APPLE AND WORK CONDITIONS

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chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
According to the New York Times, workers at a factory in Shenzhen, China, owned by Foxconn (a company that manufactures iPhones, iPads and other devices for Apple) regularly work sixteen-hour, seven-day work weeks.

They stand until their legs swell and they can’t walk, and they perform repetitive motions on the production line for so long that some permanently lose the use of their hands. To cut costs, managers make workers use cheap chemicals that cause neurological damage. There has been a rash of suicides at the Foxconn plant, and 300 workers recently threatened to jump off the roof over a safety and pay dispute.

In short, as one former Apple executive told the New York Times, "Most people would be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from."

Mark Shields, a self-described member of the "cult of Mac," started a petition on Change.org demanding Apple exert its influence on its suppliers to improve working conditions for the factory workers that make iPhones, iPads and other Apple products. Click here to sign Mark’s petition right now.

Apple knows it can play an important role in ensuring safe and fair working conditions for the workers at its suppliers, like Foxconn. In 2005, the company released a supplier code of conduct, and it performs hundreds of audits each year in China and around the world to confirm its suppliers are meeting the code’s expectations.

But that’s where Apple’s commitment falters: the number of supplier violations has held steady year to year and Apple hasn’t consistently publicly stated which suppliers have problems or dropped offending suppliers.

The bottom line, Apple executives admit, is that they’re not being forced to change.

One current executive told the New York Times that there’s a trade-off: "You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories," he said, or you can "make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards. And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China."

That means public pressure is the only thing that can force Apple to ensure its suppliers treat workers humanely. If enough people sign Mark’s petition -- and tell Apple they care more about human beings than they do about how fast the company can produce the next generation iPhone -- the company could be convinced to make real change for the workers at Foxconn and other factories.

http://www.change.org/petitions/apple-ceo-tim-cook-protect-workers-making-iphones-in-chinese-factories?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&alert_id=flkeTRTnzP_mKMiRNVusr&me=aa
What a disgusting attitude. I'll never buy an iPhone.
Foxconn makes electronics for just about every computing device there is...
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20844
it is an externalized cost that saves Apple money.


Also, I will post some excerpts from a series of essays I read about businesses dealing with manufacturers in China. (In a nutshell, they put on an elaborate charade so that companies don't see or even know about (or are privy to the full extent) the atrocities that the manufacturers put their workers through). That is not to absolve Apple of responsibility, but chances are Apple was and still is being actively mislead, as well.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
"still is being actively mislead, as well."
that's hard to beleive when every body else knows.
(The video doesn't work)Also don't they have the means of finding out the truth, every one knows, more or less (and certainly business men in particular), what the working conditions are in China (and elsewhere). You think that if they really cared they wouln't know? I don't.
Not to exempt all the other companies that do the same.

One of the sins of our spoiled, entitled culture.
It's not that we don't know, it's that we don't care to know.

author=kentona
Also, I will post some excerpts from a series of essays I read about businesses dealing with manufacturers in China. (In a nutshell, they put on an elaborate charade so that companies don't see or even know about (or are privy to the full extent) the atrocities that the manufacturers put their workers through). That is not to absolve Apple of responsibility, but chances are Apple was and still is being actively mislead, as well.
I wouldn't mind seeing those.
Suppliers and distributors are intimately entwined in any industry, often to the point of the larger demanding that the smaller conform to various production or distribution standards. The notion that Apple had no idea and is as awestruck as we are, that just sounds like Public Relations damage control.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20844
The other thing you have to consider is... what is the average worker choosing over this? Like, are the conditions at another factory even worse? Or is the only other choice unemployment?

Also, it was absolutely remarkable the lengths that some manufacturers went to to dupe and lure companies and how remarkably difficult it is for companies to effect change on the manufacturers in China.

I only read half the book, mind you... but still. Eye opening.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
author=kentona
Like, are the conditions at another factory even worse? Or is the only other choice unemployment?
Hardly an excuse.

" how remarkably difficult it is for companies to effect change on the manufacturers in China." and for the governments of certain of these countries, yes, I read that.
How much exactly is Apple doing ?(If they were doing anything, wouldn't they have claimed it by now?).

