Apple Sweatshop Labor

malman89

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
Not surprised to not see a story on the main page about the slave labor tactics exhibited in Apple's Chinese suppliers. Not our problem or not our concern?

A Google search brings up a variety of articles, but as someone who doesn't own a TV (and ignores broadcast journalism even if I did), I doubt the TV news has ignored it, The Daily Show gives coverage to the essentially slave labor tactics utilized against Foxconn employees in China that have been so publicly protested against US companies in Mexico employing the same tactics, but they don't make as important products as iPhones and iPads, so who cares?

Where's the outcry of the public? Or who cares as long as their iPads are shiny and perfect and don't increase in price?

Edit: Even 9to5mac.com has their own unbiased coverage.
 

Caliber26

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2009
1,828
1,322
Orlando, FL
What about all the other companies that use FoxConn?
This kind of answer always gets to me. Just because other companies are doing it, does that make it okay for Apple to follow suit???? Since when does Apple operate to the standard of OTHER companies?

If Apple wishes to conquer mindshare, they'll have to take the praise AND the scrutiny. That's a given.
 

mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,505
156
Melbourne, Australia
This kind of answer always gets to me. Just because other companies are doing it, does that make it okay for Apple to follow suit???? Since when does Apple operate to the standard of OTHER companies?

If Apple wishes to conquer mindshare, they'll have to take the praise AND the scrutiny. That's a given.
Ok... So if Apple did push for better conditions and such for FoxConn workers, who would the extra cost be passed onto? FoxConn? Apple? The customers? Who's going to want to take the hit?
 

johnmacward

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2011
187
31
Ok... So if Apple did push for better conditions and such for FoxConn workers, who would the extra cost be passed onto? FoxConn? Apple? The customers? Who's going to want to take the hit?
I think you've answered the question about the morality of capitalism there.
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
It isn't actually "slave labor." I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that it is.
 
Last edited:

interrobang

macrumors 6502
May 25, 2011
369
0
Since when does Apple operate to the standard of OTHER companies?
Since 1976.

Apple exists in a competitive environment. It can't just unilaterally decide to change the basic economics of manufacturing. So long as its competitors are exploiting third-world labor to keep costs down, Apple has to do the same, or go out of business.

Unless, that is, people were willing to pay more to buy goods produced by well-paid workers in safe conditions. Which, history has shown, only a tiny minority of people are willing to do.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,262
1,352
IMO, it sounds like Apple is taking steps in the direction I think most people here would want them to.

The Fair Labor Association today announced that Apple will join the FLA as a Participating Company, effective immediately. The FLA will independently assess facilities in Apple's supply chain and report detailed findings on the FLA website. Apple becomes the first technology company to join the Association as a Participating Company.
https://www.fairlabor.org/fla/Public/pub/Images_XFile/R514/Apple_Joins_FLA.pdf
 

ctucci

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2008
133
1
Yer Mom's basement.
Yes, lots of things are legal here.

It's called individual freedoms.

But, I'll try to find something immoral. I just have to figure out who will decide that for me - or if I get to decide that myself.:rolleyes: :D
You misunderstand, I think. My argument is that capitalism is moral because it's the only system that allows the most people the most freedom.

That includes individual freedoms, like those you imply you're going to enjoy. And since capitalism is one of the most important reasons Americans have the freedoms they do, then I stipulate the left is immoral in their attempts to remove personal choice by attacking capitalism as they currently do.
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68030
Feb 14, 2004
2,614
8,396
OBJECTIVE reality
Is this the morality of capitalism? Is this what anyone would really want the US to become to compete?

In Foxconn City

An eight-hour drive from that glass factory is a complex, known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.

That’s because nothing like Foxconn City exists in the United States.
The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day. When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. “The scale is unimaginable,” he said.

Foxconn employs nearly 300 guards to direct foot traffic so workers are not crushed in doorway bottlenecks. The facility’s central kitchen cooks an average of three tons of pork and 13 tons of rice a day. While factories are spotless, the air inside nearby teahouses is hazy with the smoke and stench of cigarettes.

Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.

“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

In mid-2007, after a month of experimentation, Apple’s engineers finally perfected a method for cutting strengthened glass so it could be used in the iPhone’s screen. The first truckloads of cut glass arrived at Foxconn City in the dead of night, according to the former Apple executive. That’s when managers woke thousands of workers, who crawled into their uniforms — white and black shirts for men, red for women — and quickly lined up to assemble, by hand, the phones. Within three months, Apple had sold one million iPhones. Since then, Foxconn has assembled over 200 million more.
Foxconn, in statements, declined to speak about specific clients.

“Any worker recruited by our firm is covered by a clear contract outlining terms and conditions and by Chinese government law that protects their rights,” the company wrote. Foxconn “takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our more than one million employees a safe and positive environment.”

The company disputed some details of the former Apple executive’s account, and wrote that a midnight shift, such as the one described, was impossible “because we have strict regulations regarding the working hours of our employees based on their designated shifts, and every employee has computerized timecards that would bar them from working at any facility at a time outside of their approved shift.” The company said that all shifts began at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., and that employees receive at least 12 hours’ notice of any schedule changes.

Foxconn employees, in interviews, have challenged those assertions.
So what does this sound like to you? "THX 1138"? The Apple "1984" commercial?

No wonder those people threatened to commit suicide.
 

Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,931
1,606
New England, USA
You misunderstand, I think. My argument is that capitalism is moral because it's the only system that allows the most people the most freedom.

