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Tim Cook Responds to Report on Working Conditions at Suppliers' Factories

In the wake of yesterday's report regarding treatment of workers at the facilities of Apple's suppliers, Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent an email to company employees addressing the situation. As published by 9to5Mac, the email highlights Apple's efforts to oversee compliance with company standards for workers' rights and the transparency with which it has shared that information. From Cook's opening statement:
As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.
Cook thanks those Apple employees who are focused on these issues and notes that the company will continue to increase its efforts.
We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word.
The New York Times has also highlighted responses from a number of Chinese readers, many of whom note that the issue is certainly not exclusive to Apple and should also be being addressed by government regulations designed to protect workers. Many readers note that China's cheap labor force has enabled the country's rapid economic expansion over the last several decades and the culture is so ingrained across all industries that it will be difficult to change.

Top Rated Comments

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34 months ago
Covering his a**. Instead of writing letters, Tim. Do something about it. Just like Steve said he'd do something about it and did absolutely nothing to stop the atrocities. It's said that all it takes is a letter to make the fanboys happy.
Rating: 52 Votes
34 months ago
We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain.


Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern.


Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us.


You're telling me Apple cares about the tens of thousands of people in its supply chain? So if Jim falls down and breaks his leg at the factory, Apple steps in and helps out?! Or if Bob quits because he has terminal Cancer, Apple steps in to help out?! Or if Julie's "working condition" where she is annoyed that she has to work for minimum wage or fewer breaks, Apple steps in on a white horse and saves the day?!

All bull.

Companies like Apple are FAR REMOVED from the every day life of employees in the supply chain. The only time Apple (or other companies) will do something is if there is a major accident (like the explosion last year) which leads to huge media coverage....or if the media finds working conditions atrocious (like in the 80's and 90's with children making clothes). And why does Apple make noise now?...because of all the bad PR that's been in the news the past few months about Apple's supply chain outside the USA. If it wasn't in the news, Tim and Apple wouldn't say a bleeping peep about the problems.

If Apple truly cares so much about the tens of thousands of employees in the supply chain, Apple would OWN the supply chain OR do the manufacturing 100% in the USA where there are child labor laws, and working condition laws, and equal pay laws, and laws regarding hours worked, etc. When Apple (and others) choose to manufacture outside the USA (typically for price reasons), Apple really has no voice to tell those governments "blah blah blah about working conditions" because it's not your country Apple...just like folks in Thailand can't complain to the US government that USA employee benefits are too good. Yes, Apple can voice their opinion to the companies...but that's it. If Apple can persuade the companies to change their COMPANY POLICIES as well as sway them to push THEIR GOVERNMENT for updated laws, great.
Rating: 34 Votes
34 months ago
Great attitude here, Tim Cook. This is the type of CEO needed to run a company as large as Apple, someone not afraid to give his personal word: "On this, you have my word."

so far I've been very impressed with Tim Cook's leadership
Rating: 29 Votes
34 months ago
Did we all forget the story from a couple of weeks ago when it was reported that Apple has joined the Fair Labor Association? They are the FIRST technology company to join and have given their list of suppliers to the Fair Labor Association for independent auditing.

I don't think Apple's perfect by any means, but at least give some credit where it is do.
Rating: 23 Votes
34 months ago

Couldn't agree more with the use of atrocities. These conditions make Darfur look like a Day Camp.

Says the guy that understands neither and in a couple of sentences unwittingly diminishes both situations.

I know you will disagree, so please support your statement and tell me where any Apple supplier is on par with anything happening in Darfur. The Darfur war, to date has led to the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, women raped, small children intentionally starved, family pushed out of their homes.
Rating: 20 Votes
34 months ago

Can't wait for everyone to point out that suicide rates in these factories is "better" than the national average yet completely disregard the fact these people are trying to commit suicide on the job, something which virtually never happens outside of these factories in China. Downvote on!

Where else would one try to commit suicide if you lived and worked in Foxconn's campus environment?
Rating: 18 Votes
34 months ago
This probably won't be a popular reply, but having lived for 5 years in China for purchasing in the furniture industry, i'd like to say working conditions in China are really not that bad.

ive seen hundreds of factories from Guangdong, to Shanghai, Wenzhou, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Ive come accross one time a case of child labour. Only once. Of course we did not cooperate with this factory and made very clear they should stop this at once.

Working and living conditions improve every single year, and a lot has to do with the lack of workers in for ex. Guangdong province. If a worker is badly treated, they will simply pack up and go and work for a different factory. There are so many factories and they all desperately need workers to work for them. Chinese wages go up and the dormitories improve vastly.
Rating: 16 Votes
34 months ago
While the working conditions aren't wonderful, and some of the blame falls on Apple as they constantly push vendors to lower prices to the slimmest margins, it's not fair that all the attention is put squarely on Apple's shoulders.

As people who read tech forums like this one know Foxconn makes products for dozens of companies. But putting "Apple" in the headlines will get a lot more clicks than "Samsung" or "LG".
Rating: 13 Votes
34 months ago

This will all be over soon. West is looking at Africa as the new China nowadays, because Africans work for even lower wages than China.

Africa has a long way to go until it becomes a center for manufacturing. The legal environment is awful (some tax codes date back to colonial times), most countries there exhibit some form of political instability (with the exceptions of states like Ghana, Botswana, and perhaps Zambia), and infrastructure is poor (very few paved roads).

I think I will die before I see an iPad made in Africa.
Rating: 13 Votes
34 months ago
So, he responds with denial. "That's not who we are." Don't forget, Tim Cook was one of the main architects of moving all of Apple's manufacturing from the U.S. to China back in 2002. He is undoubtedly more ruthless, and apparently more dishonest, than Steve Jobs himself.

Signed, the sad owner of a Macbook Pro, an iPad, and an iPod touch.
Rating: 13 Votes

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