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According to Chinese reports, a man recently was worked to death at an Apple plant. Foxconn, the manufacturer, is reportedly denying the man's family full benefits, as the death was not a suicide.  (Source: Ming Pao)
Foxconn refuses to pay family of employee who died of exhaustion after 34-hour shift as it wasn't suicide

The Shenzhen factory-city in southern China that primarily serves as a manufacturing site for Apple's iPads, iPhones, and iPods has claimed another life, only this time it wasn't a suicide. The man was a 28-year old plant engineer who reportedly died of exhaustion after being forced to work 34 hours nonstop.

Foxconn reportedly has been making employees work increasingly long hours to satisfy the growing demand for the iPad, including unpaid overtime.  It also has reportedly been bullying employees at the Shenzhen Apple plant and elsewhere.

The company is currently refusing to pay the family of the man, Yan Li, full benefits typically given for workers that commit suicide.  Instead, despite having apparently worked him to death, the company plans to only give the family a smaller "humanitarian terms" payout.

The man died shortly after suffering from shortness of breath.  After the 34 hour workday, he had rested for 10 hours, then had returned to work and had worked for 12 hours before becoming ill and dying.

Foxconn manufactures motherboards and other electronics for a variety of companies including Dell, HP, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nokia, and Sony.  However the Shenzhen factory serves primarily as a manufacturing facility for Apple products big and small.  It has all been the site of all the deaths thus far this year.

Since the start of the year, 11 Shenzhen workers have committed suicide, while several more have made unsuccessful attempts.  The string of suicides have brought to light the poor working conditions that the employees toil under daily.

Hon Hai Precision Industry owns the Foxconn unit that operates the plant.  The company has tried many approaches to stop the suicides -- Buddhist monks, "anger rooms", even contracts asking employees to promise not to kill themselves.  However, the death toll has continued to rise.

Foxconn's latest bid to halt the death toll is to give employees a long promised raise.  The company just instituted a 30 percent pay bump at the Shenzhen facility, bringing workers' average starting wage from $132 USD a month to $172 USD per month, enough to buy one of the iPad Nanos they manufacture (after a month's work).

The raise is rumored to be subsidized by Apple.  Apple reportedly is taking a 0.7 percent loss on the iPad's cost to pay for the raise -- or rough $3.50 per iPad sold.  This means that Apple's profit per unit sold will like drop from around $200 to around $196 per Wi-Fi iPad sold.



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Heartless Bastards
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/2/2010 1:26:28 PM , Rating: -1
Just writing this story made me sad >_>

I can't believe they're denying responsibility when they literally worked the dude to death.

And while its a Foxconn plant, it's hard to excuse Apple in this case -- they have been demanding increased production to meet the iPad demand, so this is ultimately the result of their pressuring Foxconn.




RE: Heartless Bastards
By GreenEnvt on 6/2/2010 1:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
Has it been officially determined he died as a result of working these long shifts?
Could he have died from natural causes/disease?

I certainly don't want to make excuses for Foxconn, but we shouldn't just automatically assume that someone who died working there died because of being worked to death.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/2/2010 2:14:51 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Has it been officially determined he died as a result of working these long shifts?
Could he have died from natural causes/disease?

I certainly don't want to make excuses for Foxconn, but we shouldn't just automatically assume that someone who died working there died because of being worked to death.


According to all the translate Chinese reports I read he died of exhaustion. The guy did work a 34 hour shift and then a 12 hour shift, with only a brief break for sleep. Even if the long shift wasn't the exclusive cause of death, it sounds like it played a major role in it.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By MrTeal on 6/2/2010 2:47:13 PM , Rating: 1
Do you have a link to a real translation? Google and Babelfish mangle it so bad that it's almost unreadable.

Also, unless there's some underlying condition, I would think it should take more than one 34 hour shift to kill the guy. He was fairly young. I've worked longer shifts with less rest between, and while it does suck and you do get a little squirrely by the end of it, doing it once in awhile shouldn't kill a healthy individual. If I were Apple I would be looking deeper into the nutrition and other living conditions at the factories, rather than just getting a promise from Foxconn to keep shifts under 24 hours.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By tedrodai on 6/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Heartless Bastards
By sebmel on 6/2/2010 6:11:59 PM , Rating: 3
This is a sad but also complex issue. Foxconn is not acting entirely ruthlessly and I have yet to see it covered fully. This is an excerpt from an article which points out the compensation Foxconn is paying and that it might just be a motivation in some cases. Though that seems crazy, someone contemplating suicide isn't acting rationally:

"... Foxconn finds itself in the position of continuing to pay 110,000 yuan ($16,000) in compensation to every person who jumps. For a depressed Foxconn employee, who still feels an obligation to repay his family for the cost of his or her upbringing and who would like to give his parents a lump sum that could transform their lives, this is a very tempting sum.

