Fair Labor Association Offers Initial Impressions on Foxconn Audit as iPads Used to Collect Survey Data

With the Fair Labor Association's independent audit of Foxconn's manufacturing facilities for Apple products having been underway for several days now, Reuters reports on the association's initial impressions as it works to collect and analyze data on working conditions.


According to Fair Labor Association president Auret van Heerden, Foxconn's facilities appear to be "first-class" in comparison to the garment factories the association has typically monitored, with van Heerden suggesting that monotony and boredom associated with repetitive assembly tasks may be among the most significant threats to workers' all-around health at the facilities.

After his first visits to Foxconn, van Heerden said, "The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm."

He spent the past several days visiting Foxconn plants to prepare for the study.

"I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory," he said. "So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. . It's more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps."

The report notes that the Fair Labor Association has 30 employees on hand to conduct the audit, with Foxconn employees being surveyed for the audit using iPads to record their responses. Three separate Foxconn factories representing 300,000 workers are being audited over the course of three weeks, with 35,000 employees participating in the group's anonymous assessment surveys.

Questions will include:

- how the workers were hired
- if they were paid a fee
- if they were offered and signed contracts and whether they understood them
- the condition of their dorm rooms and food
- if complaints are acted upon
- their emotional well being

Apple CEO Tim Cook had much to say on the topic of worker safety during an interview at a Goldman Sachs investor conference yesterday, noting that Apple is working closely with the Fair Labor Association and attempting to be as proactive and transparent as possible in addressing the issues.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
111 months ago
While it is encouraging to see americans worried about worker rights, and to see an american company go to such great lengths to improve working conditions at its plants in china, I find it baffling that the working conditions of Foxconn employees working on Apple products in China has resulted in public outrage across the country while our food is being picked by people in far greater oppression (often literal slavery) right here in our own country.

Where is the national news coverage and public outrage about farm worker working conditions in the United States?
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
111 months ago

Sounds like detractors, OK, enemies, are grasping at anything to complain about Apple.

Still, any improvement is great!
I would not want a bored, alienated, suffering from repetitive motion employee not making sure assembly was correct (simply switching stations every day goes a long way).


I'm curious why everyone is singling out Apple when countless other technology companies use the same plant.

I'm also curious why when Apple actually does something while the other companies are still doing nothing, they STILL get criticized.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
111 months ago

What I don't get is why people are not protesting against the clothing industry. Most brand name clothing is made in China with even poorer working conditions than electronics. These are the so called sweatshops.

I hope other industry leaders also start caring about the employees.

As far as the media goes Apple is good click-bait. If they wrote about some other tech company or clothing manufacturer no one would give a toss.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
111 months ago
Avoiding the politics, Tim Cook's word is rock-solid. No wonder Steve liked him so much.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
111 months ago
That's surprising, since some media sites with no first hand experience called it a hell hole.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
111 months ago

It's very easy to impress someone when you know they are coming! BTW, why doesn't some of these audit fools actually spend at least 1 full week eating/living/sleeping in the same facilities that these people live in? Don't expect anything negative to come out in the open about these audits. It's pure Politics and meant to make Apple look good. The truth is these factories are the equivalent of modern day slavery and people spend most of the year inside them and that is why they kill themselves because they can't even see their families and they are probably not allowed to communicate with them either or their families are too damn poor to be able to afford a computer, internet access or even a telephone.

-Mike


Sad thing is, the media follow this post's logic. "Let's prove Apple doesn't care.:
Then Apple is first tech company to engage FLA. "FLA is meaningless and not to be trusted, no matter what the facts say."

Then Apple launches the largest audit ever conducted in any tech facility in the world and the naysayers chime in. "Well, the audit is flawed and you can't trust them; they're not living there a week, working by them" (as if ANY audit by corporate/government audits do this.

Then throw out some unsubstantiated hyperbole (ALWAYS attracts sales/ratings/hit mongers like:" they can't even see their families and they are probably not allowed to communicate with them either."

And make sure you don't compare; suicide rates with national or corporate averages in China; wage rates for unskilled assembly line workers, many of whom have never made this much money and are from rural areas (not unlike workers from Mexico who work for pennies an hour picking grapes, cabbage, berries while also doing housework for politicians who offer them protection as long as they don't get uppity).

And, for sure, don't think you can interest the media in these workers. It's too close to home. Better to go after Apple not altering the economic structure and working conditions a few thousand miles away where people fight for these jobs.

Sorry, we've got too many problems at home that need serious addressing before becoming messianic in converting other cultures, and maybe thousands of people who are making a wage for their families back home, would just as soon we not be their representatives. Apple has made a huge impact nd conditions have improved. Now how about the same thing in the US? Up to doing something about that, or just on the bandwagon finding fault with the big A?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

2020 iMac Benchmarks Surface Online [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 7:16 am PDT by
Benchmarks from the new 2020 iMac have today been shared online by Mac Otakara. The Geekbench benchmarks are from the newly-released 27-inch iMac with 3.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, compared to multiple specs of the previous 2019 iMac. The lowest spec 27-inch i5 iMac from 2020 performs about 20 percent better in multicore than the lowest spec 27-inch i5...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...

Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Microsoft's "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September, and Apple's App Store restrictions are to blame. Xbox Game Pass and its accompanying xCloud streaming feature offer access to hundreds of games that can be streamed to mobile devices, and Apple says that because it can't review each...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...