Print 76 comment(s) - last by DougF.. on Feb 20 at 11:00 AM

FLA president said other factories in China are much worse, and that Apple's Foxconn plants are "first-class"

After The New York Times released a report on the poor treatment of Apple's suppliers' workers, weeks of Apple bashing ensued. But a new study from the Fair Labor Association (FLA) takes the opposite stance, saying that workers at factories like Foxconn are not being pushed to their limits -- they're just bored.

Auret van Heerden, president of the Fair Labor Association, is currently investigating the conditions of Apple's suppliers' factories in China after Apple recently volunteered for FLA inspection. Van Heerden recently visited one of Apple's main suppliers, Foxconn Technology Group, and found that the working conditions there were better than many other factories in China such as garment factories.

"The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm," said van Heerden. "I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. 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."

Van Heerden explained that many of the workers come from distant rural areas away from their families, and are thrown into an industrial setting that they're not used to with people that they don't know. With this kind of boredom, alienation and homesickness, the young workers require emotional support, and the factories were not aware that this was the case. Van Heerden said that this emotional distress is what led to the suicides at Foxconn, not employees being overworked.

Van Heerden also sided with Apple in the respect that the company decided to join the FLA, which subjects the company to intense monitoring.

"Apple didn't need to join the FLA," said van Heerden. "The FLA system is very tough. It involves unannounced visits, complete access, public reporting. If Apple wanted to take the easy way out, there were a whole host of options available to them. The fact that they joined the FLA shows they were really serious about raising their game."

Last month, The New York Times published a report detailing the harsh conditions that Apple's suppliers' workers must endure. The article listed problems like long hours, exhaustion, lengthy overtime, unsafe working environments (a collection of aluminum dust from polishing iPad cases led to two explosions in two separate Foxconn plants due to poor ventilation), underage employment and crowded living conditions as some of the violations to Apple's supplier code of conduct. Despite violations to this code, which have been brought to Apple's attention repeatedly on an annual basis since 2007, The New York Times wondered why Apple wasn't doing anything to improve it.

Apple CEO Tim Cook fired back about the claims that Apple doesn't care about its supplier's employees overseas. He sent an email to Apple employees stating that the company cares about each and every worker, and that he was outraged by the accusations which stated otherwise.

"As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values," said Cook. "Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are."

About 30 FLA employees will be spending the next three weeks at Chinese Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu to interview 35,000 workers. Each Apple Foxconn worker will be given iPads to complete a survey, which asks them the following series of questions: how were they hired, were they paid a fee, what are the conditions of their dorms/food, were their complaints acted upon, what is their emotional well being, and were they offered/did they sign any contracts and did they understand them.

After collecting this information, the FLA will create a full report of their findings. The report will be available in early March 2012.

Foxconn will not be the only supplier investigated by the FLA. Asian suppliers like Quanta Computer Inc., Wintek Corp. and Pegatron Corp. will be placed under the microscope as well at a later date.

Sources: Reuters, CNET

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Someone is lying
By Reclaimer77 on 2/16/2012 3:09:10 PM , Rating: -1
When did it become our problem though? I'm still trying to understand how Apple is responsible for worker conditions when they've contracted out to someone else.

I don't own any Apple products and never have. Maybe I don't feel enough guilt on this that some others do. But the problem is the Chinese GOVERNMENT. And nobody else's.

And since when is the FLA in Apple's pocket or a shill for corporations? That's the OPPOSITE of what they do. It seems like people just want a reason to hate Apple so they're cooking up conspiracy theories.

RE: Someone is lying
By yomamafor1 on 2/16/2012 4:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
Probably this is the only time I'll agree with you.

Workers' conditions really have nothing to do with Apple. Apple cannot control whether or not Foxconn will allow workers to rest. The only thing they can do is ask Foxconn whether it can meet the demanded volume at a certain time at a certain price. Foxconn could say yes, like they did, or no, which they'll go into negotiation table.

The funny thing is, Apple is not the only Foxconn customer. Almost all of the other companies use Foxconn for manufacturing, including Acer, ASUS, AMD, Dell, HP, HTC, Intel, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, etc. If you're using an electronics, chances are the parts were made by Foxconn, and assembled by Foxconn. The only difference between Apple and other tech companies is that Apple is much more high profile. But if one wants to blame Apple for Foxconn workers' poor condition, all of the tech companies need to share the blame. However, blaming these tech companies for workers' conditions is similar to blaming In-n-Out burger for the low wage and poor working condition in the slaughterhouses. It is idiotic.

If you really want to blame, blame Foxconn and the Chinese government.

RE: Someone is lying
By Reclaimer77 on 2/16/12, Rating: -1
RE: Someone is lying
By thurston2 on 2/16/2012 4:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
Your so full of shit. America is one of the only 1st world nations that does not mandate time off.

RE: Someone is lying
By Reclaimer77 on 2/16/2012 8:42:49 PM , Rating: 1
Our Government has no business "mandating" time off for workers. That doesn't not mean, however, that employers do not GIVE time off. They are free to do so. And people are free to choose an employer that has policies best suited to them.

RE: Someone is lying
By thurston2 on 2/16/2012 9:47:15 PM , Rating: 1
If their wasn't people like you our government wouldn't have to, but unfortunately people like you exist. Most righties are Christian, are you? If so I have a question for you.