For a worker on the basic rate of 900 yuan a month, the compensation amounts to the equivalent of over ten years of gross salary. For a worker who is doing overtime and earning 1500 yuan a month, the compensation is still worth six years of salary."

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/malcolmmoore/100...


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Azure Sky on 6/3/2010 11:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
What I would like to know is about the shifts b4 these, if he had been being worked hard b4 hand that could easily account for the death, Poor food+poor rest cycle+lots of work=bad health or, very likely in this case death.

I have seen people endup in the hosp here in the states from working to many long shifts with to little down time between, very possible that they had been working this guy 12-16hr shifts with as little as a few hours for sleep between for days/weeks b4 this and then the 34hr shift just was to much.......


RE: Heartless Bastards
By chrnochime on 6/2/2010 3:15:15 PM , Rating: 5
No need for "better" translation using other online tools. I can read Chinese just fine since it *is* my first language and will give you the summary.

The article linked to "Mingbao"(which I believe is actually a Hong King publication) does indeed indicate, according to the family of the deceased that he died of exhaustion. The article does NOT indicate the official cause of death.
The Chinese police has ruled out suicide/homicide, thus making this a non-criminal investigation, and as such any request for examination by the coroner will actually cost the family ~8000 RMB, which is roughly 1000 USD.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By drycrust3 on 6/2/2010 3:42:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
homicide


It would be interesting to find out what the Chinese police define as homicide, because if the management coerced him to stay at work and refused to let him go home to sleep, then they definitely killed him, and they can't say it was an accident because every manager should know sleep deprivation will kill a person.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Moishe on 6/2/2010 4:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
34 hours of sleep deprivation including work won't harm anyone who is healthy.

Clearly we don't know all of the info.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/2010 5:32:59 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
34 hours of sleep deprivation including work won't harm anyone who is healthy.


You're an idiot. 34 hours, once or twice a year, won't harm anyone usually sure. However I doubt this was the case. Unless you actually believe this was a one time situation, he was almost certainly suffering from CHRONIC sleep deprivation which is much more serious. Most prevalent being a acutely weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart attacks or heart failure, and a MUCH higher chance of having a stroke. Not to mention very high stress levels which further compound all these symptoms.

quote:
Clearly we don't know all of the info.


Well.. it's clear YOU don't.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/2/2010 8:20:30 PM , Rating: 3
Neither do you.....


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Moishe on 6/3/2010 9:19:49 AM , Rating: 2
I find it hard to believe that someone is suing for something like this, but that they would fail to mention details like "the guy stayed up working 34 hours straight *multiple* times over the course of the last few months."

Not to mention... he just has 10 hours of rest before starting another shift. Like I said, clearly there is more to this than just 34 hours of work. We don't know everything.

If you wish to start throwing around the term "idiot" as usual, you're welcome to, but you don't *know* that the guy worked a bunch of 34 hours shifts, and you don't know what killed him. If he had chronic sleep deprivation, I think that it would be mentioned because it has a lot of bearing on the situation.

Trying to discover cause in a vacuum simply doesn't work very well.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Gul Westfale on 6/2/2010 8:59:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
34 hours of sleep deprivation including work won't harm anyone


well, not according to george W. and the friendly staff at guantanamo hotel.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Moishe on 6/3/2010 9:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
No doubt the terrorists at Guantanamo get better care than the people at this factory.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By BZDTemp on 6/3/2010 4:10:16 AM , Rating: 1
Unless the bullying was done by someone holding a gun to his head I'd say the real reason for his death is stupidity!

Sure no employer should be allowed to demand such work from their workers and they are to blame in his death. However the guy should have said stop - no job is worth dying for.

On a somewhat related note. What sort of quality work is being performed by workers under such conditions. That really sounds to me like stupid and short term thinking by Foxconn and it's customers.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/2010 3:41:54 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Has it been officially determined he died as a result of working these long shifts? Could he have died from natural causes/disease?


Yeah it's pretty natural to die after having no sleep, little to no rest, and probably little to no nutrition for like two days straight. All under a high stress, high impact work environment.

Hello??? Yeah he just COINCIDENTALLY keeled over after being worked like a slave!?


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Gul Westfale on 6/2/2010 9:00:40 PM , Rating: 1
MASSA WANT HIS COTTON! i mean, ipad!


RE: Heartless Bastards
By callmeroy on 6/3/2010 3:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
There are only two kinds of death natural and unnatural that's it.

Unnatural --- murder / suicide

Natural -- everything else.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By amanojaku on 6/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Heartless Bastards
By MrBlastman on 6/2/2010 2:17:49 PM , Rating: 3
This makes me sick to my stomach. Even though Apple shouldn't be contracting with Foxconn, they are, so, in essence, until they switch manufacturers, they share part of the guilt--by association.

Anyone who buys an Apple product, they have blood on their hands. If it keeps up, it may eventually be as bad as buying a Diamond from Africa.

Labor laws are needed in China, badly. I don't see them happening anytime though, as their corrupt communist regime could care little about its people. In Communism, you are not a person, you are a piece of the country. If part of country dies, new person is born to replace them.

They're just a number there. Nothing more. A bee in a hive. The Government could care less until the press gets so bad it hurts their image. Then they execute some managers as retribution, cane some supervisors and ship some others off to secret prisons.

Great place to live China is.

The sick thing is, there IS something we can do about it. We can take pride in our country and request goods to be made here. Yes, they might cost more--a LOT more in some cases, but, it would put jobs into our economy and perhaps build some pride back into the homes of our nation... pride in our nation and work ethic. I'd gladly pay a bit more to know my dime isn't going to support practices such as these we read about overseas.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/2/2010 4:15:18 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
In Communism, you are not a person, you are a piece of the country. If part of country dies, new person is born to replace them.


In Capitalism, you are not a person, you are a piece of the company. If part of company dies, new person is hired to replace them.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Heartless Bastards
By someguy123 on 6/3/2010 1:18:07 AM , Rating: 1
A capitalist society is only based on the individual when it's first created.

People at the top will always have all the options. People at the bottom do not.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Steve1981 on 6/3/2010 10:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A capitalist society is only based on the individual when it's first created.


In theory a capitalist free market society is always based on individual choice. The problem is that there has never been, nor could there ever be a pure free market society because men simply are not pure. A free market assumes that men are educated and always make logical decisions. A free market assumes that men don't lie, cheat, and steal. Those assumptions simply fail in the real world.

quote:
People at the top will always have all the options. People at the bottom do not.


You think this is somehow a problem exclusive to capitalism?

Regardless, while those who start out at the bottom have fewer options to begin with, in any free society a path will exist to the top. It may not be an easy path, but those with the fortitude and perseverance can and do make it. Look at Oprah!


RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/3/2010 10:55:56 AM , Rating: 1
Since you called Stephen Hawking an idiot too, I will take that as a complement.

You need to get your head out of your ass and realize that pure Capitalism and pure Socialism are both bad.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Omega215D on 6/3/2010 9:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
You have a problem with authority, Mr Anderson. You believe that you are special, that somehow the rules do not apply to you. Obviously you are mistaken. This company is one of the top software companies in the world because employees understand they are part of a whole. Thus if an employee has a problem, the company has a problem.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/2/2010 2:19:53 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't think it's Apple's fault for the increase in demand. If people want the iPad then Apple would be stupid not to step up production.


Even if it's at the cost of human life? It sounds to me, based on the reports that I've read that Apple has pushed workers to the brink and now they're finally snapping under long hours and low pay, be it suicide attempts, or dying from exhaustion, as in this case.

quote:
The problem is Apple shouldn't be contracting from Foxconn in the first place. Seriously, the number of accidental deaths is zero. This place is screwed up and no one should be using their services. I blame everyone who's a client of Foxconn.


If Foxconn as a whole is screwed up, then why were all the suicides/accidents/deaths at the plant that is almost exclusively used for Apple manufacturing? I understand correlation does not imply causation, but it seems that given the reports of employees being overworked to fulfill the iPhone/iPad demand, it seems pretty clear that we have causation...

Apple itself in its internal probe recently admitted that "some" of its suppliers were guilty of of overworking employees. Before you cry foul, consider that and take note, this isn't happening at other plants.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By amanojaku on 6/2/2010 3:34:08 PM , Rating: 3
Are you arguing that if Apple lowers its iPad orders back down to earlier, "reasonable" levels that the problems at Foxconn will just go away? That's putting a band aid on the wound, and the band aid will likely fall off in a day or two. What's needed is a full-scale boycott of Foxconn, not a token reduction in orders. Apple, and others, should take their business elsewhere, while maintaining supply for the obvious demand.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Obujuwami on 6/2/2010 4:15:56 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that's logical....move from one extreme to another. How about if the boycott doesn't (and won't) work we send in a crack commando team to blow up the plant? I think I can find the A-Team if they are available!

