Tim Cook Responds to Report on Working Conditions at Suppliers' Factories

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    In the wake of yesterday's report regarding treatment of workers at the facilities of Apple's suppliers, Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent an email to company employees addressing the situation. As published by 9to5Mac, the email highlights Apple's efforts to oversee compliance with company standards for workers' rights and the transparency with which it has shared that information. From Cook's opening statement:
    Cook thanks those Apple employees who are focused on these issues and notes that the company will continue to increase its efforts.
    The New York Times has also highlighted responses from a number of Chinese readers, many of whom note that the issue is certainly not exclusive to Apple and should also be being addressed by government regulations designed to protect workers. Many readers note that China's cheap labor force has enabled the country's rapid economic expansion over the last several decades and the culture is so ingrained across all industries that it will be difficult to change.

    Article Link: Tim Cook Responds to Report on Working Conditions at Suppliers' Factories
  2. macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2011
    Great attitude

    Great attitude here, Tim Cook. This is the type of CEO needed to run a company as large as Apple, someone not afraid to give his personal word: "On this, you have my word."

    so far I've been very impressed with Tim Cook's leadership
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2008
    While the working conditions aren't wonderful, and some of the blame falls on Apple as they constantly push vendors to lower prices to the slimmest margins, it's not fair that all the attention is put squarely on Apple's shoulders.

    As people who read tech forums like this one know Foxconn makes products for dozens of companies. But putting "Apple" in the headlines will get a lot more clicks than "Samsung" or "LG".
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Covering his a**. Instead of writing letters, Tim. Do something about it. Just like Steve said he'd do something about it and did absolutely nothing to stop the atrocities. It's said that all it takes is a letter to make the fanboys happy.
  5. macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2009
    Just out of curiosity, how bad is the job market in China? Is this people's only option for employment? Considering China makes... well everything, I assume there are more friendly factories they could find employment at? I'm not being sarcastic or saying this isn't a bad situation, I'm just wondering if the workers actually have options given that the conditions are as terrible as were being lead to believe.
  6. macrumors G4


    Feb 5, 2009
    I guess that tells you how much Apple can actually do.


    Right. LOL
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 3, 2010
    There is nothing in that letter that is telling that Apple aren't doing anything about it.

    To the contrary, he spells out that this is concering. Hopefully they'll see what they can do about this.
  8. macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    If Apple give away some profits

    Well, I think Apple has highest profit margin. If they are not pushing their suppliers so hard, conditions could be changed. It's time for Apple not to just consider profit.
  9. alex00100, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    hope its true... really, we are just typical consumers, we dont know much. some people say conditions are awful, some say they are not, we dont really know much about it on our own and i can only say that conditions are definitely not very good, but i can't say are they terrible, or are they good.

    after all, apple is giant corporation, and giant corporations have to say not_true sometimes to keep being giant. no matter how good (as a person) Tim Cool is, its his job to say it, he just can't say anything else, other stuff just won't let him.
  10. macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    Apple Land
    This probably won't be a popular reply, but having lived for 5 years in China for purchasing in the furniture industry, i'd like to say working conditions in China are really not that bad.

    ive seen hundreds of factories from Guangdong, to Shanghai, Wenzhou, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Ive come accross one time a case of child labour. Only once. Of course we did not cooperate with this factory and made very clear they should stop this at once.

    Working and living conditions improve every single year, and a lot has to do with the lack of workers in for ex. Guangdong province. If a worker is badly treated, they will simply pack up and go and work for a different factory. There are so many factories and they all desperately need workers to work for them. Chinese wages go up and the dormitories improve vastly.
  11. macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    Where else would one try to commit suicide if you lived and worked in Foxconn's campus environment?
  12. macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2007
    More Attention is Always Good

    While the validity of the NYT report is up for question, there's no denying that the issue has Tim's full attention, and now he's on record as giving his word.

    In the grand scheme of things, Tim handled this well, and the issue will remain front and centre.

    It's all good.
  13. macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    They are so concerned they keep dumping billions into suppliers that treat workers worst than animals and follow zero environmental guidelines. Rather than getting everything built elsewhere.

    The cost argument is bull. Somehow Intel and IBM are able to produce chips in the US for the most part. That is a much more difficult process than slapping some chips on a PCB. Intel is even producing the new FAB 42 in the US.

    I buy tires made in the US and they are usually the cheapest tires I can find yet very reliable with great traction. Most anything over $100 that is not labor intensive to build can be built close to the price of Chinese made stuff in the US and EU. Which includes all or nearly all electronics and most other stuff. There is probably 15 to 30 man minutes in computers even less in smart phones.

    It's just with the factories in China they don't have to put up with labor disputes and can treat them like scum. Plus save a few dollars on each product. Not the 300% increase everyone keeps claiming. More like 3% to 5%.
  14. macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    Apple Land
    They have a lot of options. Certain industries tend to live to each other. Some areas have for ex. electronics companies, other areas have shoe factories, etc. If a worker wants to change work, they simply go to the factory next door (or futher down the street) to change.

    Most factories put a sign outdoor with the workers and type of jobs they are looking for.

    When they have a free day, they can simply explore the job possibilities. They are not stuck in one factory.

    having said this and the above, don't get me wrong . Life in China is hard. Wages are not high, but their real challenge is often high inflation and rising food cost.

    Edit : I have personally loaded many 40 HC containers with Chinese workers. They always act surprised when a loawais (foreigner) works manual labour with them. Many of them are great guys who work hard and like a laugh.
  15. macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    I stopped reading when I reached this part:

    By being defensive and refusing to acknowledge any of the valid points raised by the NYT, he is showing that he doesn't really give a crap. Most likely, Apple's PR department wrote this letter for him and he slapped his signature on it and called it a day to fend off the wolves. And after last quarter's fantastic financial results, who expects him to?
  16. macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2010
    So, he responds with denial. "That's not who we are." Don't forget, Tim Cook was one of the main architects of moving all of Apple's manufacturing from the U.S. to China back in 2002. He is undoubtedly more ruthless, and apparently more dishonest, than Steve Jobs himself.

