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

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  • Foxconn and Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:02AM (#39083791)

    The Fair Labor Association found that Apple's plant...

    It's not Apple's plant. They're the biggest electronics factory in the world and make products for Dell, HP, Nintendo, Microsoft, Google, and more. Seems like a Greenpeace situation [slashdot.org] where Apple gets singled out because it generates more media coverage. Apple has actually been cited as the most proactive when it comes to monitoring work conditions in the factories they contract with.

    • by ericdano (113424) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:23AM (#39083861) Homepage

      Why is this -1?

      Why don't we examine some of the OTHER factories in China that do business with like, oh I dunno, WALMART? Or Sears? Or JC Penny? Or the GAP? Wonder how proactive Walmart is about working conditions where it gets its products from...

      • Suppliers (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @06:17AM (#39084241) Journal

        Those aren't great examples.

        The companies you've listed aren't really "product line" companies. Yes, they have some of their own (rebranded) lines, but their primary business is selling other people's products (Nike, Reebok, Guess, Apple, Nintendo, whatever).

        That being said, I once knew somebody who worked as the middleman between a U.S. brand corp and Chinese manufacturers. Their contacts in the U.S. were ruthless and in many cases absolute dickheads. For whatever reason they could find, they'd slam the Chinese manufacturers with extra fees, penalties, etc. It became obvious fairly quickly that they considered the Chinese manufacturers a sort of sub-class... and the workers at said manufacturer weren't even considered at all.

        It's not just Apple, or even Foxconn, it's big business in the west overall. Given the way the corporatocracy treats locals as an inferior subspecies, it's not exactly unexpected. So long as the majority of consumers buy their products with no consideration to how they end up here, that's the way it will be.

        Don't weep for Apple. It's about time *somebody* noticed this sort of shit going all and asked their favoured corp an important question: "why?"
        One can only hope that it will result in some improvement, and - as Apple is currently a market leader - that it will eventually push other companies to follow.

        • It's not a matter of weeping or not for Apple. It's a matter of focusing so much on one company (that seems to be doing alright in this regard), that the real problems get ignored. Do you somehow think that every other company being ignored by the media is going to change, just because Apple did? No, they're going to say, "wow, so great that Apple got all the attention so no one worries about what we are doing." That's not very good.
      • Re:Foxconn and Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

        by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday February 18, 2012 @06:27AM (#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 bloodhawk (813939) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:38AM (#39084119)
      They get singled out because they are by far and away the most profitable company and much of that profit is directly manufactured in that plant giving Apple far more influence over the running of that plant than any other company in the world. Apple has a huge margin they can play with and Foxconn would basically do anything to keep sucking in the profit that apple generates for them.
      • Re:Foxconn and Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @06:19AM (#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.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Well, let me point out one other aspect of focusing attention on Apple: it's working. These inspections and the level of attention they're getting is unprecedented. Foxconn is under scrutiny now and has to mind themselves. This is great! The workers will be somewhat better off, and gradually there will be less unfair competition for workers elsewhere. And all because the public complained, and focused their attention on a single company with a strong brand image to maintain - namely, Apple.

          .

          And what

          • APPLE is under scrutiny, not Foxconn. Everybody else is staying mum about it. Where's Microsoft coming out and saying "oh yeah, we're doing this too!" Mmm?

        • No one is arguing that there are not worse sweatshops out there. No on is arguing that other companies don't use said "worse sweatshops". But your complete denail that anything is wrong with the way your favorite phone company is doing business is at best self decieving and at worst contemptable. Apple is in the news for poor labor conditions. If we ignore it and say it's OK then you are just giving a green flag to any other business that wants to use sudo-slave labor to produce their product.

          ..and yo

          • No on is arguing that other companies don't use said "worse sweatshops".

            Actually, yes they pretty much are.

            But your complete denail that anything is wrong with the way your favorite phone company is doing business is at best self decieving and at worst contemptable

            I didn't deny anything about the treatment of the Foxconn employees. The point is that you guys don't give a shit about the workers. You want to have something to bitch at Apple fanboys about. Want proof?

            If we ignore it and say it's OK ...