Entwined industry or not, I think chana and the petitioners have the right idea; do not support companies which are known to use this kind of labour. If that means nobody buys electronics, then that is a price the companies will have to pay until they change their practices. This has worked in the past, as in the case of Nike:

http://library.thinkquest.org/trio/TTQ02189/nike.htm

There are after all companies with ethical standards for its labour. Hasbro is one such company:

http://csr.hasbro.com/has08-global-business-ethics-principles.php

Ultimately, it is the consumers who have the power, not the companies.
I don't think this is exclusive to Apple, as many companies get their supplies from China. In China there is always abuses in the workforce by not giving them proper working conditions.
Decky
I'm a dog pirate
19517
<Deckiller> our value is measured by how we improve the fiscal position of our employers
<Karsuman> well that was depressing to read
<Deckiller> you think?
<Deckiller> pisses me off
<Karsuman> bad mood today?:p
<Deckiller> nah
<Deckiller> just typical 20-something pessimism
Sadly this problem is not only in China but almost everywhere. Really this world makes me sick...sometimes I wish some Cthulhu like monster would come down/up and just swoop every human being off the face of the earth, it would be redemption for those laborers but horror for those rich assholes...
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
These actually sound like pretty good working conditions for China.
No, actually, not at all. Conditions inside Chinese factories can vary greatly, but some are certainly better than others. I recall reading comments from Hasbro a while back going over the precautions they take to ensure that no abuses are taking place in the factories they use.

These conditions are about as bad as I have ever heard of. I signed the petition, and I urge all of you to do so as well.
author=LockeZ
These actually sound like pretty good working conditions for China.
What the hell? Good working conditions?
author=Bonehead11
Sadly this problem is not only in China but almost everywhere. Really this world makes me sick...sometimes I wish some Cthulhu like monster would come down/up and just swoop every human being off the face of the earth, it would be redemption for those laborers but horror for those rich assholes...

The baby Cthulu I made cry would happily do that for you!


Ah! Poor workers hope they get their better working conditions.
If not, I hope they're smart enough to quit.
While I greatly deplore Apple's and Foxconn's business strategies, there is something that does need to be made aware of: Apple is not Foxconn's only client. In fact, Foxconn services more clients than a lot of you may be aware of. Here is a rough list of their largest ones...

author=wikipedia
Acer Inc. (Taiwan)
Amazon.com (United States)
Apple Inc. (United States)
ASRock (Taiwan)
Asus (Taiwan)
Barnes & Noble (United States)
Cisco (United States)
Dell (United States)
EVGA Corporation (United States)
Gateway (United States)
Hewlett-Packard (United States)
Intel (United States)
IBM (United States)
Lenovo (China)
Microsoft (United States)
MSI (Taiwan)
Motorola (United States)
Netgear (United States)
Nintendo (Japan)
Nokia (Finland)
Panasonic (Japan)
Samsung (South Korea)
Sharp (Japan)
Sony (Japan)
Sony Ericsson (Japan/Sweden)
Toshiba (Japan)
Vizio (United States)

As you can see...well...this includes almost every major technology company that matters. Okay, you might be able to gain a little bit by boycotting Apple and (you would need to check the temperature in Hell for this one...) forcing them to relocate all of their manufacturing operations. But at the same time, you would also need to force that on every other manufacturer on this list.

Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are here, so their consoles and other devices are all manufactured in these same plants. As are Intel's various processors and chips, and likely whatever desktop or laptop that you are using now. Cisco makes up more or less the entire backbone of the Interwebs. Apple is only one client, and while switching them away would deal a blow to Foxconn, it would probably not change much if anything.

I want change for the workers, too. My point is, though, that blaming Apple alone is not nearly enough. You would need to affect the entire electronics industry's practices, in order to even begin affecting Foxconn.

There is also, as kentona had mentioned, a problem of better alternatives even being available within that region. I don't know a lot about these conditions though, so I can't comment on that.
Lately I've been finding ways to get enjoyment for free. As a result I try to generally buy less shit. I still use an MP3 player that's 8 years old (not even exaggerating). It holds only 500 mb, the battery case is off and it still uses like... BATTERIES that you stick in. I don't even take good care of it, it's probably lying around on my bedroom floor under some clothes.

...And it still works. I know it isn't like much when compared to other ways to contribute to the whole BETTER JOBS FOR THIRD WORLD PEOPLES. I just like to think of ways on how i can buy less stuff and still be happy, which is something a lot of people don't think about. Like I haven't bought a video game in 2 months, probably because of college stuff but I've started giving away all my games to friends, and now i just occasionally play pirated/emulated games without much care. That's one nice thing about piracy, you're not as devoted to what is essentially a product anyway.

don't buy an ipod, masturbate instead.
^
A lot of the world's problems would be solved if materialism were that easy to simply "drop".


edit : That reminds me, and this is purely speculative conspiracy theory so take it with salt, I heard once that exposés on Chinese products or manufacturing practise often appear when China does something that annoys the US in the global political landscape.
It's not an idea I'd be willing to endorse right now, but it might be worth keeping an eye on the timing of future reports on leaded toys, killer drywall, or factory horrors.
author=Dyhalto
A lot of the world's problems would be solved if materialism were that easy to simply "drop".

I dunno, I actually like Darken's sentiment. There is a lot of joy to be found in controlling what you have, using them for what you like, and not always buying into the latest trends.
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