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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:45 AM   #1
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Apple Now Tracking Working Hours for Over One Million Supply Chain Employees




Apple has updated its supplier responsibility pages to note that it is now tracking working hours for one million employees in its supply chain, up from 900,000 at its previous update.

Compliance with Apple's 60-hour work week standard stood at 88% in November, below the peak of 97% reached in July and August. Apple notes, however, that it allows the normal 60-hour standard to be exceeded during period of high demand if workers volunteer for the additional time. That policy seems to have had an impact on overall compliance over the past three months, coinciding with Apple's major product ramps for the iPhone 5, iPad mini, fourth-generation iPad, updated iPods, and a number of new Mac models.
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Going deep into our supply chain, we now follow weekly supplier data for over 1,000,000 workers. In November 88 percent of workweeks were less than the 60-hour maximum specified in Apple's code of conduct. In limited peak periods, we allow work beyond the 60 hour limit for those employees that volunteer to do so.
Apple reports that with one million supply chain workers now being tracked through the system, the company has doubled its coverage since early this year when it began a new initiative to more openly address worker rights and safety throughout its supply chain. Apple has also partnered with the Fair Labor Association to provide third-party monitoring of conditions.

Article Link: Apple Now Tracking Working Hours for Over One Million Supply Chain Employees
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:48 AM   #2
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Yet somehow, activists will still complain.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:50 AM   #3
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Mods may want to make this PRSI-only. I could tell this kind of article has a high probability of heated discussion.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:54 AM   #4
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60 hours of course is still a lot more than is standard in the USA and Europe. In the latter, we'd see 40 +/- 5 hour weeks as a standard - although of course the con that is unpaid overtime for salaried workers masks the actual worked hours - but you need to sign a form if you regularly work an average of 48 hours a week or more.

I'd love to see the 48 hour week stats as well as the 60 hour week stats.

Otherwise, why not just declare a 100% conformance with a "90 hour week standard".

Of course, as a developing industrial country, long work hours are normal. And many sites provide accommodation, so that's a commute saved too.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:57 AM   #5
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I maxed out at 120 hours in one week at the hospital during residency, where it was illegal to go over 80 hours. The tracking is a step in the right direction, but it's only as good as the reported data it's based on.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:39 PM   #6
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I maxed out at 120 hours in one week at the hospital during residency, where it was illegal to go over 80 hours. The tracking is a step in the right direction, but it's only as good as the reported data it's based on.
where/what did you do residency in?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:50 PM   #7
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where/what did you do residency in?
Probably at Fullovshet General Hospital for cranial lobotomy internship.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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where/what did you do residency in?
Family Practice in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:59 AM   #9
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... And many sites provide accommodation, so that's a commute saved too.
And Foxconn even wraps their facilities with hammocks so that you can take a break out the window!
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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60 hours of course is still a lot more than is standard in the USA and Europe.
Don't forget that large numbers of these workers are migrant workers, far away from their homes. If you talk to them, they would want to work more hours each day, make a bit more money, and take longer vacations at the end of year to visit their families.

This behavior is standard of all migrant workers across the world. Even in US, many off-site consultants work 10 Hr weekdays, and have a 3 day weekend (I know it still adds up to 40 hrs, but this is just to explain the reasoning behind a migrant worker thought process).
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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This is complete ********. The U.S. government should check the hours of foreign contractors if its that concerned not Apple
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:38 PM   #12
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I'm pleased that Apple addresses the topic of supplier responsibility but I don't expect the system to be perfect. For example, the exception for workers who "volunteer for the additional time" is hard to monitor. How do you know if workers are subtly or blatantly coerced into "volunteering"? There's a limit to how much can be monitored accurately, but the more eyes there are on the problem the harder it will be for violations to stay hidden.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:50 PM   #13
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This whole scandal has given Apple the ability to disguise their need of a thorough analysis of their suppliers' actual productivity to get enough information as leverage for negotiations.

As an example, let's say that Foxconn reveals to Apple that they need to charge extra labor time within 2 weeks to produce 500,000 units of part X for the iPhone (just a scenario, not actual info.) And in reality, the don't need to charge extra time, and/or they do not pay the complete extra time to their workers.

Apple does not care if the worker gets paid their complete money, and this does not indicate that Apple is pure evil... is just that Apple does not want to be charged more money than they should pay. Apple must already have personnel at Foxconn that audits to some degree this, but they cannot get really inside of their finances to detect small nuances that in mass production makes the producer save money and keep it under the water without telling the client (Apple) that they have such savings.

Now, the way public relationists are handling this... well, let's just say it's lack of ethics to hide something like this under the "we care about workers" flag.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hattig View Post
60 hours of course is still a lot more than is standard in the USA and Europe. In the latter, we'd see 40 +/- 5 hour weeks as a standard - although of course the con that is unpaid overtime for salaried workers masks the actual worked hours - but you need to sign a form if you regularly work an average of 48 hours a week or more.
Standard? Among some office workers. A lot of people work multiple jobs and the total is more like 60 to 90 hours a week. Don't interfere with people's right to work. If they want to work 60 hours then more power to them. I work far more than that as does everyone in our family. Just because you don't want to work don't try to force your values on other people.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:04 PM   #15
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Standard? Among some office workers. A lot of people work multiple jobs and the total is more like 60 to 90 hours a week. Don't interfere with people's right to work. If they want to work 60 hours then more power to them. I work far more than that as does everyone in our family. Just because you don't want to work don't try to force your values on other people.
Who is interfering with your right to work or forcing their values on you? 40 hours a week, while not necessarily the average, is considered a standard work week. Many work more, and many work less. To each his own.