            Fascinating. So what started this thread? A list of other companies who are also using Foxconn. Now why would this list be interesting? So you can rake those companies over the coals, too. Who said 'let Apple get a free pass on this''? Nobody.

            It is very telling t

    • by iamhassi (659463) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @06:24AM (#39084259) Journal

      It's not Apple's plant.

      True, but Apple gives them most of their business, like when Apple bought Samsung's entire supply of ram, almost half of the world's supply of NAND Flash RAM, for the 3GS. [appleinsider.com]

      If Apple said "Pay them more, give them less hours and more time off or we'll go elsewhere" Foxconn would, in a heartbeat, because they have no choice, Apple is the majority of Foxconn's business.

      I love my iPhone, but this whole mess really has me thinking twice about my next phone. If there was another smartphone that ran IOS and had a more "ethical" factory I'd probably purchase that rather than another iPhone, even if it was a bit more (10%? 20%?).

      • by peragrin (659227) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @08:40AM (#39084717)

        Just remember Nokia, motorola, HTC also build their phones in China, but they don't even get apples minimal level of raising the workers up.

        There are ZERO phones out there made without sweatshops like this.

        Apple gets singled out because they are large, but smaller shops are the ones who treat them the worst.

        • by pegasustonans (589396) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @11:04AM (#39085425)

          Just remember Nokia, motorola, HTC also build their phones in China, but they don't even get apples minimal level of raising the workers up.

          There are ZERO phones out there made without sweatshops like this.

          Apple gets singled out because they are large, but smaller shops are the ones who treat them the worst.

          I see a lot of people rushing to defend Apple, a large corporation that recently posted record profits.

          I don't see many concerned about the lives of these workers.

          It's a sad world we live in.

          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by peragrin (659227)

            That is called capitalism. workers are just a resource to be abused like any other. Why do you think it is called Human Resources?

            Really in a country where the average person doesn't have health care at all(USA) do you think worker exploitation in a foreign nation is really that shocking? 1 in 6 Americans don't have any insurance. another 2/6 have health insurance coverage so useless it is only good for emergency room visits.

    • Apple has actually been cited as the most proactive when it comes to monitoring work conditions in the factories they contract with.

      I believe that Apple is proactive about paying lip service to the need to do something, without actually doing anything substantive about the http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?pagewanted=all>factory explosions and suicides. See, you can have your cake and eat it too.

  • What, already? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:13AM (#39083829)

    They inspected them for less than a week.

    Yeah, alright. That's one swell job you guys have done.

    How about some surprise inspections over the course of the next 6 months at least?

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      FWIW, Apple's membership into FLA means that their suppliers will get surprise inspections in the future.

  • Doesn't matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:16AM (#39083835)

    I make no judgement on these factories. I have no doubt that I'd never, ever work in one, or let anyone I cared about work in one. At the same time, I'm not convinced they're not a big step up for the average Chinese person. Remember your history lessons? In this country (USA), we know something about horrible working conditions. Foxconn doesn't sound as bad as Triangle Shirtwaist Company, or any of the mine towns with the company store and wage-slavery. And people voluntarily went there just as people are voluntarily working at Foxconn.

    The average work conditions have a lot to do with the environment. Sustenance farming was pretty miserable - is still pretty miserable, it's still around. There are still a huge number of people who would work in terrible conditions just for the privilege of a steady source of food (as opposed to fickle harvests).

    This isn't to say we should get complacent - the moment we as a people declare the status quo "good enough", we've lost.

    Having said that, there's a lot of people (many who will be posting in this article, I'm sure) that are convinced these factories are some sort of prison with forced-labor and the evil specter of Steve Jobs himself whipping workers until they're forced to jump. And that seems less productive than, you know, thinking.

    • ... these factories are some sort of prison with forced-labor and the evil specter of Steve Jobs himself whipping workers ...

      I have never seen that S&M porn site. Are the workers cute naked chicks, rubbing iPhones and iPads over their well-oiled bodies during production? Please post a link.

      Actually, a whip-wielding Steve Jobs video clip would be a good screen saver app. I don't think the Apple iPhone Store folks would let it in, though.

    • The average work conditions have a lot to do with the environment. Sustenance farming was pretty miserable - is still pretty miserable, it's still around. There are still a huge number of people who would work in terrible conditions just for the privilege of a steady source of food (as opposed to fickle harvests).

