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Fair Labor Association Begins Auditing Foxconn's Manufacturing Facilities at Apple's Request

Last month, Apple and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) announced an agreement that would see the FLA monitoring workplace conditions in Apple's supply chain, providing independent oversight to ensure compliance with worker rights standards set by Apple and the FLA. Apple is the first technology company to join the FLA, a move which comes as Apple has been the subject of increasing criticism over Foxconn's treatment of its employees.


Apple today issued a press release announcing that the FLA has begun inspecting Foxconn's facilities at Apple's request, supplementing Apple's own auditing practices.
Apple today announced that the Fair Labor Association 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.

“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,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “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.”
The release notes that the FLA will be conducting interviews of thousands of Foxconn employees as it assesses their working and living conditions. The FLA will have access to Foxconn's manufacturing areas, as well as the dormitories and other facilities where employees are housed in the massive complex.

Results of the Foxconn inspections will be posted on the FLA's site early next month, and similar inspections at Apple's other major manufacturing partners Quanta and Pegatron will follow this spring. Once inspections at the three companies' facilities are complete, the FLA will have assessed facilities where over 90% of Apple's products are assembled.

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago
Let's see how some people will make this out to be a bad thing.

Any rational and objective person would view this as a giant step forward.
Rating: 11 Votes
35 months ago

Any rational and objective person would view this as a giant step forward.


You mean like posts #2 & #4?

Looks like iIrrational and iUnobjective are off to a fast start.
Rating: 10 Votes
35 months ago
The media has been reporting about the deplorable conditions at Foxcon and pointing the finger at Apple.

Let's see if this gets the same coverage.
Rating: 4 Votes
35 months ago

Hasn't Apple already audited and insisted on changes recently? Or are we ignoring that?


Yes, yes they have. Just people like to bitch. Maybe this will finally shut them the hell up.
Rating: 3 Votes
35 months ago
Having been on the assembly lines of factories here in Japan, I know for a fact that the demands placed on workers here are not unlike what we have been reading about factory conditions in China.

Yes, the wages are considerably higher in Japan, but so too is the cost of living. Nonetheless, factory jobs in Japan are incredibly difficult (and often dangerous), with marathon shifts (up to 16 hours a day), very few work breaks, military-like supervision, harsh disciplinary action for even the tiniest of employee errors, and a punishing physical and mental toll.

It makes me wonder whether the stories in the English-language media have been blown at least a bit out of proportion by Western reporters who simply don't understand the difference between what is tolerated by workers in the East versus those in the West.
Rating: 3 Votes
35 months ago
The only thing that will actually change conditions is if the US requires all imported items to be built by factories that follow the same criteria as their US counterparts.

So the factories must pay the same wages, provide the same retirement packages, shift schedule, work environment, safety standards, benefits and so forth that a factory worker in the US would expect in a similar industry. Also that the factories meet the same environmental and code standards.

This would be easy for European markets as they meet or exceed many US standards already.
Rating: 2 Votes
35 months ago

So the factories must pay the same wages, provide the same retirement packages, shift schedule, work environment, safety standards, benefits and so forth that a factory worker in the US would expect in a similar industry. Also that the factories meet the same environmental and code standards.


This will cause prices balloon, to which haters will respond by accusing Apple of overpricing their products. Ethics aren't cheap. Pay up, or shut up.
Rating: 2 Votes
35 months ago

The audit itself is semi-useless. Apple conducts audits as well.

The "problem" is that after auditing, Apple doesn't enforce their own criteria for doing business with them.

So auditing is nice PR as long as there are zero "violations." The second something doesn't meet "code" Apple would need to actually enforce their guidelines for it to mean something.


Who says Apple doesn't enforce this? Every year the number of violations has gone down, and companies who didn't accept this lost Apple as their customers. And I wonder how many US companies would fail an audit.


Honestly, when I see "Voluntary", "Supplier" and "Audit" together - I'm hard pressed to think of any example of progress or positive change.


Look at Apple's site where they report the audit data, and have a look at the development since 2007. Looks very much like "progress" and "positive change". Of course the audits are voluntary - a company can disagree to allow audits if they want to lose business with Apple.
Rating: 2 Votes
35 months ago

Why do I suspect these interviews *may* be influenced, say by, fears of employment, discrimination, and/or government?

Sounds like my Aunt. No matter who does what, she's sure it's not right or enough. Needless to say, she's a very single woman (and has been for more years than she admits,)
Apple gets called out and, as one Chinese rights leader said, we go after Apple because we get press; the others won't get us the press.
Apple the first tech company to join FLA, critics of all things say that doesn't mean anything.
Apple agrees to FLA monitoring working conditions, manufacturing facilities, residential facilities, both dorms and other...and now,,,the people who know more than the people on the ground, cast doubts before it even starts.
Hard to pay attention after a while.
Rating: 2 Votes
35 months ago
Where was the press and the hysterical calls for boycott when this happened (and apparently, still happens) on the soil of the USA (http://www.mcall.com/news/local/amazon/mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917,0,6503103.story) ?
Rating: 2 Votes

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