On topic, kudos to Apple for trying to track this information. How accurately the suppliers are reporting the information is a completely different story.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:31 PM   #16
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I work well more than 40 hours a week; I must not know what I'm doing. Who's gonna graph my work and see if I'm being taken advantage of?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Hattig View Post
60 hours of course is still a lot more than is standard in the USA and Europe. In the latter, we'd see 40 +/- 5 hour weeks as a standard - although of course the con that is unpaid overtime for salaried workers masks the actual worked hours - but you need to sign a form if you regularly work an average of 48 hours a week or more.

I'd love to see the 48 hour week stats as well as the 60 hour week stats.

Otherwise, why not just declare a 100% conformance with a "90 hour week standard".

Of course, as a developing industrial country, long work hours are normal. And many sites provide accommodation, so that's a commute saved too.
While I am not sure I am comfortable with the state of affairs, almost everyone I know here in the states works 60 hour weeks. Most companies mandate a minimum of 50, average of 60 with the occasional 80 being required.

Again, not to say I agree with it, but I would be careful about acting like 40 hour work weeks are anything but a distant memory to most in the US.

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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:25 PM   #18
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While I am not sure I am comfortable with the state of affairs, almost everyone I know here in the states works 60 hour weeks. Most companies mandate a minimum of 50, average of 60 with the occasional 80 being required.

Again, not to say I agree with it, but I would be careful about acting like 40 hour work weeks are anything but a distant memory to most in the US.

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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:00 PM   #19
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Mods may want to make this PRSI-only. I could tell this kind of article has a high probability of heated discussion.




yup ! the comparison to Walmart will run rampant !
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:18 PM   #20
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Interesting to see that Apple would assume a 60 hour standard. I know that this is much higher than the United States and European Nations, but I am not aware what social norms are for the East Asian countries. Do these countries typically see workers in this many hours?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:21 PM   #21
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Another positive effort from the
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 12:14 PM   #22
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Yet somehow, activists will still complain.
thats why they say its lonely at the top
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 02:55 PM   #23
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Yet somehow, activists will still complain.
True, as throwing a name like Apple around will attract more attention to your cause.

But the bigger problem is the press, that has and does exalt everything Apple does or fails to do. That's the price of success, I suppose. But it comes at a more sinister cost.

The mainstream media more or less ignores Apple's less attention-grabbing competitors. For example, independent investigators discovered Samsung's suppliers using child labor, among some other egregious abuses. There was a blog entry all the Wall Street Journal, an article on Bloomberg, and some coverage from the tech blogs. Nothing on a front page like we would get if Apple was involved. Nothing that creates the kind of outrage Apple generated that forced them to change meaningfully.

Reacting to the media generated outrage, Apple joined a respected, independent body to investigate supplier labor practices (months later they are still the only technology company working with the FLA). They have faced their labor inadequacies head on, and yes, are still far from perfect. Meanwhile, Samsung outright denies the charges from CLW's independent investigation and surprisingly doesn't seem keen to copy Apple by using an independent organization to complete audits of their suppliers. Instead Samsung seems keen to continue with their likely inadequate "internal" investigations.

All the while the mainstream press is giving Samsung, and others a pass. Apple only involved the FLA because of the media's outrage and because the question of their labor practices was hurting their image.

But how can we expect labor rights to improve overseas when we only hold one company's feet to the fire? Where's the outrage against Samsung? Or other companies whom CLW and other organizations expose?

That is the real cost of the mainstream media's failure to report. But when they are beholden to the almighty dollar above all else, of course you'll report only on the brand that generates the most attention.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 03:24 PM   #24
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seems strange that they won't let people work more than 60 hours if they choose to do so, unless it's a peak time. if free market was allowed to work, then wages would adjust themselves to provide incentives for people to voluntarily work 60+ hours. isnt it?
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 06:08 PM   #25
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seems strange that they won't let people work more than 60 hours if they choose to do so, unless it's a peak time. if free market was allowed to work, then wages would adjust themselves to provide incentives for people to voluntarily work 60+ hours. isnt it?
To let people work more than 60 hours a week, an employer would have to be unscrupulous and remarkably stupid. Why stupid? Because there has been study after study, with the first study that I know of in the 1940's, showing that long working hours are not productive.

In software development, for example, it has been shown that a developer working 40 hours a week for 6 weeks, and a developer working 60 hours a week for 6 weeks, have the same productivity. Which means the amount of useful work produced in the extra 120 hours is exactly ZERO. The difference is that after these 6 weeks, you have one employee who is happy and fresh and can continue to be productive, and another employee who is unhappy and tired and whose productivity is now going to drop, no matter what you do.

The first study that I heard of was about weapons production in war time Britain, where it was shown that people working 57 hours a week did less work, not less work per hour but less work per week, than other people doing the same job for 48 hours per week.
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