      None so terrible a condition as those who work in the butchering of others. Have a guess as to what you might taste like, then consider than some farmers need not farm at all if they only decide to live off the fat of the land.

    • by Tom (822)

      This isn't to say we should get complacent - the moment we as a people declare the status quo "good enough", we've lost.

      Misery follows if you are unable to follow the status quo as "good enough for now".

      Nobody said this would be the status quo forever. But change takes time, and the faster you move something big, the more friction you create. And if you move a country too fast, you can destroy it. Unrest, civil war, massive unemployment, runaway inflation, etc. etc.

      It's easy to talk about change on /. - when you are responsible for more than a billion people, you ought to be a lot more careful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sethstorm (512897)

      Foxconn doesn't sound as bad as Triangle Shirtwaist Company, or any of the mine towns with the company store and wage-slavery. And people voluntarily went there just as people are voluntarily working at Foxconn.

      For having family in mining towns, and being two generations from one myself(on both sides), I'd say that Foxconn is worse. In mining towns of today, I'm not followed by representatives of the mining company's security company for entering the town, lawyers can openly practice against the mining company without fear of death or intimidation, the mining company isn't going to prosecute people that talk about their company, and people can buy things without having to be indebted to the company (such as with

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        Mining towns to today don't have any bearing on the argument. The concern is what happened 50-75-100 years ago here in relation to China today.

        Unless, of course, you want to say that the natural evolution is for better workplace safety and rights over time.

        • by sethstorm (512897)

          You would have to go back past the 1930's to get a comparison that is like China.

          As for China(and like minded places) bringing better workplace safety rights, they're doing everything to ensure meaningful progress never happens. This means that workers are forever subordinated to the business, with the pre-FDR era tradition of disrespect.

          Businesses would rather be able to extend the concept of "business friendliness" as extreme as they can, and measure that as competitiveness.

    • have no doubt that I'd never, ever work in one, or let anyone I cared about work in one. At the same time, I'm not convinced they're not a big step up for the average Chinese person.

      That is easily one of the most racist statements I've read today. It's OK because they are Chinese?
      Are Chinese so much a lesser person that what would be horrible working conditions to you should be just fine for them?
      ...get with the twentieth century pal, we left that mentality a hundred years ago.

      • I'm sorry you think so. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming I was less than clear, although I thought what I meant was quite obvious.

        The average Chinese person has horrendous working conditions - sustenance farming, or not much more. Do you seriously not see how working in a factory with (mostly) regular hours and a steady source of food wouldn't be a big improvement? The analogy is the industrial revolution that happened in the West - sure, those sweatshops and factories with little kids run

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:17AM (#39083841)

    This article doesn't present any findings, and it's pretty clear the FLA in being interviewed only meant to explain who they are and how they will be investigating the working conditions at Apple's suppliers. The thing about working conditions is just a sound bite, no doubt taken out of context, to draw readers to what is really a pretty boring article.

    • Believe the one with the issues. Seems to me that even the best factory in the world would have problems during the crunch mode just before a major product launch.

  • by tsj5j (1159013) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:48AM (#39083947)

    Most people commenting about Foxconn have lost all perspective because they allow themselves to be blinded by Apple hate.

    Let me explain why bashing Apple and Foxconn about this is so, so foolish.

    1.) Poorer working conditions aren't exclusive to Apple's factories, or even Foxconn.
    If you're trying to uphold your ideal working conditions on workers who create products you use, please take a step back and stop buying any product from any store. I can confidently tell you that all the products you use: your computer, tech gadgets, electronics, shoes, clothes, etc. are all made by workers in poor conditions, often even poorer than that of Foxconn. Instead of protesting against Apple/Foxconn, vote with your wallet instead of bitching in an online forum and feeling self-righteous after doing so.

    2.) Workers are -happy- about their job and working conditions. It's you who feel unhappy about them.
    Many workers are happy about their job and working conditions, in Foxconn and other such factories. These factories provide a lot of things (not just money) that they would never be able to dream of: a shelter over their head, varied meals, water, electricity, and more. Many of these people are uneducated and would be jobless otherwise. They need and are happy about these jobs. Your protesting will NOT IMPROVE THEIR LIVES. You will render them jobless (as you boycott these products and companies pull out of these countries) and effectively kill off their means of living.

