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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

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RE: Someone is lying
By FITCamaro on 2/17/2012 8:44:58 AM , Rating: -1
Our government does not mandate time off because they have no right or power to.

From your next response you clearly are another religious hating idiot who thinks that all Christians want to go back to the days of crusades and hate all minorities. Nevermind that one of the biggest populations of Christians in the United States are blacks and hispanics.

Mankind is given the ultimate gift of whats called free will. We make choices in our lives that only we are responsible for no matter how much idiots like yourself like to blame on others. You are an idiot because you choose to be one. It's not anyone else's fault but yours. Just as people like Reclaimer and myself are actually worthwhile members of society that work for a living and don't want to take away anything from anyone because we choose to be that way.

Those that have shitty jobs have them because they choose to. No one in this country is forced to work in a given field or for a given employer. Their choices have led them to what they do and who they work for. If that means they work somewhere crappy that pays low, doesn't give time off, or whatever, that's their fault. Stop blaming the rest of us who made better choices.

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.

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