Apple Supplier Catcher Accused of Endangering and Exploiting Factory Workers

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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.
    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
  2. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    DFW, TX
  3. taptic macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
  4. 0815, Sep 4, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014

    0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    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.

    Why are the not calling on the local law enforcement to enforce the law ???
  5. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    DFW, TX
    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."
  6. christarp macrumors 6502


    Oct 29, 2013
    None according to what the news will say
  7. markyr17 macrumors 65816


    Apr 8, 2010
    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.
  8. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
  9. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

    Mar 1, 2010
    As usual, Apple is expected to police the world.
  10. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    If Apple was that insignificant than no one would care...


    Why wouldn't you go after the biggest fish in the pond?
  11. Parasprite macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    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. :p
  12. darwen macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2005
    California, US
    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.
  13. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    It's all about profit with large corporations like Apple

    Don't ever get it twisted
  14. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2014
    No, just their own supply chain.
  15. DaveP macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2005
    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.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    What does that have to do with the subject?

    Why? Says who?
  17. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    The report by China Labor Watch only mentions Apple so we can only assume to the contrary that Apple is very significant in Catcher


    China Labor Watch seems to target the two largest companies: Samsung and Apple.


    The agenda is: Go after the biggest fish
  18. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Am I the only one who was confused by his headline?
  19. macs4nw, Sep 4, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014

    macs4nw macrumors 601


    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.
  20. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    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.
  21. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    Is it wrong as a rich white westerner who buys a lot of Apple's products that I couldn't care less?
  22. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    There are worse people that make fun of them.
  23. Jsameds macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2008
    It's never the biggest fish, it's always Apple.

    Every. Damn. Time.
  24. stylinexpat macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2009
  25. johnmacward macrumors regular


    Jul 12, 2011
    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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