    3.) Progress takes time.
    Most Americans have forgotten their past when there were still slaves, often in FAR worse conditions than that of China. It's been proven that a country needs time to develop, and attempting to shortcut the process will lead to disastrous results. 10 years ago, these people whom you claim to be working in "poor conditions" were starving because a drought wiped out their crops. Their lives have improved, and will improve as long as they have jobs.

    • by molog (110171)

      It still remains that the work conditions would be illegal were they done in the United States, and absolutely all of Europe. They are a step up over lots of shops in that country, but that doesn't change the fact that the hours the employees work, the benefits, and overall conditions are not acceptable. So they are the best of a crumy lot. I have the firm belief that any product that is sold in this country, I mean the US, must have been produced in working conditions that are of the same, or better, as

      • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:56AM (#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.

        • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Saturday February 18, 2012 @07:26AM (#39084481) Homepage
          And in the meantime the children of the third world can go die on a rubbish dump? Fuck you.
        • by danaris (525051)

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

          Fixed that for you.

          I mean, seriously, what is with the focus on Apple, when every single reputable report shows that Apple is among the very best when it comes to how they get people treated at the factories producing their stuff?

          And honestly, I wouldn't mind too much (though admittedly I don't fully grasp the economics and practicalities of it) if penalties of this sort were applied fairly and reasonably to American companies who have their products produced in factories that adhere to standards lower than

        • by tsj5j (1159013)

          Your government will never do that.

          You can't just penalize Apple, you literally have to penalize every company producing something that is more than a few components.
          It's not just assembly that's made of cheap labor: from resource extraction, to the production of individual components, to assembly, that exploits cheap labor.
          America as a whole will lose competitiveness if this was applied, as believe me, no other country will be foolhardy enough to follow.

          If you thought the economy/job market was bad, try ch

        • Oh, my freaking god.. someone gets it!!!
          Bravo.. my dear man bravo.. (hands clapping)..

      • It still remains that the work conditions would be illegal were they done in the United States, and absolutely all of Europe.

        What exactly is happening at Foxconn that wouldn't happen in the USA or in Europe? I mean not just wild accusations. And not asking about "what would be illegal", but "what would not be happening".

        PS. If you say "working 60 hours a week" - I've done that. If you say "employing people below legal age" - I've been employed by one of the largest US companies while below the legal age.

    • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:38AM (#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 hawguy (1600213)

        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.

        But when manufacturing costs rise in China, that just means that the jobs will move to a country where workers cheaper and the Chinese factory workers will move from crappy factory jobs to no jobs at all. Which is worse?

        Though I guess I can't think of any other country where wages are cheaper while still having the infrastructure to support factories.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by outsider007 (115534)

        If you think the "John Stewart show" started this whole thing, then you too are part of the problem. This kind of pervasive ignorance of how the world works only happens in America.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 h

    • by Ardeaem (625311) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @05:40AM (#39084125)

      1.) Poorer working conditions aren't exclusive to Apple's factories, or even Foxconn.

      Irrelevant. "Joe may have killed someone, but Frank did too, so don't complain about Joe!" Being inconsistent in your calls for better treatment is much better than never calling for better treatment at all.

      2.) Workers are -happy- about their job and working conditions. It's you who feel unhappy about them. Your protesting will NOT IMPROVE THEIR LIVES. You will render them jobless (as you boycott these products and companies pull out of these countries) and effectively kill off their means of living.

      The whole point of exerting economic pressure through a boycott is to make it reasonable for a company to change their behavior to get you to buy their products again. Nobody, including people protesting, want to put anyone out of business. Also, and you might be surprised by this, but China is an authoritarian country. There can be dire consequences for protesting, and so you think they are happy, but really, they are forced by the government to be "content" with their lot. We know that conditions at Foxconn's factories have been bad in the past. There's no sense in saying "Oh, but those Chinese, their HAPPY about it!"

      3.) Progress takes time. Most Americans have forgotten their past when there were still slaves, often in FAR worse conditions than that of China.