Deaths happen, its an unfortunate fact of life and business. I'm not gonna sit here and defend Foxconn, but I will say that many of the companies in China treat their factory employees this way and I will bet you that this plant gets all the attention because of Apple. What we should do is actively support the workers there to unionize and demand better working conditions.

Other than that, there really is nothing we can do but not buy apple products. Though I hear they really are going to release the Macbook wheel!


RE: Heartless Bastards
By JediJeb on 6/2/2010 5:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What we should do is actively support the workers there to unionize and demand better working conditions.


You really do want more workers to die. I'm sure the Chinese government would not do a thing to keep the workers from making a union there, remember where we are talking about. In the US you fight to bring in a Union, then once in place threaten to kill off the company until they give in to your demands all while the US government backs you up. (Of course then the company moves all its production to China to get rid of the union.) In China they just shoot or imprison the workers trying to form the union and more come and take their place.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Krotchrot on 6/2/2010 5:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the government suggested that a union would help. Communist countries support unions. That's one reason a lot of people in the U.S. think unions are a communist idea. At least they used to.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By tmouse on 6/3/2010 7:45:37 AM , Rating: 2
You should understand that unions are not the same in all countries. In many places the unions work VERY closely with the company and function more like company cheerleaders and spies than activists for their members.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/3/2010 11:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the US you fight to bring in a Union, then once in place threaten to kill off the company until they give in to your demands all while the US government backs you up.


Like the government backed coal miners who were forming a union by killing them?


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Reclaimer77 on 6/2/2010 5:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Other than that, there really is nothing we can do but not buy apple products.


We could clone Ronald Regan! That way we would have someone who actually knew how to deal with Communists and bring them to the negotiating table, and ultimately bring them to their knees.

quote:
I'm not gonna sit here and defend Foxconn, but I will say that many of the companies in China treat their factory employees this way


Lol is that your idea of a silver lining? I don't know about you, but I don't get a fuzzy feeling knowing Foxconn is just the tip of the iceberg.

quote:
What we should do is actively support the workers there to unionize and demand better working conditions.


Ummm, you really don't get it, do you? You can't unionize when your system of Government denies you basic human rights.

Look at it this way, what if this happened in America or another civilized nation? There would be investigations, public outcries, law enforcement action, indictments, federal junctions, etc etc. At the very least, you would almost certainly be heavily fined and probably shut down. Why is none of this happening in China? Because your basic human rights are of NO concern to the Government, in fact, you HAVE no basic human rights.

Knowing all that, you expect these employees to somehow have the power, and protection needed, to form a Union and "demand" better working conditions?? HOW!? Because we actively "support" that? What a bunch of fluffy feel-good nonsense. The people stepping on the throats of these workers could give a goddamn about your support!


RE: Heartless Bastards
By thurston on 6/3/2010 11:01:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think I can find the A-Team if they are available!


The A-Team have a new movie coming out they might be too busy.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Talcite on 6/2/2010 1:48:29 PM , Rating: 3
It's interesting how Apple's brand is now being associated with the Foxconn brand. This essentially means that Apple is experiencing the negative effects of things which are not directly within its sphere of influence.

It must be a pretty difficult situation to be in for Apple. I'm interested to see what they'll do to fix it. The Gap (yes, the clothing store) went through something similar years ago where they took a huge amount of heat for having poor labour practices in its supply chain. It led to a reform of the company and a reform of their suppliers. They now have independent auditing processes for all the suppliers in the supply chain. You can see what I mean by here: http://www.gapinc.com/GapIncSubSites/csr/MakeADiff...

Hopefully Apple will take steps similar to the ones taken by The Gap. It would definitely go benefit the works more than PR moves like the 0.7% profit cut. This overworking demonstrates a clear lack of labour rights and more fundamental solutions need to used.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Talcite on 6/2/2010 1:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, this link is probably more useful than what I posted earlier:

http://www.gapinc.com/GapIncSubSites/csr/Goals/Dat...


RE: Heartless Bastards
By saganhill on 6/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Heartless Bastards
By invidious on 6/2/2010 2:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Dont you think the real blame are the people creating the demand for these products?
No.

