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Old Sep 4, 2014, 01:17 PM   #1
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Apple Supplier Catcher Accused of Endangering and Exploiting Factory Workers




One of Apple's suppliers is once again being accused of labor violations, with both Green America and China Labor Watch claiming a Catcher factory in Suqian, China has endangered the health and safety of its workers. Catcher is responsible for producing casings for many of Apple's products, including its MacBooks and iPads.

According to the report [PDF], Catcher has failed to provide adequate protective equipment for employees who handle toxic materials. The floor is said to be littered with aluminum-magnesium alloy shreddings and there are heavy amounts of dust in the air, which poses a health and fire safety risk. There are also locked safety exits preventing workers from leaving quickly during a disaster.

Fires and explosions are a major risk at supplier factories, and explosions at both Pegatron and Foxconn have caused major injuries in the past. At Catcher, workers have reportedly not participated in fire drills and have had poor safety training.

Other violations include student workers working long hours, excessive hours for all workers, forced overtime, and unpaid overtime for workers. Catcher is also said to be discriminating against potential employees based on age and the presence of tattoos.
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"The health and safety violations found in this factory two years in a row are startling," said Elizabeth O'Connell, campaigns director at Green America. "The lack of fire drill training and locked safety exits are inexcusable in a work environment that requires the handling of flammable materials. Additionally, the lack of safety training in this facility and improper handling of hazardous materials contributes to the risk of life-threatening emergencies."
China Labor Watch initially reported its findings to Apple in 2013, and claims that though Apple promised to fix the issues, no progress has been made to improve worker conditions. Today's report calls on Apple to "do what is necessary" to ensure that factory workers are treated according to the law, and it asks consumers to reach out to Apple by filling out an email form. Apple, for its part, has given a statement to The New York Times saying that it has worked to correct issues at Catcher.
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Apple said its most recent annual audit of the Suqian plant, in May, had "found some concrete areas for improvement in Catcher's operations, and we worked with Catcher to develop a corrective action plan."
Apple often finds itself in the spotlight over the conditions at the factories where its product components are produced, and the company has demonstrated little tolerance for factories that violated its rules. It is an ongoing issue for Apple, however, given both the sheer number of suppliers and the fact that factories benefit from producing high quantities of products at low costs.

Apple has committed to ensuring that its suppliers live up to a strict code of conduct that prevents underage labor and provides safe, comfortable working and living conditions for workers. Apple maintains a Supplier Responsibility Team to audit supply chain facilities and it also participates in factory assessments by the Fair Labor Association.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Supplier Catcher Accused of Endangering and Exploiting Factory Workers
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 01:22 PM   #2
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What other companies use this supplier?
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 01:27 PM   #3
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 01:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Drumjim85 View Post
What other companies use this supplier?
Problem is that the headline only a headline if it has Apple in it ... gets just more clicks that way.

Too bad that the press otherwise rarely cares .... Even if Apple would only use 1% of the suppliers capacity and others use more, it would still be Apple being mentioned in the headline.

Don't get me wrong - it is great that there are reports about it and gets some attention, but a honest full list of companies using suppliers would also be appreciated.

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Today's report calls on Apple to "do what is necessary" to ensure that factory workers are treated according to the law
Why are the not calling on the local law enforcement to enforce the law ???
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 01:49 PM   #5
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An article from 2011 <link>

"Catcher's client list now reads like a Who's Who of top-shelf international brands, including Apple, HTC, Hewlett-Packard and Dell."
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 01:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Drumjim85 View Post
What other companies use this supplier?
None according to what the news will say
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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None according to what the news will say
Exactly right. This happens all over in China, yet because it's Apple, people go crazy. However, I would like to see Apple do what they can to help.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:18 PM   #8
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http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/

Interesting website. Looks like child labor is used in Samsung Factories?
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:26 PM   #9
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As usual, Apple is expected to police the world.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 0815 View Post
Even if Apple would only use 1% of the suppliers capacity and others use more, it would still be Apple being mentioned in the headline.
If Apple was that insignificant than no one would care...

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Why wouldn't you go after the biggest fish in the pond?
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Drumjim85 View Post
What other companies use this supplier?
I can't find any primary sources, but according to their website they are based in Taiwan. I think this may obfuscate things a bit but it won't be impossible.