      Time is not the cause of anything. Progress takes time, but that's because there's stuff that happens in time, like protests, political pressure, inspections, etc. You think slavery just ceased to exist because we gave it enough time? That shows a tremendous lack of historical understanding.

      • by tsj5j (1159013)

        Irrelevant. "Joe may have killed someone, but Frank did too, so don't complain about Joe!" Being inconsistent in your calls for better treatment is much better than never calling for better treatment at all.

        It's not irrelevant at all. Focusing all the attention on one company isn't going to do anyone any good. For one, the focus becomes on the company and not the workers. It attracts all the haters who prefer to focus their attention on "how apple is doing bad" and not "how we can make this better". Frankly, I've not seen a thoughtful solution here besides "Boycott Apple!". How about an organization that promotes/advertises/labels products which are made with fair labor?

        The whole point of exerting economic pressure through a boycott is to make it reasonable for a company to change their behavior to get you to buy their products again. Nobody, including people protesting, want to put anyone out of business. Also, and you might be surprised by this, but China is an authoritarian country. There can be dire consequences for protesting, and so you think they are happy, but really, they are forced by the government to be "content" with their lot. We know that conditions at Foxconn's factories have been bad in the past. There's no sense in saying "Oh, but those Chinese, their HAPPY about it!"

        You're assuming a lot of things without

  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @04:51AM (#39083961) Homepage Journal
    Have been there. This factory is way beyond garment factories in terms of attractiveness. The Shenzhen campus, which has about 600k employees, makes not just Apple but HTC, Sony, Panasonic, you-name-it. They are owned by Taiwan, employ management from Hong Kong, employ Cantonese labor , and are governed by Mandarin communist party staff. They are ISO certified. There are so many reasons to run this factory right, it's kind of surprising that activists who are really concerned would pick on a factory like this in the first place, as opposed to say the garment industry in Guangdong. http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/press/releases/toxics/2010/textile-industrial-pollution/ [greenpeace.org] My theory is that White People have their own "ju ju" words. Like Cameroonians who are scared to death of owls, environmentalists have an exaggerated sense of risk when something is technological and involves anything with toxics. A lot of cognitive risk dissonance over high tech and brown people. Personally, I think it's kind of cool that the Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Japanese, Communists, etc. get along here and run a factory that produces the coolest gadgets ever produced by humans. At the rate they have grown, I'm sure the auditor will find lots of violations. But the headline is accurate... the auditor knows within a few hours that they are NOT in the textile hell-hole up the river, or the smelter, or the copper mine.
    • by sethstorm (512897)

      They are owned by Taiwan, employ management from Hong Kong, employ Cantonese labor , and are governed by Mandarin communist party staff.

      Makes it easy for the mainlanders to be divided against each other, much like how their military brought in troops from the countryside for the 1989 massacre.

  • Everything has been better when trade unions existed and they had power and really were protecting labors rights.
    And that is socialism. But after the capitalism came, they have been hunted down or limited their power so corporations can rip everyone off as much as they want and because competition the products quality has gone down as well while amount of workers kept minimum.

    In China, so many such strong trade unions did not exist. And same problem is on many other countries, so no wonder capitalistic corp

    • by u38cg (607297)
      *really?* I remember what industry used to look like - in the first world - back in the heyday of the trade union. Health and safety didn't exist. Good luck if you were black, or Jewish, or gay, or female. If you fell out with the union rep, you were on your own. And in the meantime, you were being tapped for union dues that went to fund a party espousing some of the most fucked-up economic policies the UK ever saw.

      What creates better conditions for workers is economic progress, so that workers don't

  • The Reuters article is just one of a couple following the F.L.A.'s inspection of the Foxconn Plant. There is a slightly longer, but much more critical article by the New York Times [nytimes.com]. Looks as if /. editor's are doing is some editorializing of their own, too. From the "what-is-the-right-question" department, eh? How about from the "now-we-are-shilling-for-apple" department?

    • by arose (644256)

      “I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory,” Mr. van Heerden said, according to the Reuters report.

      You would expect that in a place where things are assembled completely by hand and the employees aren't allowed to talk. Whether that makes it a good environment is a different question.

