Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Mistreated Foxconn Brazil Workers Threaten Strike 201

An anonymous reader writes "More bad news comes from Apple's iDevice manufacturing partner Foxconn that is sure to ruffle the feathers of Apple fans. From the story: 'Factory workers at a Foxconn plant in Jundiaí, Brazil are complaining of overcrowded buses, poor food and a lack of water and have threatened to strike unless the issues are resolved by May 3. According to a report by Brazil's Tech Guru (Google Translation), over 2,500 Foxconn employees have complained about conditions at the factory. Workers reportedly met last Monday to raise the concerns and have given the company 10 days to address them.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mistreated Foxconn Brazil Workers Threaten Strike

Comments Filter:
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:14AM (#39837609)

    Brazil workers have more rights then ones in China.

    They even got mcdonalds sued and won the case over them offering only a limited free lunch menu.

    Brazil has a government-backed program requiring certain classes of employers to provide meal and grocery vouchers to low-income employees. It is not uncommon for employment benefits in developing countries to include things such as meal vouchers or housing supports that are normally not part of benefits packages in more developed countries.
    and only offering a limited menu does not fit the rules.

  • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:34AM (#39837719)

    -1, only in America are unions hated so much. You'll never see positive union viewpoints on the news without them being portrayed as combative.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:35AM (#39837723)

    then vs than, please! Read your grammar book first!

  • by kyrio ( 1091003 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:45AM (#39837789) Homepage
    The striking employees won't be losing any iProducts. They can't afford them in the first place.
  • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @11:51AM (#39837821)

    To be fair to TFS (and we might as well do, for a change of pace) it doesn't say that they do manufacture Apple products. It says that it's "Foxconn Brazil workers" (which they are), and it says that Foxconn are Apple's manufacturing partner (which they are).

    And Apple aren't completely off the hook even if these workers aren't working on their products- Foxconn have fast acquired a terrible reputation for mistreating workers, and companies are responsible for the companies they partner with. Just to straw-man it up a notch- if a company were killing orphans to make dogfood, it wouldn't be acceptable to buy beef mince from them; the defence "I'm not buying their murderous products so it's not my problem" doesn't really hold much weight.

    Still, it's interesting to know that they make Xboxes. No company should be involved in mistreating workers, and knowing the perpetrators is a good thing.

  • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @12:00PM (#39837865)

    Mentioning Apple gets the page hits.

    New media is a giant vacuous whore like old media,

  • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @12:01PM (#39837873) Journal

    Yup, nowhere except America manages to so completely miss the point of unions. In most of the world, unions work like this:

    A group of people are elected to represent the workers. If there are unreconcilable difference of opinion between groups of workers, then you get two or more unions. Each can negotiate with the employers on behalf of their members, and can pretty much guarantee that the deal that they reach will be agreed to by most of their members because they actually represent their members. If you disagree with all of the unions, you are not forced to join any of them. Any deal negotiated by the unions is open to all workers, irrespective of union membership.

    Meanwhile, in the USA, they work like this:

    To get the job, you must be a member of the union. If you are not, then you must join immediately. There is only one union that represents people in your position. Only employees can be union officials, and anyone who gets elected without being open to bribes finds that they no longer have a job and must therefore resign. You must accept the deal negotiated between the company and their, sorry, your representative or you lose your job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 29, 2012 @12:03PM (#39837885)

    More bad news comes from Apple's iDevice manufacturing partner Foxconn that is sure to ruffle the feathers of Apple fans.

    Pffft. Yeah. Right. If the news from China wasn't enough to make the iFruits value human life over their precious, precious underpowered shinies, this sure as hell won't.

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @12:08PM (#39837915)

    If Apple wants to insulate itself from bad press related to the employment practices of its contract manufacturers, it could buy its own factories and employ the workers who make its products.

    There are contract manufacturers, totally capable of meeting their manufacturing requirements, that Apple could afford to buy if they wanted to. Or they could just buy the few factories that they would need.

    When they choose to do business with sweatshops to build their products, they are essentially telling us they don't care enough to dirty their hands with that manufacturing business. They don't want to think about the labor relations aspects. They just don't care that much.

    Same goes for Microshaft (whose products these particular workers actually make) and all the other big companies that use contract manufacturers instead of employing their own labor force. Little companies can legitimately say that they can't afford the investment in manufacturing capacity necessary to make their products efficiently. That's just not the case when you're making a big-ticket item that you sell by the millions.

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Sunday April 29, 2012 @12:16PM (#39837957)

    After the retraction, I don't know if I even care if this is Apple at this point. Quite frankly I'd be surprised if this was at the plant producing Apple goods. The latest outbreak of suicides and protestations have been over the division that manufactures Xboxes, funny enough.

    Not Apple's gear.

    I notice a lot of people place a great deal of emphasis on whether it's Apple or not.

    All things considered, that's pretty damn sad.

    These workers are being mistreated and all you people can think about is whether it has something to do with Apple!

    Whether or not Apple is evil is beside the point. Whether or not Apple has something to do with this particular incident in Brazil is beside the point. The point is, these workers are being mistreated, and the first thing you people think about is Apple! Frankly, that's fucking insane.

