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Apple Asks Fair Labor Association for Factory Inspections

Apple has seen significant pressure from labor rights groups and customers over the treatment of staff manning the factories where the iPhone and iPad are built. Earlier this year, the New York Times ran a rather sobering piece on the general business surrounding the China-based manufacturing facilities employed by Apple and many other consumer electronic and computer companies. In late January, Tim Cook penned a letter to the Apple team insisting that his company takes the welfare of its workers very seriously. "We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain," he said. Today, Apple went a step further and announced that it had requested that inspections be carried out in its factories.

Apple said this morning that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. The first inspection will be carried out at the 'Foxconn City' facility in Shenzhen. A team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden are said to have begun the inspection this morning, with Quanta and Pegatron on schedule for inspection in the spring.

The inspection process involves assessing manufacturing areas and dormitories, as well as interviewing thousands of employees about working and living conditions, health and safety, compensation, work hours, and communication with management. Apple's manufacturing partners have promised the FLA full cooperation and unrestricted access to their facilities.

"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," said CEO Tim Cook. "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."

Last Thursday, Apple customers marched in protest over the alleged mistreatment of factory workers. Demonstrators headed for Apple's headquarters and stores located in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney, and Bangalore to deliver petitions signed by 250,000 people. Customers are demanding Apple develop a worker protection strategy for those constructing its products.

The results of the FLA inspections will be posted online in March, so we'll keep you posted on this topic.

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  • del35
    Apple should pay at least a 30% premium to the workers building its products. That would be fair given that Apple charges way above a 30% premium for its products.
    Reply
  • del35
    Apple should pay at least a 30% premium for the workers building its products. That would be fair given that Apple charges way above a 30% premium for its products.
    Reply
  • discboy321
    If the "Fair Labor Association" is anything like "OSHA" not a whole lot will get done. I have and currently work at a company who employs 500+ employees and Every-time "OSHA" plans to do a company wide Surprise Inspection some how that company knows ahead of time 2 weeks in advance that they are coming and we do a thorough clean-up off all our previous violations !
    Reply
  • bin1127
    "Tim Cook penned a letter to the Apple team insisting that his company takes the welfare of its workers very seriously."

    Does that mean Apple retail workers actually believe apple products were produced by fairly paid workers instead of animals in a sweatshop?

    Apple needs to do a live stream of Foxconn's 16 hour workshifts and let us see the changes made if they are really serious.
    Reply
  • joytech22
    It only took thousands of "CUSTOMERS" complaining and month after month of suicide attempts to finally make Apple do something.

    Although if they move manufacturing, expect prices to rise since Apple, sadly (/sarcasm), will earn $5-10 less per device. Which will likely translate into something like a $50 increase per device.. lol
    Reply
  • Bloob
    It seems Apple has made another lawsuit against Samsung and their Galaxy Nexus. Something about being able to click on a phone number on a website to call, and dragging icons, etc.
    Reply
  • watcha
    del35Apple should pay at least a 30% premium to the workers building its products. That would be fair given that Apple charges way above a 30% premium for its products.
    The cost Apple charge for their products has nothing to do with how much a person should get paid for doing a particular job. The money Apple charge over and ABOVE that cost is what makes them a successful company, ie the value THEY add.

    We can all hire a guy in China to build stuff for us. We can't all build an iPad.

    Besides - Samsung also use Foxconn so they should pay 30% extra too? Or... should they be rewarded for developing less appealing products and not asked to pay more?

    http://www.macworld.com/article/165210/2012/02/macalope_who_to_blame.html#lsrc.nl_mwnws_h_crawl
    Reply
  • enforcer22
    watchaThe cost Apple charge for their products has nothing to do with how much a person should get paid for doing a particular job. The money Apple charge over and ABOVE that cost is what makes them a successful company, ie the value THEY add.We can all hire a guy in China to build stuff for us. We can't all build an iPad. Besides - Samsung also use Foxconn so they should pay 30% extra too? Or... should they be rewarded for developing less appealing products and not asked to pay more?http://www.macworld.com/article/16 ws_h_crawl
    though i agree apple can charge what they want i find nothing apple makes more appealing then something samsung makes. it does nothing extra in fact it does less. it doesnt look better all apple products are pretty bland in looks if not ugly. it doesnt run anything more. in fact apple products tend to run less then another product unless jailbroken but hell.. also samsung doesnt charge a fee to have an ugly closed apple on thier bland everyone looks the same junk products. honestly im not sure what makes apple successful... i really honestly do not get it. and this value they add? where is it? what is it? i dont get that either.. what in the world does apple do that no one else was doing years before apple re invented the wheel...... other then some how make it populer beyond logic. that seems to be the only thing apple really does which is great for the bottom line but it defys all logic.
    Reply
  • watcha
    enforcer22though i agree apple can charge what they want i find nothing apple makes more appealing then something samsung makes. it does nothing extra in fact it does less. it doesnt look better all apple products are pretty bland in looks if not ugly. it doesnt run anything more. in fact apple products tend to run less then another product unless jailbroken but hell.. also samsung doesnt charge a fee to have an ugly closed apple on thier bland everyone looks the same junk products. honestly im not sure what makes apple successful... i really honestly do not get it. and this value they add? where is it? what is it? i dont get that either.. what in the world does apple do that no one else was doing years before apple re invented the wheel...... other then some how make it populer beyond logic. that seems to be the only thing apple really does which is great for the bottom line but it defys all logic.
    I was very tempted to write my usual long reply listing all of the things the iPad 2 or iPhone 4S can do which no Android phone can, or mention that they both have faster hardware than any other devices in their genre - but I don't want this to become an Apple vs Android debate.

    I will simply say that I was judging 'appeal' based on number of sales. Apple has set new records for the number of sales they make, and those sales are at a higher price. The population of the world is voting with their wallets that they find the Apple products more appealing.

    The real point I'm making is that a company who makes less profit should still have to give their workers good working conditions - so the profit they make is not a factor.
    Reply
  • __-_-_-__
    anyone saw the trick?
    "Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers"
    meaning, they will only inspect what apple wants.
    Reply