  • http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/454/mr-daisey-and-the-apple-factory [thisamericanlife.org]
    An on topic story of working, the factory, what you can have made and the reality of the production lines .
    Many cheap hands are cheaper than robots.
    • But why then is Foxconn converting to robots? REUTERS "Foxconn to rely more on robots; could use 1 million in 3 years" http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/01/us-foxconn-robots-idUSTRE77016B20110801 [reuters.com]
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Listen to the show, its a simple reason why you use human hands :) - cost.
        As the work becomes more complex and the cost per unit goes up, robots will be needed, until then that tech device will be done by humans in many very small, fine steps.
        China gets export cash and pays its locals in its own currency - just enough for food, some basic shelter and a few extras.
        So at this time the cost of local humans vs importing robots may not add up. If China can make its own robots and use them with less cash flow
  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Saturday February 18, 2012 @06:07AM (#39084219)

    CNN has a nice article that puts "The Fair Labor Association" in proper perspective:

    "Apple's major move has been to announce that it has joined an organization called the Fair Labor Association, which will "audit" Apple's factories. According to Apple, the Fair Labor Association is an independent watchdog that will work tenaciously to hold Apple and its suppliers accountable.

    Unfortunately, while there are some fine people at the association, the organization is not the independent watchdog Apple claims it to be. Indeed, most of its money -- millions of dollars per year -- comes from the very companies whose labor practices it is supposed to scrutinize. Although Apple has not disclosed its financial relationship with the Fair Labor Association, it is likely now the organization's largest funder. Moreover, on the association's board of directors sit executives of major corporations such as Nike, Adidas and agribusiness giant Syngenta. The job of these executives is to represent the interests of other member companies, such as Apple. Under the Fair Labor Association's rules, the company representatives on the board exercise veto power over major decisions."

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/17/opinion/nova-apple-foxconn/index.html/ [cnn.com]

    • by jdogalt (961241)

      this link might work better-

      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/17/opinion/nova-apple-foxconn/ [cnn.com]

      Also, my $0.02 on the China government apologists- it's all about the free speech/press. Without that, any corporate working condition reporting lacks credibility. I.e. the above comment 'now how about random inspections over a period of 6 months'. Though I went to the trouble of posting the fixed link because that piece covers that issue pretty well (see aluminum dust explosion issue).

      I'm certainly guilty of being a

    • most of its money -- millions of dollars per year -- comes from the very companies whose labor practices it is supposed to scrutinize

      Where *else* would they get their money?

      The UN is funded by *GASP* its member nations!

      Your local police department is funded by *GASP* you!

      So what?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I personally have spent a few months in Chinese steel mills on and off as part of my old job as an automation/GUI programmer.. The plants are dirty as you could possibly imagine, dangerous and badly maintained, but the workers I saw actually seemed quite relaxed and worked fairly normal 8 hour shifts, took lunch breaks etc. I notice the quote only focused on the physical conditions at Foxconn, but it seems like this is probably more of a management problem. The plants might be nice and clean but if the w

  • Union scale in the USA, of course. Do you think this is about human rights or something?

  • Nothing to see here...

    These are not the slave workers you are looking for.

    Apple executives can go about their business.

    Move along to the next post ..

  • MY slave master provides better working conditions than YOUR slave master.

    But the Chinese workers at these offshore provider manufacturing companies are ALL treated as badly as slaves in the old US south. REGARDLESS of whether they're officially "indentured servants" or not.

    The fact that some companies treat their employees worse than Foxconn/Apple does NOT mean that ANY of them treat their employees with anything even RESEMBLING dignity or respect.

  • I hope that conditions are bearable and will improve, but it's irrelevant. Those manufacturing jobs must come home to support healthy U.S. economy.

    Before squealing starts how some basement dweller is "not willing to pay 10 times more" for their toys, for one, it would not be nearly as much. Research discussed on Slashdot recently produced numbers of around 23%. I'd be willing to pay 23% more for healthy U.S. economy or go without. If you don't, that's tough for you. There needs to be a nationwide referendum

  • ...to anyone who has listened to a talk given by the neocon gaytard head of that association, who stridently believes the "free market" will solve everything. Sure, I believe everything out of that outfit.....

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