I'd normally wonder if there was any photos floating around on that website that might have given us clues to the next iPhone, but I don't think there are any parts left that haven't been leaked already.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:57 PM   #12
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It seems pointless to argue that other companies are doing it too, so therefore it is okay. I'd be far more interested in data on turnover rates, and applicant acceptance rates. I would assume that the conditions are misrepresented if people are applying for these jobs in droves, and employees are not quitting.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 02:57 PM   #13
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It's all about profit with large corporations like Apple

Don't ever get it twisted
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 04:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by linuxcooldude View Post
As usual, Apple is expected to police the world.
No, just their own supply chain.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 04:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by aerok View Post
If Apple was that insignificant than no one would care...

----------

Why wouldn't you go after the biggest fish in the pond?
You seem to be missing point. It's not that Apple is insignificant in the industry or overall, but rather that Apple may be insignificant in that individual factory.

I think most open-minded folks can see that Apple is not alone in this problem and at least tries very hard to deal with it. If you are condemning Apple for this type of thing you likely have an existing agenda.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 04:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Aluminum213 View Post
It's all about profit with large corporations like Apple

Don't ever get it twisted
What does that have to do with the subject?

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Originally Posted by octothorpe8 View Post
No, just their own supply chain.
Why? Says who?
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 04:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveP View Post
Apple may be insignificant in that individual factory.
The report by China Labor Watch only mentions Apple so we can only assume to the contrary that Apple is very significant in Catcher

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by obeygiant View Post
http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/

Interesting website. Looks like child labor is used in Samsung Factories?
China Labor Watch seems to target the two largest companies: Samsung and Apple.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveP View Post
If you are condemning Apple for this type of thing you likely have an existing agenda.
The agenda is: Go after the biggest fish
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 05:54 PM   #18
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Am I the only one who was confused by his headline?
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 06:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by linuxcooldude View Post
As usual, Apple is expected to police the world.
Regrettably (for Apple) so; They're an easy target, because they have so much more to lose from bad publicity, and the 'social engineers' or the 'social conscience" of our society, whose intentions are noble btw, know this, and have Apple in their cross hairs continually.

All companies using Chinese labor should be held to the same standard of course, and be expected to do their part in preventing or eliminating flagrant violations, at least during the production of their devices.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 06:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by markyr17 View Post
Exactly right. This happens all over in China, yet because it's Apple, people go crazy.
It's fine with me if people go crazy and name Apple. That's because it brings attention to the problem that simply wouldn't occur by naming other customers of that supplier.

And even if Apple represents a small percentage of the supplier's business, Apple is likely to speak out about the issue once it's in the public eye, putting more pressure on the supplier than lesser-known companies could create.
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 08:34 PM   #21
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Is it wrong as a rich white westerner who buys a lot of Apple's products that I couldn't care less?
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Old Sep 4, 2014, 08:37 PM   #22
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Is it wrong as a rich white westerner who buys a lot of Apple's products that I couldn't care less?
There are worse people that make fun of them.
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Old Sep 5, 2014, 03:50 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by aerok View Post
If Apple was that insignificant than no one would care...

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Why wouldn't you go after the biggest fish in the pond?
It's never the biggest fish, it's always Apple.

Every. Damn. Time.
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Old Sep 5, 2014, 04:02 AM   #24
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Catcher stock over the last year has pretty much doubled here in Taiwan

http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/2474:TT
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Old Sep 5, 2014, 06:04 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Aluminum213 View Post
It's all about profit with large corporations like Apple

Don't ever get it twisted
That's across the board, corporations objective equals profit for shareholders. It would be the same for Samsung, Nokia, HTC the list goes on... With Apple it's particularly true as their margins are known to be so high.

Capitalism is a horrible system. I'll be raped for that in these forums however the fact is clear. WE in the West have it relatively cushy because we've fought for so long to make capitalism more comfortable for us - thank you unions of old, not the newer ones that are so closely linked to the system. However with recessions, dips etc. capitalism can take it back at any stage.

Because competition is so harsh in this sector somebody has got to suffer, and it's these workers - they're the pressure point. When you're phone price goes down or someone else comes into the market to compete, these poor bastards are told to work harder for less money and more hours. Remember what you're holding has Chinese blood and sweat gone into it - literally what's in your hand.

"The dignity of labour never rang true to me" - Chumbawamba
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