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Businesses China Apple

Fair Labor Association Finds Foxconn Factory "First Class," Says Labor Watchdog 219

Posted by timothy
from the versus-what-is-the-right-question dept.
Richard.Tao writes "The Fair Labor Association found that Apple's plant where iPhones and iPads are far better than those at garment factories or other facilities elsewhere in the country. A quote: 'The lead investigator stated "The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm."' Which leaves the question, what is the acceptable norm?"
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Fair Labor Association Finds Foxconn Factory "First Class," Says Labor Watchdog Group

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  • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:38AM (#39084115) Journal

    The John Stewart show that started this whole thing stated some pretty ugly figures about suicide rates. Workers get a bunk in a small room with seven other workers they don't even know. Around high places where you could jump to your death, they've installed nets to catch jumpers. If you talk to other employees about forming a group to negotiate for better wages or working conditions, you get 12 years in jail.

    China has people to spare, and not enough resources to go around. That's one reason why labor is cheap and may remain that way for generations. Here in the US, we have resources to burn but not enough people to make use of them. That's one reason labor here is expensive, and why some politicians want to make children of illegal immigrants non-citizens: this would create a whole new class of non-Americans, living for generations in the US with no rights, ripe for exploitation as cheap labor, just like their illegal immigrant ancestors. We're not alone in the world in wanting a large population of near slave laborers to do the hard work for us (seen any Americans picking strawberries lately?). Qatar, for example, allows citizens to "sponsor" foreign workers, who once in the country aren't even allowed to leave without their employer's permission, or change jobs or complain about working conditions or wages... Remember all those black Africans trapped in Libya when war broke out? This is typical of what happens around the world when bad governments allow exploitation of the weak.

    If we can make a small difference through educating Americans about working conditions in the factories where our stuff is made, I think it's an effort well worth pursuing.

  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:56AM (#39084175)
    You make an extremely important argument.

    The work that gets done now in China for Apple (or the other tech giants) used to be done in America, under American labor laws. Then the jobs moved to China, but they are equivalent jobs for American markets, so they should still be done under American labor laws.

    Of course China has different laws, but American money from American consumers who pay for nominally American products should always get products made under American labor laws, regardless.

    That leaves only two moral choices: either Chinese factories must raise their standards to American standards ASAP, or else Apple needs to be penalized (in America) for not following American labor laws while producing nominally American products.

  • Re:Foxconn and Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:19AM (#39084249)

    Oh, please. They get singled out because some guy with a better haircut than you said he loves his phone.

    Deny it if you like but this 'they have the highest margins' rationale only came up recently, curiously around the time it came out that the workers working on iProducts are treated better.

  • Re:Foxconn and Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:27AM (#39084275) Journal
    Others do worse, it's true. The measure of a moral man isn't that he hurt others better or worse than his peers did. It's that he did the Right Thing of the choices afforded him.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:02PM (#39087771)

    The John Stewart show that started this whole thing stated some pretty ugly figures about suicide rates. ... Around high places where you could jump to your death, they've installed nets to catch jumpers.

    Look up the suicide rate per million of Foxconn employees. Look up the suicide rate per million of Chinese in general. Look up the suicide rate per million of Americans in general.

    Two of those three suicide rates are "ugly figures" and I bet you'll be surprised to see which ones. In fact, it's several orders of magnitude worse than the lowest rate of those three...

    As for nets, many buildings in the US (not to mention most countries of the world...) have suicide nets. Why is it such a big deal that Foxconn has them when most major locations in the US have them? Heck, here's an article about the Golden Gate bridge getting a suicide net.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/11/local/me-goldengate11 [latimes.com]

    How about you worry about Americans, who clearly have a larger suicide problem than Foxconn's workers?

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