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Apple opens up its Foxconn assembly facilities to a Fair Labor Association audit, the report is due in March

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Apple opens up its Foxconn assembly facilities to a Fair Labor Association audit, the report is due in March
Well, Apple seems to have taken note from all the brouhaha that was raised in the past weeks over working conditions in its Foxconn assemblyman's factories. Talk show hosts like John Stewart and Bill Maher chimed in, protests were organized in front of Apple Stores last week, and, despite Tim Cook already subjecting its suppliers to stricter controls, he has now gone a step further.

To mitigate what is turning to be the first real PR challenge for Apple under his command, Tim Cook has invited the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to inspect the Foxconn factories in Shenzhen where the iPhone and iPad are assembled, and audit the working conditions situation:

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. 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.
This is probably the most established NGO dealing with worker's rights, so there should be some heavy-hitters dispatched to interview employees, and create a full picture of what is becoming a notorious manufacturing facility. "As part of its independent assessment, the FLA will interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The FLA’s team will inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment.", says the presser. 

The rounds have apparently already started today in the so-called Foxconn City area, so we will wait for the first reports to make their way publicly next month on the FLA website. Auret van Heerden, FLA's President and CEO said that Apple is the first technology firm to become a Participating Company with the FLA:

We found that Apple takes supplier responsibility seriously and we look forward to their participation in the Fair Labor Association. We welcome Apple's commitment to greater transparency and independent oversight, and we hope its participation will set a new standard for the electronics industry.

source: Apple & FLA

Press Release

31 Comments
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posted on 13 Feb 2012, 08:27 9

1. PAPINYC (Posts: 2186; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Newsflash:

Fair Labor Association auditors commit mass-suicide (together).

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 08:27 3

2. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5536; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


And what is Apple going to do when the audit results come back showing Foxconn operating a sweatshop? Not anything that cuts its margins.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:23 4

17. bigdawg23 (Posts: 346; Member since: 25 May 2011)


What is going to happen you find out that FoxConn operates under the law in China? People keep forget this isn't the USA. Labor laws are different.

Lastly, Apple isn't the only company using them to build electronics.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:33 3

19. quakan (Posts: 1140; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


Exactly. For anyone to think that Apple is the only one using cheap labor, they're crazy. Many business do. One big issue that people will be looking at when November comes around is who is going to help bring back some of the many jobs that left, but like Steve Jobs said, "Those jobs aren't coming back" and for known reasons.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:45

21. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5536; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Those jobs aren't coming back because Apple is engaging in labor cost arbitrage. If the iDevices were produced in factories subject to U.S. labor law, the iDevices would easily cost 2x what they presently cost.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 12:28 1

25. quakan (Posts: 1140; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


@Droid_X_Doug and that's why those jobs will remain in China. It's not just Apple either, Apple has just been thrown into the spotlight this time.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:23 4

27. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


DX,
thats a misnomer and not completely true. Apple has a 70%+ profit margin. If it cost THEM 2x as much, they would still maintain an incredibly healthy 35%+ profit margin, which is still higher than Samsung's who is in 2nd place.
Samsung makes many of its parts here in america. Yet, the big american Apple company cant. Its a sad excuse and a lie. Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are both american companies that operate the majority of their factories.. .in America. Nokia and Moto both used to have factories for phones in america.

Apple prizes extreme profit margins over human life. its that simple.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:35 2

30. Hallucinator (Posts: 339; Member since: 24 May 2010)


You sound ignorant when you try to make it sound like Apple is the only company doing this. Lets not forget that Foxconn makes products for Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and Amazon just to name a few. You do love to only tell one side.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:46 3

32. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


speaking of sounding ignorant.

can you tell me where i said this was only apple? did i? no i didnt. dont put words in my mouth, thanks.

should i go on a dissertation every time foxconn is brought up about every company that they have as a client to make you happy? Or should I just stick to the topic at hand? I think I'll just stick to the topic at hand.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 15:30 2

35. Hallucinator (Posts: 339; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Well, If you are going to condemn a company for doing something and then turn around and buy products or praise products from another company that does the same thing such as Samsung or Motorola. That just seems like a hypocritical better than thou attitude. So yes you were sticking to the topic at hand. My bad.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 15:52

36. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


this has been discussed many times on this site. Unlike most, ive actively tried to avoid buying products made by foxconn plants since learning of this. I looked up where my computer was made (india), and I've looked up other devices I thought about buying. Can others say the same thing?

Foxconn says that they follow the rules and regulations put forth by their partners and that each factory is run a little differently. Foxconn says they comply with apple's rules, and apple is happy.. which means apple is setting the rules that is making people want to commit suicide. Rarely does a foxconn incident happen that isnt apple related. The only one I can recall was actually recently where a group of workers threatened mass suicide if their demands for better conditions were not met. that was at the Xbox factory. They were all lied to, to get off the roof, then arrested and not heard from since. Welcome to socialism/communism.