RE: Someone is lying
By Reclaimer77 on 2/17/2012 12:17:33 PM , Rating: 3

Okay I'll bite, although I have NO idea why religion would enter into this. No, I'm not religious. Now what was your question? Is there a Bible verse that says "though shall not mandate time off" or something?

Between you and Cordoroyguy and his blatant bigoted views on religion, I'm getting quite tired of you people assuming a Conservative point of view on something MUST be religious based. If you cannot debate someone without trying to establish some spiritual link to their opinions, thus easily undermining them, that's just pathetic.

How does thinking that government mandated time off is a gross over-reach of Federal authority an inherently "rightie" statement anyway?

If there is to be "mandated" time off from any Government, that would only be acceptable at the state level. And even then it would be questionable in it's wisdom.

RE: Someone is lying
By thurston2 on 2/17/2012 12:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
Never mind I've already asked the question to your head cheerleader FITCamero.

RE: Someone is lying
By FITCamaro on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Someone is lying
By thurston2 on 2/17/2012 9:47:48 AM , Rating: 2
Religious hating idiot were did that come from? I have a question for a right wing Christian how is that religious hating? I've worked 40+ hrs a week since I was 16.

RE: Someone is lying
By thurston2 on 2/17/2012 12:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'll go ahead and ask you the question I was going to ask Reclaimer. Acts 4 clearly shows that Jesus and the apostiles were socialists. How does your hatred of socialism fit with your religious beliefs?

Here is the text from Acts if you've never read it. Their is no denying they were socialists.

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

RE: Someone is lying
By FITCamaro on 2/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Someone is lying
By thurston2 on 2/17/2012 7:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
They were Socialists they sold all their belongings and pooled the proceeds for each to have what they need. How can such an uncaring person like yourself call himself a Christian? You are nothing like Jesus. You're just a greedy hate filled person.

RE: Someone is lying
By DougF on 2/20/2012 10:42:18 AM , Rating: 2
As Inigo Montoya said so well: "I do not think it means what you think it means." The description in the Bible is of piety, not socialism. You need to read the passage in Acts in context with the early days of the church.

The early church believed Christ was returning any day. So, they lived as if he were returning THAT day. Possessions were sold and people readied themselves for transport to heaven. It is a wonderful personal philosophy, to live as if Christ were returning today. But, it is neither socialism, nor communism, nor any other political theory.

Christians are constantly balancing the need to plan for the future and living as if Christ were returning today. We have to be careful not to chase money for love of money, but to not plan for the coming winter or retirement or whatever, would be to ignore the "daily bread" we are given by our Father. Christ didn't have any problem with rich people, per se, but he did recognize that most rich people love their money first and God second. Christians have to be ready to give up everything for Christ, not for others, not for a government, or a society, or even a charity organization. And, Christ WILL demand you give up everything to follow him.

To sum it up: This passage in Acts is describing love of God in the form of piety, not socialism.

RE: Someone is lying
By yomamafor1 on 2/16/2012 4:42:10 PM , Rating: 5
Except that unions existed for a reason. Those labor laws did not come to be automatically. The working conditions that you enjoy nowadays were not enjoyed by your ancestors, who probably shared the same working conditions as those Foxconn workers.

Personally I agree that unions nowadays may have became redundant, since we have a pretty comprehensive labor law in place today. However, blaming our current lack of manufacturing industry on unions is idiotic to say the least.

And when you have time, perhaps you should get over your ego and read NYT's report on why China is the preferred choice of manufacturing. Here's a hint, union is not one of the reasons.

RE: Someone is lying
By Reclaimer77 on 2/16/12, Rating: 0
RE: Someone is lying
By messele on 2/16/2012 4:46:21 PM , Rating: 3
Same problem in the UK. Well a little different but the effect is the same.

You may or may not know about the relatively generous welfare in the UK and how it pampers those who refuse to work, have addiction problems or have decided to spend their (early) adulthood squeezing out as many puppies as possible (babies = more welfare). Free housing, tax exemption, plenty of free time for bohemian pursuits.

So, all those low-paid but still perfectly respectable jobs such as farming labour, dirty manual jobs are instead being lapped up by Eastern Europeans who are wallowing in the relatively decent pay (compared to back home) while lazy Brits refuse to do any such work as they are quite comfortable on their state handouts. These are the same people who wasted their lives at school and had no foresight as to what was coming. Morons if you will.

Then they have the nerve to use foreign labour as an excuse, proclaiming that foreigners are 'stealing' all the jobs. The reality is your average Polish family man just needs a few years work to earn enough money to buy a house back home where he has every intention of returning once he's made a better life for his family. Can you blame him?

There is no room for cheap manufacturing labour in the UK, people simply refuse to work which is why the only real manufacturing over here now is much higher end stuff where Britain's skills are traditionally very good, or certain sectors of manufacturing that are run with such efficiency that the numbers stack up.

China will not be a poor impoverished nation forever, their improvements in standards of living are growing exponentially compared the West (until they catch up). By then there will be other nations, India, Brazil, certain nations of Africa who will provide a more attractive alternative and so manufacturing will move there.

Nothing will change, the global economy is global and will remain so.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki