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Old May 21, 2014, 09:45 AM   #1
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Apple Among Highest-Ranking Brands in Latest Workers' Rights Report




International aid organization Baptist World Aid Australia released its Electronics Industry Trends report that examines working conditions for employees throughout the technology supply and manufacturing chain (via ZDNet). Apple was one of the highest-ranking brands in the report, which includes suppliers in all facets of the supply chain starting with mineral extraction and extending to the end stage of product assembly.

According to the report, Apple scored a B+, placing it just below Nokia, which was the leader with a B+ score on the basis of being able to prove it was paying workers a living wage. Paying a living wage was a key metric, with most of the surveyed companies (97 percent) not able to confirm they were paying workers at a rate that would meet their basic needs for food, water and shelter.
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"Apple's inclusion in the top tier may come as a surprise given the public attention it has received for poor working conditions and child labour at Chinese suppliers like Foxconn and Pegatron. In fact, Apple itself reported finding eight facilities using child labour in 2014," said the report.
Apple has made significant progress in addressing poor working conditions in supplier factories, following several high-profile reports of labor violations at manufacturers such as Pegatron and Foxconn. Apple now routinely audits supplier factories and documents working conditions in a yearly report published on the company's Supplier Responsibility section of its website.

Apple has pledged to prevent excessive work hours, unethical hiring policies, and the hiring of underage workers at the factories that supply Apple with parts. The company takes this commitment seriously, dropping suppliers when they are found to be violating its Supplier Code of Conduct.

Article Link: Apple Among Highest-Ranking Brands in Latest Workers' Rights Report
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Old May 21, 2014, 09:48 AM   #2
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Not surprising. All the attention Apple gets has forced improved working conditions.

A good development for all involved.
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Old May 21, 2014, 10:02 AM   #3
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This is positive news indeed. As this continues, it will probably increase labor cost (and hopefully labor salaries). Not only is this good for the labor force in other countries. It should also make the US labor force more competitive.
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Old May 21, 2014, 10:12 AM   #4
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It should also make the US labor force more competitive.
With no insult intended towards the US, the ridiculous leadtime on the Mac Pro helps me to believe this won't happen for a long time.
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Old May 21, 2014, 10:42 AM   #5
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Apple can't prove that the workers in its production chain get a living wage (have enough money for food, water, and housing), but they still get a B+? Talk about grading on a curve...

I think that's sad. I know Apple and others are working to improve conditions, but if only one company (Nokia) can show that the workers making their products can actually make a living, then change is not happening quickly enough.
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Old May 21, 2014, 11:08 AM   #6
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Why do we never hear about the working conditions for Samsung laborers ?
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Old May 21, 2014, 11:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by autrefois View Post
Apple can't prove that the workers in its production chain get a living wage (have enough money for food, water, and housing), but they still get a B+? Talk about grading on a curve...

I think that's sad. I know Apple and others are working to improve conditions, but if only one company (Nokia) can show that the workers making their products can actually make a living, then change is not happening quickly enough.
You don't know what you are talking about. I've seen and been part of China sourcing for 10+ years and believe me top tier firm like Apple/Foxconn is so much better than the typical small factories around the rest of China. Why do you suppose there are always thousands (tens of thousand) of people linking up for job interview at those factories? Someone put a gun to their head?

You have no ideas what the real world is like and how bad it is down on the farm or where they come from. Typical first world citizen seeing the world with their own lens.
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Old May 21, 2014, 11:22 AM   #8
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Why do we never hear about the working conditions for Samsung laborers ?
As far as I'm aware, Apple use Samsung labourers for some parts.
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Old May 21, 2014, 11:32 AM   #9
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Does this mean they can finally cut the suicide nets down?
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Old May 21, 2014, 11:53 AM   #10
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Does this mean they can finally cut the suicide nets down?
You need to do some research. Foxconn workers live in dorms where they work. So they live and work in one location. Sometimes people have problems and kill themselves. Usually they do it at home. If you look at the suicide rate for people in China and the suicide rate for people working at Foxconn you'll find the rate much lower than the general population. But that story doesn't sell newspapers (or get click-throughs). This was reporting bias at it's finest.
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Old May 21, 2014, 12:04 PM   #11
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As far as I'm aware, Apple use Samsung labourers for some parts.
Then why is Apple always in the news about labor practices and never anything about Samsung ?
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Old May 21, 2014, 12:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Will do good View Post
You don't know what you are talking about. I've seen and been part of China sourcing for 10+ years and believe me top tier firm like Apple/Foxconn is so much better than the typical small factories around the rest of China. Why do you suppose there are always thousands (tens of thousand) of people linking up for job interview at those factories? Someone put a gun to their head?