Continued support of a corporation that allows this to happen holds some blame. But the case that customers drove Apple/Foxcon to this is pretty thin. There is nothing morally wrong with supply and demand.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By AyashiKaibutsu on 6/3/2010 9:20:02 AM , Rating: 1
Apple could have taken their crazy profits and expanded production/setup initial sufficient production to met demand, but instead they go about running what amount to slave labor so they can make even more profit.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By The0ne on 6/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Heartless Bastards
By The0ne on 6/2/2010 5:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I thought as well. Don't like what I've said do you. Ignorant DT members hahahaha If only you've step beyond your doorstep...if only LMAO


RE: Heartless Bastards
By inperfectdarkness on 6/2/2010 3:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
maybe you should change the title so it reads that they were "DENIED" benefits, not "REFUSED" benefits. the headline makes it unclear that the benefits are being withheld, not turned down.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Shadowmaster625 on 6/2/2010 3:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
I cant believe people buy products from a company that makes 100 times more in profits than they spend on labor manufacturing costs. This is clearly absurd. I hope AAPL burns in hell and the stock goes to 0 and all you DUMB yuppies lose everything and die in a gutter with nothing but your stupid iCrap. Stop killing this @#^@ country.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By bubbastrangelove on 6/2/2010 4:04:18 PM , Rating: 3
[George Stienbrenner Voice] HIRE THIS MAN! [/George Stienbrenner Voice]


RE: Heartless Bastards
By hiscross on 6/2/2010 10:43:58 PM , Rating: 1
You are clearly are a socialist liberal. Can you please go the Gulf use your body to stop the oil leak? That will show the world that socialist can help others.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Shadowmaster625 on 6/2/2010 11:35:57 PM , Rating: 3
Socialism is what you get after you send all manufacturing overseas and the nation has no means to produce wealth except to take it by force from those few remaining who are still productive. There is no reason Apple cant take 20% of those rediculous profits and use them to build their products in the USA. Oh so it would cost $40 a unit instead of $4 to manufacture it here in the US. Big friggin whoopteedoo. If apple customers werent so damn braindead Apple would have been forced (by the market) to do this. The mere fact that people in this country are too damn stupid to figure out how to rub two brain cells together long enough to do what's right is a RESULT of a failed socialized education system. So take your hopelessly misinformed notions of socialism and stick em.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By alanore on 6/3/2010 6:57:38 AM , Rating: 2
If you don't want Socio-capitalism and just want pure capitalism then that what you get. By out sourcing its labor Apple is maximizing its profits, that is one of the reasons it one of the most successful tech companies today.

You cant have your cake an eat it. Forcing Apple to manufacture in the US would go against capitalist ideals.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Moishe on 6/3/2010 9:22:25 AM , Rating: 2
Are you clueless? What about the other costs? Design, manufacturing, shipping, marketing, retail, corporate overhead, etc, etc...

The cost of manufacturing is usually the smallest part of the investment.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By NanoTube1 on 6/2/2010 3:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you. This is horrible.
Apple & Foxconn should apologize and compensate the family.
Furthermore, they better be sure nothing like this happens again because I am starting to lose my patience with this crap.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By Moishe on 6/2/2010 4:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think that the issue is probably the owner/operator of the plant. If there are multiple Foxconn plants and this one is the only one with the issue, than Apple and Foxconn should be putting heavy pressure on Hon Hai or whatever the name is to improve. If it were Apple or Foxconn's fault, the issue would be spread across the other Apple plants. Heck, it could be made worse by the location, something in the water, local health, etc.

As much as I am not a fan of Apple, I think that this is Apple getting bad PR for something that it does not cause and has very little control of.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By msheredy on 6/2/2010 4:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
Dude come on. Foxconn isn't Apple's plant. Foxconn is a subcontractor that builds stuff for HP, Dell and many others. So why did you only mention Apple's name directly to this story through your headline?. Foxconn is the one to blame not Apple, Dell, or whom ever else they build stuff for. The buck stops at Foxconn you media sensationalist dipshit.


RE: Heartless Bastards
By jmhart on 6/3/2010 2:11:18 AM , Rating: 4
"And while its a Foxconn plant, it's hard to excuse Apple in this case -- they have been demanding increased production to meet the iPad demand, so this is ultimately the result of their pressuring Foxconn."

...Yet you have no problem stating in the title and picture caption that it's an "Apple" plant...

Misinform much?


RE: Heartless Bastards
By tim851 on 6/3/10, Rating: 0
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il














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