Samsung largely makes its products in house in korea. they dont use foxconn for too much at least in the cell world. They actually have chip factories in America, unlike Apple, and are opening more in Texas this year.

So yes, I am aware of where my products come from. I do have many foxconn products like the rest of us. Unlike most I am now actively trying to avoid foxconn products until things change. The ONLY way to get them to change is to openly pressure them by refusing to buy their products and telling them that its because they are not an ethical company in the least.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 15:56 1

37. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5536; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


"Apple prizes extreme profit margins over human life. its that simple."

No disagreement from me on that statement. Which is why IMO, Apple isn't going to do anything if the audit results come back negative. The response will squarely put any blame on Foxconn. It is called plausible deniability.

We are probably discussing two sides of the same coin - Apple prizes extreme profit margins and they aren't going to do anything to jeopardize the margins they are making.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 16:16

38. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


eeeeeeeeexactly. :)

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:39 2

20. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5536; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


China has some pretty robust labor laws. They are just routinely ignored. When the local inspector comes around, the designated 'entertainer' takes the inspector out for entertainment, and life at the sweatshop goes on.

Hopefully the NGO doing the audit won't be susceptible to the 'entertainment'. It would be interesting to see how Foxconn stacks up to a true, transparent audit.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:35

31. LoneShaolin (Posts: 307; Member since: 14 Jan 2012)


@Droid, I meant to upvote you. I hit down on accident. My bad.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 08:29 7

3. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)


It's not like the workers are gonna say anything against the company. They're too afraid of losing their jobs.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 08:50 5

5. Sniggly (Posts: 6697; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Why is it that I'm starting to recall the scene in Stalag 17 when the Geneva Convention guy comes along to do his inspection, and the Germans pass out curtains and warm blankets for the visit along with telling the prisoners to tell the Geneva guy they're doing fine?

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 08:56 5

9. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


Yes, the only real way to get an accurate picture is to go undercover as well as conduct surprise inspections over a few months. The fact that FOXCONN can now show that it knows how to prepare itself for the cameras does nothing to address core issues.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:49

33. rf1975 (Posts: 238; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


Yes. But this must be done not only for Apple suppliers / manufacturers. This has to be done for other Manufacturers like Samsung, Lenovo, Asus, HP and Acer etc. Then only people who are working in these OEM will get the benefit.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 15:11

34. rf1975 (Posts: 238; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


I am not saying Apple is a good company. But if Other manufacturers like Samsung, HP, Lenovo, Asus and Acer open their OEM facilities to FLA, do you expect that the situation at those placec will be better than Apple OEM. All manufacturers more or less same like Apple. All manufacturers look for better profit. I am not just saying this. I have experience in OEM production field. Whether you like or not this the real situation.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 08:52 7

7. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


sounds like another marketing gimmick from rotten fruit

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 10:52 1

14. dreammixer (banned) (Posts: 81; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Apple is doing the right thing. They're showing they care about the Foxconn workers.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:05 1

15. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


im not going to touch this one, i dont want to speculate as to whether apple is putting on a show or geniunely trying to find out about the working conditions.

i will say that i am very interested what the FLA can dig up. Foxconn claims they can add 4000 workers at the drop of a hat if needed, something might be up.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:12 6

16. gallitoking (Posts: 4682; Member since: 17 May 2011)


This is the golden opportunity.. for these workers to finally step up and speak up... lets see why much change they want...(hope fear doesn't get in the way as it will resolve nothing)

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 11:32

18. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


i agree.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 12:10

23. Stuticus (Posts: 26; Member since: 05 Feb 2012)


I agree also, but unfortunately its going to take someone with immense courage to speak up. China is a Totalitarian Communist nation, and there fore Foxcomm is owned by the party. If someone knows they have spoken out against "The Party" they, and their families, will be silenced. The "Undercover" inspection mentioned earlier is really the only way to do it.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:25 1

28. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its not going to happen though, gallito. Its not america. If they speak up, they will be fired, jailed, and things will happen to their family. Socialism/communism is just so wonderful.. yay.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 12:10 1

22. tluv00 (Posts: 134; Member since: 18 Oct 2007)


This should have been done almost immediately as opposed to giving them a date and time to make sure they had the plant cleaned up, the rowdy employees sequestered and a script for everyone created. Thre is a specific reason why random checks (drug, inspections etc) work. It's because everyday could be an inspection day and a day to have your company shut down. This is smoke and mirrors.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 12:11

24. tluv00 (Posts: 134; Member since: 18 Oct 2007)


Oh......and how is it Tim Cook's job to get them their in the first place? Sounds a little fishy to me. Apple is way too involved in this.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 14:26

29. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yes, Tim Cook's job while SJ was alive was to control all the manufacturing/labor contracts. The fox is watching the henhouse and trying to convince the farmer he is innocent while feathers hang from his mouth.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 13:31

26. hutty24 (Posts: 84; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


They new what was happening why else would they have the is**ts made there tons of newly freed slaves lookig for jobs where to much like the Romans pissed that the slaves have all the jobs and the rich have all the money

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