Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Report: Apple Does Not Care Enough About Workers in China

By - Source: NY Times | B 87 comments

Should Apple be concerned about the people employed by its partners?

Following a stunning quarterly result in which Apple more than doubled its quarterly profit to more than $13.06 billion to become one of the most profitable companies in history, there is yet another report that the company is building its success by ignoring horrific work conditions at the manufacturing plants of some of its suppliers.

In an article published by the New York Times, a former Foxconn manager alleges that "Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost". Whether one believes that it is Apple's responsibility to be at least interested in the safety of the workers of its suppliers or not, such reports begin to overshadow Apple's success and may damage the company's spotless image. “Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” the manager told the Times.

Apple itself shows, at least via its website, increased interest in the well-being of the workers that build tens of millions of iPhones, and millions of iPods and iPads every quarter. The company publishes a list of suppliers and published its guidelines of supplier responsibility. However, there is no information how Apple enforces those guidelines beyond statements that it is saddened by the loss of life and injuries at those factories. The issue of abusing a workforce is slowly gaining traction in more areas, which is documented, for example, by a new casual game that enables players to run a 'Sweatshop'. 

Display 87 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    theconsolegamer , January 27, 2012 2:12 PM
    Die, Apple just die already.
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2012 2:19 PM
    Something like the "Fair Trade" label needs applying to all the goods we buy, we need to know where everything comes from and the pay/conditions of the workers involved.
  • 22 Hide
    rawful , January 27, 2012 2:22 PM
    jtt283The onus is not on Apple. If the conditions are that bad (and I'm not implying they aren't; they appear to be atrocious) then a rational work force should refuse to work under those conditions. This is the main reason labor unions formed during the Industrial Revolution (even if not why they exist today). If unions or similar labor organizations are "illegal," then a political solution is required, over which Apple has no control unless you believe their responsibilities include sedition and supporting some kind of revolutionary movement.


    I believe their responsibility includes not making use of such forms of labor, as irrational a viewpoint as that seems to be. You can require certain work conditions to be met as part of your contract with another company. If they do not meet those requirements, they do not get your work and are guilty of breach of contract. Foxconn would no longer exist if the big OEM corporations stopped using them until they gave workers fair pay and rights.

    The problem is also the consumers. Most people just don't care about workers in those conditions as long as they are in another part of the world. Out of sight, out of mind. If the consumers stopped purchasing goods made from this labor, it also wouldn't be used anymore. The problem is also our government, for not implementing extreme tariffs and sanctions against countries with such enormous human rights problems. Instead our government is busy starting wars and catering to the corporations that paid for them to get into office.
Other Comments
  • 34 Hide
    theconsolegamer , January 27, 2012 2:12 PM
    Die, Apple just die already.
  • 5 Hide
    davewolfgang , January 27, 2012 2:18 PM
    Hey, they aren't Union...so who cares??? (That's /sarc for those that don't "get it".)
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2012 2:19 PM
    Something like the "Fair Trade" label needs applying to all the goods we buy, we need to know where everything comes from and the pay/conditions of the workers involved.
  • 14 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 27, 2012 2:21 PM
    So this is a surprise???? :sarcastic: 

    The only thing, apparently, crApple cares about is transferring the money in its customer's bank accounts to the crApple bank account - even if doing so costs the lives of the people it employs usurps.

    The only thing worse than this, IMHO, is the fact that crApple customers do not recognize that they enable dysfunctional crApple to continue with practices such as this by buying crApple products - mostly in the name of keeping up with the Jones' or doing stuff because it is said to be easier to do on a crApple.
  • 22 Hide
    rawful , January 27, 2012 2:22 PM
    jtt283The onus is not on Apple. If the conditions are that bad (and I'm not implying they aren't; they appear to be atrocious) then a rational work force should refuse to work under those conditions. This is the main reason labor unions formed during the Industrial Revolution (even if not why they exist today). If unions or similar labor organizations are "illegal," then a political solution is required, over which Apple has no control unless you believe their responsibilities include sedition and supporting some kind of revolutionary movement.


    I believe their responsibility includes not making use of such forms of labor, as irrational a viewpoint as that seems to be. You can require certain work conditions to be met as part of your contract with another company. If they do not meet those requirements, they do not get your work and are guilty of breach of contract. Foxconn would no longer exist if the big OEM corporations stopped using them until they gave workers fair pay and rights.

    The problem is also the consumers. Most people just don't care about workers in those conditions as long as they are in another part of the world. Out of sight, out of mind. If the consumers stopped purchasing goods made from this labor, it also wouldn't be used anymore. The problem is also our government, for not implementing extreme tariffs and sanctions against countries with such enormous human rights problems. Instead our government is busy starting wars and catering to the corporations that paid for them to get into office.
  • 20 Hide
    sunflier , January 27, 2012 2:24 PM
    Quote:
    Apple itself shows, at least via its website, increased interest in the well-being of the workers...