    A lot of people place emphasis on it because the counter is true - Apple is being beaten with this stick, so when it's *not* anything to do with Apple, why is that suddenly wrong to point that out? This is not an attempt to justify worker abuse, but aiming the criticism at the right companies involved is a good start. Not to mention that making stuff up and claiming it is true (Mike Daisey) does more harm to your cause than anything else.

    Apple (and others) need to be taken to task for sure, but unless the criticism is wielded accurately, people will simply assume you're the boy crying wolf again and stop taking the issue seriously, which is the worst thing that could happen.

  • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:11PM (#39838255)

    Fuckin' A right.

    Imagine if they publicized the underhanded shit done by the banks/corporate America with as much diligence. Hell, imagine if American citizens had to work a few months in one of those Foxconn long would it be before this whole "oh, those poor, poor multibillion dollar corporations that are making more money than they ever have in history are forced to employ slave labor on the other side of the world" nonsense went out the fucking window?

    Half the people in this country still believe they're going to be part of that club of the super wealthy one day, and until that changes, we're going to continue being ruled by the real parasites on society, limited liability corporations.

  • Particularly Apple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:44PM (#39838457)

    For one, they have massive, massive cash reserves. With that kind of money it would be completely feasible to fund their own production lines. It is very expensive to set up production facilities, more than most people appreciate, but Apple has the cash to do it and not seriously deplete their reserves. So were it an issue that mattered to them it would be doable.

    Also it would be doable in a first world country, given Apple's large margins (how do you think they got all the cash?) It would mean smaller margins, of course, but they'd still be fine. Don't believe the hype that manufacturing is such a large part of the cost that they couldn't afford to do it in the US or Japan or the EU if they wanted to. They could and would still be profitable, just less so.

    Now I'm not saying they should have to do this, just that they very well could. So there is no giving them a pass on "Oh they just couldn't do that and still deliver their products." No, they could afford to set up their own production lines in the US, and to produce their products at current prices. They'd make less, but still be profitable.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @01:58PM (#39838527)

    One is just that they like to pretend they are better than other companies, and they seem to want to deflect from the China thing. Every product has its place of final manufacture stamped somewhere on the item and/or box. It is required by law. Most companies do that, it just says "Made in X." Apple doesn't, they prefix it with "Designed in Cupertino by Apple." They seem to want to deflect from the fact that they make things in China like everyone else since they are "different" and better.

    The bigger one though is Apple could afford to manufacture somewhere else with their hefty prices. Yes, with low margin stuff you often have to choose a cheap place to manufacture, but with more expensive items, you can afford better manufacturing. Like Denon, for example. Their lower end receivers are all made in China. However their higher end stuff is made in Japan (which is where they are located). They can afford the higher manufacturing cost since the profit per unit is higher on those higher end goods. The premium priced goods have premium manufacturing.

    Well Apple has quite high margins. This would be where that massive amount of cash they have has come from. All their devices feature premium pricing. As such they could afford to manufacture somewhere other than China. Also, with all that cash, they could afford to build their own facilities, if they needed to because the country they chose didn't have a contractor that could do it.

    Now it would mean some tradeoffs. The main one would be the big profit margins. They'd still be profitable, but not as outrageously so. The other would be that they couldn't go and roust a bunch of workers out of bed because their CEO decided he wanted a new design, they'd have to go through the normal design process that can take a bit.

    However they can do it. A company that is operating on thin margins may well not be able to. Like game consoles. If they make any money on a console, it is very little. Often companies will elect to take a loss to keep the retail price down and sell more (their profit is on the games). For that, the manufacturing cost counts and you want it done cheap. Choosing a higher priced place can kill your business.

    So that's why Apple gets less of a pass than some others. They are in a position they could do better, they just choose not to as to make more money. That's fine, that is a valid position, but it is also one people can take issue with.

    Finally, Apple is an "All the cheapest, all the time," kind of outfit. Many of the others you listed are not. Intel, for example, fabs almost all their CPUs in the US. They also have a fab in Ireland, Israel and a new one opening in China but 6 of their fabs are in the US and the newest one they are building is also there. Or Samung, who makes all their LCD panels in Korea (most higher quality LCDs are from Korea), and their final products all over (my TV is from Mexico).

    Not trying to paint Apple is the Big Baddie here or anything, just saying there is a reason they get more shit.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday April 29, 2012 @03:35PM (#39839021)

    There are entirely legitimate reasons to outsource manufacturing. If you have your own factory, and you get a burst of orders, you won't be able to keep up because you'll lack the needed capacity, leading to long lead times that cause you to lose customers. Conversely, if you get a lull in orders, your factory will be sitting idle, wasting money. Big companies outsource manufacturing to avoid those issues. It gives you a lot more flexibility.

    The problem isn't that Apple and Microsoft and all these other companies use outsourced manufacturing... it's that they outsource the manufacturing to sweatshops. They could easily pay a bit more to have their products manufactured by a company that respects workers' rights, or pay a bit more to compel companies like Foxconn to respect workers' rights. Instead, they constantly focus on driving down prices so that they can pocket a few extra tenths of a percent of profit. And if that means some Chinese workers are getting woken up in the middle of the night to work a twelve hour shift, or some Brazilians don't have access to sufficient drinking water, who cares? The executives hanging out in Silicon Valley or Redmond or wherever will still have their billions, and that's what matters.

    Hopefully the continued pressure from the media and the public will make companies like Apple push companies like Foxconn to improve conditions, but there's still a long way to go.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.