    Signed, the sad owner of a Macbook Pro, an iPad, and an iPod touch.
  17. macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008
    We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain.


    Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern.


    Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us.


    You're telling me Apple cares about the tens of thousands of people in its supply chain? So if Jim falls down and breaks his leg at the factory, Apple steps in and helps out?! Or if Bob quits because he has terminal Cancer, Apple steps in to help out?! Or if Julie's "working condition" where she is annoyed that she has to work for minimum wage or fewer breaks, Apple steps in on a white horse and saves the day?!

    All bull.

    Companies like Apple are FAR REMOVED from the every day life of employees in the supply chain. The only time Apple (or other companies) will do something is if there is a major accident (like the explosion last year) which leads to huge media coverage....or if the media finds working conditions atrocious (like in the 80's and 90's with children making clothes). And why does Apple make noise now?...because of all the bad PR that's been in the news the past few months about Apple's supply chain outside the USA. If it wasn't in the news, Tim and Apple wouldn't say a bleeping peep about the problems.

    If Apple truly cares so much about the tens of thousands of employees in the supply chain, Apple would OWN the supply chain OR do the manufacturing 100% in the USA where there are child labor laws, and working condition laws, and equal pay laws, and laws regarding hours worked, etc. When Apple (and others) choose to manufacture outside the USA (typically for price reasons), Apple really has no voice to tell those governments "blah blah blah about working conditions" because it's not your country Apple...just like folks in Thailand can't complain to the US government that USA employee benefits are too good. Yes, Apple can voice their opinion to the companies...but that's it. If Apple can persuade the companies to change their COMPANY POLICIES as well as sway them to push THEIR GOVERNMENT for updated laws, great.
  18. macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    This will all be over soon. West is looking at Africa as the new China nowadays, because Africans work for even lower wages than China.
  19. macrumors regular

    May 17, 2009
    Africa has a long way to go until it becomes a center for manufacturing. The legal environment is awful (some tax codes date back to colonial times), most countries there exhibit some form of political instability (with the exceptions of states like Ghana, Botswana, and perhaps Zambia), and infrastructure is poor (very few paved roads).

    I think I will die before I see an iPad made in Africa.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2010
    Fair Labor Association

    Did we all forget the story from a couple of weeks ago when it was reported that Apple has joined the Fair Labor Association? They are the FIRST technology company to join and have given their list of suppliers to the Fair Labor Association for independent auditing.

    I don't think Apple's perfect by any means, but at least give some credit where it is do.
  21. macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    Apple Land
    They really won't. China has supply of raw materials, great infrastructure, stable legal framework, flexible workforce, huge ports for shipping, reasonable reliable supply of electricity, etc.

    If they wanted only cheaper labour, they would go to Vietnam.
  22. Guest


    May 13, 2010
    On Mars, thinking about my father...
    "If we meant business, core violations would disappear."

    Sorry Tim, its still true
  23. macrumors G4

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Says the guy that understands neither and in a couple of sentences unwittingly diminishes both situations.

    I know you will disagree, so please support your statement and tell me where any Apple supplier is on par with anything happening in Darfur. The Darfur war, to date has led to the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, women raped, small children intentionally starved, family pushed out of their homes.
  24. HobeSoundDarryl, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012

    macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Take 6 months and go over there and get a job. See for yourself. We take so many things for granted here. It's hard for us to even imagine genuinely unsafe working environments, ready exposure to toxins (and no one in management caring), etc. For every story about toxic lead paint on a kids toy driving a recall, there are abundant numbers of Chinese people applying that paint (being exposed to that danger) every day. For every story about toxic drywall lawsuits, there are abundant numbers of Chinese making that drywall every day. We even find it hard to imagine working 12-16+ hour days for relatively nothing. If an American factory suffers an explosion, those that survive are probably going to get a life-changing amount of cash. When Chinese factories blow up, you never hear about survivor's getting a big fat settlement. In America, we generally assume surviving a negligent, unsafe working environment accident is a ticket to a fat settlement. I bet no one assumes that in China.

    So many unemployed people in this country. You're right: China does make just about everything. It seems the simple answer to our unemployment issues is to go there and apply for those jobs. Why don't we? Why isn't there a mass exodus of Americans to China in search of jobs? Certainly, going where the jobs are is not an unknown or completely original concept. There's reasons most don't go.

    If someone doesn't want to actually go try it, take a little vacation over there. See the tourist sites but try to take at least or day or two to delve off of the tourist-recommended paths to get a much better picture of what life is really like there. Even the simplest of things like clean restrooms, safe water, even electricity can be an issue off the beaten path. Spoiled by only knowing the standards of America makes one assume many of our standards exist everywhere. They do not.

    Look no further than the forever flow of peoples from all over the world trying to get into America- even during this recession/depression- vs. the trickle flow of Americans trying to get out. For my lifetime, it's always been an almost entirely one-way flow. If things are almost as good elsewhere AND the jobs are elsewhere, why do they keep coming here? And why aren't many of "us" desperately trying to go there?
  25. macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2010
    London (UK)

    What about clothes on your back were they american made. i can assure you not all of it was but instead was made in probably india by a six year old. but you still bought it.

    and people bashing apple, they have confirmed they are pushing and pushing for stricter audits. but why aren't you blaming the chinese government it is them for not putting in legislation on working conditions, health and Safety protocols. laws on working conditions.

    but its easy for you to blame apple right?

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