That includes individual freedoms, like those you imply you're going to enjoy. And since capitalism is one of the most important reasons Americans have the freedoms they do, then I stipulate the left is immoral in their attempts to remove personal choice by attacking capitalism as they currently do.
I think you are mistaking, or interdigitating, the economic system and the political system, as if they are the same, or necessarily intertwined.

It is possible to have a democratic political system and a non-capitalistic economic system. You are arguing that a the freedoms (hopefully) inherent in a truly democratic system are necessarily supported by a capitalistic economic system. I'm not an economist, but I suggest that it is possible to have a somewhat regulated capitalist system. You are suggesting, I believe, that only a totally laissez faire, unregulated, free market capitalism is the only kind of capitalism.

Individual freedoms are not inherent in a capitalistic economic system. The freedom to question the economic system (capitalism) in in the political system (democratic), not inherent in the economic system.

By your standards, it is immoral to question the economic system. To this canard, I say a fulsome b********t.
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
Is this the morality of capitalism?
Yes. To explain capitalism in its most basic form is to maximize profits. Doesn't matter what needs to be done to achieve that.

There was a lengthy article in the NYTimes yesterday was well. Being forced to work 6 twelve-hour days, live on campus away from your friends/family, eat and consume goods on campus so you probably don't even end up 'taking home' much wages to begin with... geez, doesn't that sound like slavery?

True, they're not "technically" forced to do anything. However, if they want to keep their job, they must work the hours mandated. If they want to keep the job, they must live on campus to be awoken in the middle of night to begin a shift because Steve Jobs wanted a glass screen last minute to prevent scratches. If they want to keep their job, they have no time to go anywhere that isn't on the campus. There's no social mobility, no freedom. Slave labor.
 

ctucci

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2008
133
1
Yer Mom's basement.
I think you are mistaking, or interdigitating, the economic system and the political system, as if they are the same, or necessarily intertwined.

...

By your standards, it is immoral to question the economic system. To this canard, I say a fulsome b********t.
But, they are intertwined. A good example is the crony capitalism we suffer under in the US today.

You're way off in your understanding, but, that's your problem, not mine.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,262
1,352
True, they're not "technically" forced to do anything. However, if they want to keep their job...
Is not also true that they're also able to quit these jobs? Any thoughts on what responsibility the Chinese government has to regulate these practices?
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,675
1,823
Isla Nublar
Another one of these threads???

No offense to anyone but if you think Apple doesn't work with its Chinese suppliers for better working conditions, you're just ignorant and need to read this:

http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/

Download the report, read it, and see that companies like Apple are working to IMPROVE conditions. Without Apple, conditions would probably still be much worse at Foxconn.
 

Nebrie

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2002
573
66
Is this the morality of capitalism? Is this what anyone would really want the US to become to compete?

So what does this sound like to you? "THX 1138"? The Apple "1984" commercial?

No wonder those people threatened to commit suicide.
While some of this is bad, some of this is ignorance of other cultures.

The 6 day/12 hour workweek is fairly standard in most parts of Asia including modern economies such as Taiwan. I spoke to an American who went to Taiwan and had to endure this work schedule despite the fact that the written work day was much shorter. As far as he could tell, anyone in his office was free to leave at the appointed hour with no consequences (other than silent admonishment from their co-workers) but they just didn't. He wasn't working in a factory; he (and his co-workers) were making big bucks at a tech firm. His feeling was that people went with this simply because it was the cultural norm.

Work dorms are pretty standard. I have family members who did this after high school and before getting married/college/real job. Factory cities tend to be in the middle of nowhere where land is dirt cheap. The company has to build their own housing because there is no housing there and the workers would rather live in the housing because they'd rather save the money for college or an apartment when they get another job. In traditional Chinese culture, the parents expect you to live with them after you grow up so they can nag you to death all day long so it's a great way for some of these kids to get out of the house. It's the Asian equivalent of getting a job at Mc Donalds.

Also, about as many people there eat dogs as Americans eat roadkill.

If you want to talk about 1984, why move the factories back to America? Lets move them to Europe; America is an atrocity in terms of workers rights and conditions compared with Europe.
 

FX120

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2007
1,173
233
Another one of these threads???

No offense to anyone but if you think Apple doesn't work with its Chinese suppliers for better working conditions, you're just ignorant and need to read this:

http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/

Download the report, read it, and see that companies like Apple are working to IMPROVE conditions. Without Apple, conditions would probably still be much worse at Foxconn.
********. If Apple really gave a damn about worker conditions, they wouldn't continue to support them with more work.

Don't kid yourself. Apple and any other company who does business with Foxconn knows exactly what goes on on the factory floors, and have since day one.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,675
1,823
Isla Nublar
********. If Apple really gave a damn about worker conditions, they wouldn't continue to support them with more work.

Don't kid yourself. Apple and any other company who does business with Foxconn knows exactly what goes on on the factory floors, and have since day one.
Please read the link. You obviously didn't.
 

FX120

macrumors 65816
May 18, 2007
1,173
233
Please read the link. You obviously didn't.
I read the link. You're quite daft if you believe it. It's a typical PR response by a company that has known full well what the conditions are like, and is only now trying to excuse themselves to a public which has just gotten a peek behind the curtain and discovered who and how that shiny toy in their pocket was assembled.

Apple doesn't care about the lives of the workers. Apply only cares that the consumer doesn't care, and they want to make sure that the public doesn't start care.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.