single time there's an initiative to help anyone, Americans included, republicans shoot it down.
Rating: 2 Votes
38 months ago
It's clear which is which.
Rating: 1 Votes
38 months ago

It seems like a missed opportunity for a US company with a unique hit product to not be manufacturing on US soil. Everyone knows that Apple make huge profits on every product sold and I am guessing that whatever the added cost of manufacturing in the US, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Mac sales will still be profitable.


I doubt people will be willing to pay double of what apple products cost if they were to be manufactured in US.
Rating: 1 Votes
38 months ago

It was in the news elsewhere that workers threatened mass suicide (!) in Microsoft's Foxcon plant.

Can you imagine what would happen if there was a Jim Jones-like Kool-aid incident there? It would change everything.


First, threatening mass suicide, and doing it, are two completely different things.

Second, the complaint that these people had is that apparently there were not enough jobs for them. So whenever someone starts claiming that bad working conditions at Foxconn leads to suicides (when the suicide rate in the general US population is FOUR times higher) they should be reminded that for many people, losing their job would be much much worse than a bad job.


Another giant leap toward Socialism. No US company would allow this, but it looks like the government will be looking over everyone's (yours and my) sholder soon. That will certainly reduce my stress and preven't my suicide. :rolleyes:


This is really funny. You realise that we are talking about China here, which is a communist country, so most people would think that for them, a "giant leap toward socialism" would be a big step in the right direction.
Rating: 1 Votes
38 months ago

I doubt people will be willing to pay double of what apple products cost if they were to be manufactured in US.


I assume what you mean is that Apple products would cost twice as much if they were assembled in the USA. I find that hard to believe, lets do some math.

First, lets assume that in China that people work for free. I don't know what the labor costs of Foxconn are so i'll be lenient.

And lets set a wage for the American worker. I want to go with $12 an hour. AFAIK what we are talking about is mostly relatively simple assembly work. $12/hr sucks, but that's all I would really expect for this.

Ok, now for some prices. Lets say an Apple Laptop costs $1750, half way between the low and the high price. To double the price you would have to put 1750 dollars of labor into the machine. That works out to 146 hours of labor to assemble a laptop. Three and a half weeks of labor on one single laptop computer. For a $600 iPad that's 50 hours, a $300 iPhone that's 25 hours. I find it hard to believe it takes that long.

Alternatively you could go at the problem the other way. Assume that it takes 8 hours to assemble a laptop. That works out to $96 dollars over the current price. If iPads and iPhones take half the time to assemble thats another $48 to their price.

These are crude estimates but I think they show USA assembly would probably not double the cost of Apple products.
Rating: 1 Votes

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