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Apple Consultant Refutes Claims From Worker Treatment Story

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

Could the Apple and Foxconn tale have another side to it?

Last week the New York Times ran a story that shone a spotlight on Apple and Foxconn's use of labor in the production of the latest mobile devices. It sourced many unnamed workers, including ones from Apple and BSR, a business responsibility firm.

BSR recently posted a blog that refutes the comments made by an anonymous BSR consultant.

"This article shines a light on important supply chain issues that are a crucial part of the global economy—one of the sustainability challenges BSR has worked on with business and other stakeholders for 20 years. Unfortunately, the article mistakenly attributes several quotes to an unnamed 'BSR consultant,' presenting a false impression that those views should be associated with BSR," wrote Aron Cramer, president and CEO of BSR. "While the story focuses on Apple, the question of conditions in global supply chains is of immense importance to all companies, in all sectors. There is no doubt that, while more and more companies are committed to ensuring good working conditions in their supply chains, additional steps should be taken."

Cramer also summarized some of the points from the NYT article, notably saying that it's untrue that "Apple has consistently disregarded advice that BSR has provided about problems related to working conditions in its supply chain."

Apple CEO Tim Cook also refuted the NYT's report in an email sent to company employees.

Read more from @MarcusYam on Twitter.

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  • 2 Hide
    theconsolegamer , February 3, 2012 1:24 AM
    That damage control......
  • -6 Hide
    juncture , February 3, 2012 1:25 AM
    If you're going to give information to the New York Times you should really man up to your own words and take cover under anonymity. It also makes the information a little more believable....
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , February 3, 2012 1:27 AM
    o god, own up to it, just say you dont care... is it that hard... hell go public with how little you spend, and tell them "if a better work place can match it, in the volume they need, they will move to that operation till than, shut up."
  • -2 Hide
    juncture , February 3, 2012 1:36 AM
    oops meant to say in my post above "...and NOT take cover under anonymity."
  • 7 Hide
    Yuka , February 3, 2012 1:59 AM
    This quote: "Apple has consistently disregarded advice that BSR has provided about problems related to working conditions in its supply chain".

    I really wonder what those "problems related to work conditions are" in detail.

    If a person commits suicide (while working), it's not because they're happy doing what they're doing. Besides, it's not Apples nor those consultants fault alone. The Chinese gob has a lot to account for, in a lot of ways. So do the major tech companies using Foxconn's slave services.

    It's funny when you read Mr Jobs asking to re-do the glass for the iPhone in such a small time frame... He pushed a whole army of "people" (well, they're basically 21st century slaves) to work it out and call that "something the USA can't do". Well, off course it can't! The USA actually CARES about their own folks and won't push a whole army of goons to do slave work! I'm not putting blame here on Mr Jobs shoulders, but the reasoning behind the guys justifying the turn over to China is quite funny (in a bad way). The "we care" policy falls short right there. It's stupid to see people (from the article itself) working late hours and then buying Foxconn's statement about it being "not in their work policies". Double faced jackasses. That's the whole CEO + Shareholders linage nowadays: sacrifice whoever is not in the radar.

    Well, let the -1 show begins.

  • 5 Hide
    alidan , February 3, 2012 2:04 AM
    junctureoops meant to say in my post above "...and NOT take cover under anonymity."

    yea, submit the info not anonly, go for it... than once you are fired and blackballed from the industry, have fun getting sued to nothing.
  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , February 3, 2012 2:36 AM
    At the end of the day, the fact still stays, Apple and other Major Firms have not been checking on the condition of the people who have been making there goods are in. And that has been a total disregard for safe and relaxed work environments around these workers. If the BSR is feeding bullshit to both, the Firms and the workers, they're responsible, if the firms know/knew about the working conditions and did nothing about it, they are equally responsible. I don't care if the finished product cost millions, they can't be buying off dead works and making profits such as these out of good made by there poor souls.
    We've seen this in Mexico, we've seen this in most of the Latin American countries, we've seen this in Asia and all I can understand is, that once too many workers die in a particular place, the MNC's just change their place of work, shift factories to other more economically viable ( Exploitable) places.
  • 5 Hide
    Mathos , February 3, 2012 3:37 AM
    Actually if you pay attention to history, we've seen this in the US before too... Take a look back and working conditions for coal miners, and auto workers and what not, before the Unions formed. Coal miners weren't even paid in US Dollars.
  • 1 Hide
    molo9000 , February 3, 2012 5:50 AM
    YukaIf a person commits suicide (while working), it's not because they're happy doing what they're doing.

    These workers had no choice but to commit suicide at work, because they live where they work.

    Foxconn employs around half a million people there. 14 suicides a year is WAY below the average suicide rate in China and suicide rates in western countries.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 11:20 AM
    There is a difference between "refute" and "dispute". A self-serving disputation from the CEO or a consultant desperate to keep billing him does not a refutation make.
  • 0 Hide
    jaber2 , February 3, 2012 8:01 PM
    Everyone related to the Times atrticle is trying so hard to refute it, now imagine if Apple came out and said :"yeah, so what? its all true, we use slave labor in harsh conditions to make your lovable siri and all the gatgets that you can't do with out, what about it? are you going to toss them in the trash now? I dare you! We are Apple we are 1984" , imagine that .
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 8:01 PM
    You know I could argue that other independent stories done by people at Foxconn outside the factory re in force the NY times article. But I am sure Apple is in damage control mode. That is what they do. Anybody remember antennaGate? This is what companies do, they try and spin the story that the reporting is bad and that facts are wrong. But frankly I highly doubt Apple will suffer huge sales loses due to this. American want what they want and considering how many jobs have been lost to China. We as Americans don't seem to care much about where stuff is made. Just as long as its cheap and well made.
  • 0 Hide
    Device Unknown , February 3, 2012 8:32 PM
    I'll admit I am the first person to bash Apple but think of this. If everyone pulled their products from Foxconn (dell and more) then they wouldn't HAVE a job. So they really need to quit bitching. If they don't like the conditions, find another job. Foxconn's working conditions are irrelevant to a company that uses them to manufacture products. It's just too rare to see ANY company lose some of their billions in profits to move their products to a better manufacturer just because of it's working conditions.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 8:51 PM
    mobile devices? is that what they are calling tennis shoes these days?

    OH! they aren't talking about nike!