You have no ideas what the real world is like and how bad it is down on the farm or where they come from. Typical first world citizen seeing the world with their own lens.
Please re-read my post. The report says they're not making a living wage. I think it would be good for everyone to make a living wage. You don't?

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Old May 21, 2014, 12:56 PM   #13
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Please re-read my post. The report says they're not making a living wage. I think it would be good for everyone to make a living wage. You don't?
No, it does not say they are not making a living wage. Please re-read the article. It says Nokia was the only company that provided a definitive demonstration that they were paying a living wage. Just because something is not demonstrated, doesn't mean it isn't true.
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Old May 21, 2014, 01:19 PM   #14
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Apple's fault?

I don't necessarily see this as Apple's fault. It seems like they're doing something with the annual report and taking the initiative and commitment to make sure working conditions are at standard and pay rate as well. I think it definitely has to do more with the factory itself and probably even the Chinese government. Who's to blame? It's such a big production and such a huge country.
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Old May 21, 2014, 01:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Will do good View Post
You don't know what you are talking about. I've seen and been part of China sourcing for 10+ years and believe me top tier firm like Apple/Foxconn is so much better than the typical small factories around the rest of China. Why do you suppose there are always thousands (tens of thousand) of people linking up for job interview at those factories? Someone put a gun to their head?

You have no ideas what the real world is like and how bad it is down on the farm or where they come from. Typical first world citizen seeing the world with their own lens.
It's horrendous, I know. My question: what is the baseline for these ratings? If the baseline are factories with horrific conditions, then isn't that measure relatively low to start? Using a low bar to justify that other factories are following protocol and doing well doesn't state much about the overall working conditions in China. Certainly it's better, but does that truly mean it's acceptable? Perhaps China and the companies that do business with many plants in Asia, need to raise the bar before making claims to improvements (not just Apple, everyone).

I'm also interested to know if these companies are aware of evaluations ahead of time. Certainly the employees don't want to lose their jobs, so they'll play nice for the camera's and say what they believe they should in order to keep their employment. I'm interested to know what goes on behind the scenes; their living conditions next to the factories (of which have not been addressed to my knowledge), health and healthcare, statistical analysis especially regarding their hourly wages and the cost of living (housing, food, healthcare), etc.

These ratings can be based on anything without proper unannounced objective evaluations, of the factory and living quarters. If we want to improve conditions, we need to raise the bar used to judge the acceptability of such conditions. Otherwise, these evaluations mean nothing without proper analysis, statistical data on wages, cost of living, life expectancy/health of workers, pollution in working conditions, etc. It's not enough to state, "Well, it's better than x." If civil rights movements used such reasoning, we wouldn't be better off than we were before.
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Old May 21, 2014, 02:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Plutonius View Post
Then why is Apple always in the news about labor practices and never anything about Samsung ?

Look, it's only as far as I'm aware. Samsung do manufacture a lot of screens for Apple, so it's logical to assume Samsung are involved.

I could be wrong.
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Old May 21, 2014, 03:34 PM   #17
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With no insult intended towards the US, the ridiculous leadtime on the Mac Pro helps me to believe this won't happen for a long time.
The long lead times for th first Mac Pros were not because of any mistakes. I think what Apple did was to size the factory based on the long term depend for Mac Pros. Lets say that is 1,000 per week. But when they were first announced they got 10,000 orders per week. This will not continue.

So what should Apple have done? Hire lots of extra stall and then fire then after four months? They might have done that but what to do with al the extra factory space.? No, they just lived with a temporary shortage.
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Old May 21, 2014, 03:45 PM   #18
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It's horrendous, I know. My question: what is the baseline for these ratings? If the baseline are factories with horrific conditions, then isn't that measure relatively low to start?...
The baseline for many of the workers is their last job. Likely it was subsistence farming, making what they hoped was enough to eat, working 7 days a week outdoors in all weather, living with no electrical power or running water.

This was the case in China not long ago. ANY factory job as so much better than what they had at home. But now they are used to the factory job. So new factories are compared to old ones and slowly the standards are going up.

100 years ago a factory worker in the US would be fired for an on the job injury. The bos would say "I hired you when you had both hands. I don't need a one handed worker, go home, don't come back." But slowly we raised the standards here.

Eventually those factory jobs turn into engineering, marketing and service jobs just like what happened in the US. I think a slow progression in inevitable and can't happen overnight.
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Old May 21, 2014, 04:41 PM   #19
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Look, it's only as far as I'm aware. Samsung do manufacture a lot of screens for Apple, so it's logical to assume Samsung are involved.