    Just another Apple iLie.
  • 4 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 27, 2012 2:24 PM
    jtt283The onus is not on Apple. If the conditions are that bad (and I'm not implying they aren't; they appear to be atrocious) then a rational work force should refuse to work under those conditions. This is the main reason labor unions formed during the Industrial Revolution (even if not why they exist today). If unions or similar labor organizations are "illegal," then a political solution is required, over which Apple has no control unless you believe their responsibilities include sedition and supporting some kind of revolutionary movement.

    Total Crap. crApple enables this by contracting with manufacturers who are known to be abusive of employees.

    As Fez777 says, IF crApple employed something similar to Fair Trade practices, this would be much less of a concern. There are companies out there that do this successfully.
  • 11 Hide
    lockhrt999 , January 27, 2012 2:25 PM
    Apple care only about themselves.
  • 7 Hide
    lumberjack86 , January 27, 2012 2:25 PM
    Apple in the hands of Jobs would plow over any man, woman, or child to move toward innovation. It's to early to tell what Cook will do with these leftover lingering problems. We live in a culture that is ignorant to the plights of others and as long as we get what we want for cheap that's all that matters. For something to harm Apples "spotless image" it's going to take something massive that changes the way we get out products. People complain about Apple having slave labor while writing on an ipad or iphone. If you really want to see this change, stop being a hypocrite and do a little research on where your products are being made.
  • 2 Hide
    dcompart , January 27, 2012 2:25 PM
    It's not Apple's problem, but rather the Chinese Gov't. The labor is there regardless if Apple saturates it. The hours and pay may be crap, but the alternative of no employment is much worse for the Chinese. Apple is being competitive in a competitive world. China continues to keep there currency under valued all while taking from the people to support under funded building project such as their knock off Manhattan.There's this emotional cause regarding "Blood Diamonds" that is to protect the best interests of native people, though there underlying benefit is to control, regulate and fix the gemstone market via.
  • 2 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 27, 2012 2:26 PM
    @rawful - So happy you get it!!!!
  • 3 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 27, 2012 2:28 PM
    dcompartIt's not Apple's problem, but rather the Chinese Gov't. The labor is there regardless if Apple saturates it. The hours and pay may be crap, but the alternative of no employment is much worse for the Chinese. Apple is being competitive in a competitive world. China continues to keep there currency under valued all while taking from the people to support under funded building project such as their knock off Manhattan.There's this emotional cause regarding "Blood Diamonds" that is to protect the best interests of native people, though there underlying benefit is to control, regulate and fix the gemstone market via.

    More Total Crap.Governments cannot solve the problem unless their people understand what is acceptable human behavior in the first place, and the Chinese government has absolutely no idea what is acceptable human behavior.
  • 0 Hide
    memadmax , January 27, 2012 2:29 PM
    "a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn't it? "
  • 1 Hide
    dcompart , January 27, 2012 2:32 PM
    Fez777Something like the "Fair Trade" label needs applying to all the goods we buy, we need to know where everything comes from and the pay/conditions of the workers involved.


    Are you willing to pay a premium for the product. In the food industry this form of branding gains little traction and due to baseless labeling (ex. BST free labeling) that has caught on. In tough economic times people buy based on price, not on the benefits of the niche.
  • 3 Hide
    zak_mckraken , January 27, 2012 2:32 PM
    Apple do have a responsability since they're directly supporting Foxconn in the way they treat their employees by buying from them. Since Apple has the long end of the stick, they could help the workers. Here's a simple and plausible scenario :

    Apple : Hey Foxconn, we have the best-selling phone in the world. You want to build it for us? Start treating your workers right, else we'll move production to some other third-world country.
    Foxconn : Okay, but we'll need to increase salaries by 10%.
    Apple : No problem. We'll label the phone as "Fair trade" and price them 20% more.
  • 3 Hide
    jaber2 , January 27, 2012 2:38 PM
    If anyone here cares then don't buy Apple products or services, that is the least you can show your support, but if we did this to every products we buy then I would guess we would die of hunger and live in a tent.
  • 1 Hide
    noblerabbit , January 27, 2012 2:39 PM
    theconsolegamerDie, Apple just die already.


    Tell me your secret to positive upvotes, please; I never have such luck with your statements.
    /agreed
  • 12 Hide
    lumberjack86 , January 27, 2012 2:40 PM
    Apple made 13 billion in 1 quarter of the year. If they took 1 billion out of that converted it into yuan and paid the 230 thousand workers at Foxconn it would more than double their yearly salary. They currently make 24 thousand yuan a year, that 1 billion would pay each worker an extra 27 thousand yuan a year. It is literally a drop in the bucket for a company like Apple to do something like this and if they did it would make everybody a lot happier.
Display more comments