NYU student works undercover at Pegatron assembling the Apple iPhone 7

Ever wonder what it might be like to work at a factory, assembling the Apple iPhone 7? New York University student Dejian Zeng found out. He spent last summer working undercover at a Pegatron plant in China for an NYU project. What he discovered was that it is not a glamorous job, and those employed in these factories are not getting rich by working there. He was put to work right on his first day when he was given the tasks of affixing a sticker and adding a screw to the Apple iPhone 6s.

While Zeng was working at the factory, production shifted from the Apple iPhone 6s to the Apple iPhone 7, and that is when draconian security measures were put in place. The sensitivity of the metal detectors was hiked and employees were forced to go through two security checkpoints. As a general rule, Personal phones and other electronics are not allowed in the factory.

Workers start out as operators and move into the multitask position. The next two levels up include the group leader and line manager. Then there is the section manager, the division manager and factory director. Most don't hang around long enough to get promoted to a high position. Overtime is often mandatory, and workers are not allowed to play music to help them get by the repetitive motions of their boring jobs.

Rumors that workers put in long hours for little pay happen to be true. Including overtime. Zeng was working 12 hours a day, but getting paid for only 10.5 hours daily because of unpaid breaks. Apple, known to the workers as "the client," had employees visiting the factory daily once production switched to the iPhone 7 to make sure things were going smoothly. Apple also monitored the workers to make sure that no one worked more than 60-hours a week.

For all of that hard work, the NYU student couldn't even afford the device he was assembling. His pay amounted to $450 a month. This explains the high turnover rate, and why some workers don't last more than a couple of weeks before quitting. It also explains why most employees who work at the factory producing the latest iPhone models, end up owning personal smartphones made by lower priced Chinese manufacturers like Oppo.

As for Zeng, the experience led him to pursue a career in Human Rights Advocacy. For more on Zeng's experience, click on the video found at the top of this story.

source: BusinessInsiders, NYUWagner



1. Unordinary unregistered

awesome experience to find his future career. all big companies are like this. this is where full automation will be more helpful, regarding human rights

3. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

right... full automation to make more person jobless.. and force those people to do job with even lower wage to feed their mouth

9. kiko007

Posts: 7506; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Look on the Brightside: More automation will push more people into the engineering field, leading to more money making opportunities within the middle class of most places. China not withstanding...

19. yalokiy

Posts: 1051; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

These stupid jobs shouldn't exist. Robots can do all the work - humans must evolve to a future that has no place for inhuman working conditions, wars and greed.

20. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

Someone has to maintain and repair this robots.

2. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

old news said apple will assembly their next iPhone in US... why no more news about that?

5. kiko007

Posts: 7506; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Because it's not happening... Why else?

4. audibot

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

i love how he has a mac book even after working such a "hard" ill take him to work show him real hard work and 4 hours no pay drive to work and home if your lucky 4 hrs

7. kiko007

Posts: 7506; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"4 hours no pay" f**k that noise...

6. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

You can't compare China and USA just like that. China as a whole is a very different experience in life style and economic situation.

8. audibot

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

am so sick of people saying they only make $125 us a week but the dont know the cost of living for that area does it cost $2000 for a 2 bd 2bath apartment like i have to pay if i could pay 600 or 700 and work a few hours more or less thats fine

10. mixedfish

Posts: 1560; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Poverty tourism.

11. HanoiBoi

Posts: 43; Member since: May 05, 2016

"workers...own the Oppo" So, who assembles the low-priced Oppos?

12. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

their kids?

16. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Same idiots that used to put General Motors cars together before they went bankrupt.


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

And that's why Apple is crap! I am pretty sure they are 100% aware of this!

14. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Not all workers who quit is outta their own will. I worked for a Chinese manufacturer a couple of years ago and the scumbag boss scammed his employees and forced them to leave after the so called "3-week trial period". What's worse, I remember a case when an employee was forced to leave without pay because she was never given a copy of her employment contract. BTW, why was the author trying to make it sound like a sin for not allowing employees play music and get distracted while they're at work? It's manufacturing we're talking about here and that requires your absolute attention.

15. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

This article makes me reminisce my childhood and the Transformers I used to watch on Sundays.

17. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

LOL...what the f***? Are Megatron and Starscream standing over the fleshlings with guns on them for forced labor? I don't know what the f*** you're on about...

18. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Because Pegatron always sounded like a Transformer to me :P

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