I could be wrong.
I was actually wondering why we never hear about any manufacturing issues with Samsung as far as the Samsung phones that are produced. Do they not have the same issues as Apple as far as workplace hours, safety, and living wage ? If so, why is Apple always singled out ?
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Old May 21, 2014, 05:41 PM   #20
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The baseline for many of the workers is their last job. Likely it was subsistence farming, making what they hoped was enough to eat, working 7 days a week outdoors in all weather, living with no electrical power or running water.

This was the case in China not long ago. ANY factory job as so much better than what they had at home. But now they are used to the factory job. So new factories are compared to old ones and slowly the standards are going up.

100 years ago a factory worker in the US would be fired for an on the job injury. The bos would say "I hired you when you had both hands. I don't need a one handed worker, go home, don't come back." But slowly we raised the standards here.

Eventually those factory jobs turn into engineering, marketing and service jobs just like what happened in the US. I think a slow progression in inevitable and can't happen overnight.
It's insane to think that any country can simply skip over industrialization and go from an agricultural economy to a service economy. Conditions in China are exactly how they were not so long ago in every modern western country. These unskilled, uneducated laborers working in Chinese factories may not have the best jobs in the world, but their children will have better jobs, and their grandchildren will have even better jobs. These factory workers know this, and it's why they're so eager for these factory jobs.

What's the alternative? Give them no jobs at all, and their families starve. The argument you hear is "just pay them all more" but where does that money come from? The only reason those jobs are there is because people won't buy products that cost more. If wages and worker conditions were the same everywhere, then every product would be built locally. There aren't enough people in China with enough money to support the number of workers in these factories. No matter how you look at it, there is no solution that results in higher pay for Chinese labor, other than letting natural market forces take their course.

We already know how the story ends. You think China doesn't want to be like the US, Germany, or England? They're undergoing the same process that those countries had to, and ultimately China will end up in the same place. Why anyone would want to disrupt or delay that process is beyond me.
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Old May 21, 2014, 05:55 PM   #21
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Why do we never hear about the working conditions for Samsung laborers ?
5 comments in and Samsung gets a namecheck? Is this a record?. Obsessed much?..
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Old May 21, 2014, 10:08 PM   #22
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5 comments in and Samsung gets a namecheck? Is this a record?. Obsessed much?..
Not at all. All we hear in the news is that Apple's factories are terrible to workers. Can you give me one example where another vendor like Samsung was mentioned ?
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Old May 22, 2014, 03:20 AM   #23
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It's insane to think that any country can simply skip over industrialization and go from an agricultural economy to a service economy. Conditions in China are exactly how they were not so long ago in every modern western country. These unskilled, uneducated laborers working in Chinese factories may not have the best jobs in the world, but their children will have better jobs, and their grandchildren will have even better jobs. These factory workers know this, and it's why they're so eager for these factory jobs.

What's the alternative? Give them no jobs at all, and their families starve. The argument you hear is "just pay them all more" but where does that money come from? The only reason those jobs are there is because people won't buy products that cost more. If wages and worker conditions were the same everywhere, then every product would be built locally. There aren't enough people in China with enough money to support the number of workers in these factories. No matter how you look at it, there is no solution that results in higher pay for Chinese labor, other than letting natural market forces take their course.

We already know how the story ends. You think China doesn't want to be like the US, Germany, or England? They're undergoing the same process that those countries had to, and ultimately China will end up in the same place. Why anyone would want to disrupt or delay that process is beyond me.
So true. Additionally, of course most reasonable-minded people wouldn't want to deny the Chinese people the opportunity to enjoy the same standard of living as we do, however this is a process that has to run it's natural course, and that can not be rushed by western 'meddling'. Apple has done, and is continuing to do, the best they can hope to achieve as outsiders, ie severely curtail child labor (there's no proof that it's 100% gone), and prevent the most glaring of abuses to happen under their noses, so to speak.

Wholesale change will come, but not overnight, and it's the Chinese government that will have to be instrumental in the process of achieving a fair standard of living, and reasonable working conditions for their citizens.

I strongly suspect that our 'feel good' and well-meaning, but misguided interference in their domestic affairs is most unwelcome.
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Old May 22, 2014, 06:52 AM   #24
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I call it the Nike Effect. The companies that get **** for this stuff are always the first to clean up their act, eventually becoming some of the better brands out there.
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Old May 22, 2014, 10:55 AM   #25
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I strongly suspect that our 'feel good' and well-meaning, but misguided interference in their domestic affairs is most unwelcome.
Well we heard it from the workers themselves, when their hours were curtailed. They weren't being allowed to work as much as they wanted to.
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