Chinese Factory Workers Write to Steve Jobs

Many of our computers and electronic gadgets are possible thanks to the production facilities in China. The focus on production capacity sometimes leads to neglect for the conditions that human beings must endure just to make the latest piece of technology.

Now several workers from Wintek, which make touch screens for Apple devices, has written a letter to Steve Jobs regarding the hardships they had to endure, particularly with regards to the use of hexyl hydride, also called n-hexane, from May 2008 to August 2009.

According to Reuters, part of the letter read: "This is a killer, a killer that strikes invisibly. … From when hexyl hydride was used, monthly profits at Apple and Wintek have gone up by tens of millions every month, the accumulated outcome of workers' lives and health."

Wintek used n-hexane in the production of touch-panels, but has since stopped when it found out that it was making its workers ill. Now the plant has switched back to alcohol, which achieves the same result but slower.

It's not immediately clear what the workers are hoping to achieve by sending an English version of the letter to Apple. One technician said, "I hope Apple can respect our labor and our dignity. I hope they can stand up and apologize to us," while another worker explained, "We are unable to cope with the medical costs of treatment in the future."

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • bejabbers
    Apple doesn't care about people, especially it's workers? What a shocker!!
  • undead_assault
    hmmm, I hope they got increasing wage. After all, they deserved it.
  • manitoublack
    The Hard reality of the computer industry

  • house70
    I can think of a few things that Stevie will do with that letter... None very pleasant.
    hint to workers: time wasted!
  • belardo
    Who cares?

    This is why Unions suck which prevents America from competing with China and other such countries! Those pesky worker rights, work hour limits, safety requirements, minimal pay all get in the way of progress.

    We also should go back to 1950s tax rates too!
  • wiyosaya
    Most American companies only know one thing - the bottom line. The CEO's of those companies know nothing of respect for the individuals who made them some of the "richest" people in the world. Why on Earth would Jobs or Apple apologize to any worker injured putting them on top of the world? They would rather remodel their offices instead of doing the right thing.

    PS - I'm an American.
  • kcorp2003
    Well its sad, surprise machines haven't take up their jobs yet.
  • wiyosaya
    BelardoWho cares?This is why Unions suck which prevents America from competing with China and other such countries! Those pesky worker rights, work hour limits, safety requirements, minimal pay all get in the way of progress.We also should go back to 1950s tax rates too!And you? You sound like the one doing the whipping rather than being whipped. Perhaps you should try the other side for once in your life. Did your parents birth you with a silver spoon already in your mouth?

    I think you are spouting a lot of BS. The only reason we "cannot compete" is because we are sending all of our business to China rather than keeping it on our own turf. China would not be where it is unless Americans put it there. If we just stopped having stuff produced in China, China would fall flat on its face.

    And why are we sending all our business to China? In pursuit of the all mighty dollar bill - the Holy Grail of capitalism that is causing its downfall.

    Crawl back under a rock, troll, instead of hailing those who cause injury to others.
  • joytech22
    Apple "supposedly" has one of the highest working standards around, but that doesn't take into account who makes their products for them.

    Either way, people are like sheep to Apple and almost every large company out there, they buy and build their products/services to a high standard/price and sell them back to more people for $$$.
  • hotelromeo
    Jobs wrote back:

    Dear China,

    I am terminal