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Businesses China Iphone The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple's New iPhone Built With Illegal Overtime Teen Labor (bloomberg.com) 157

Apple's main supplier in Asia has been employing high-school students working illegal overtime to assemble the iPhone X in an effort to catch up with demand after facing production delays, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing several teenagers involved. From a report: A group of 3,000 students from the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School were sent to work at the local facility run by Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry, known as Foxconn, as part of a three-month stint that was billed as "work experience," and required to graduate, the Financial Times reported. Six of the students told the FT they routinely worked 11-hour days assembling Apple's flagship smartphone, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law. Apple said an audit did find instances of student interns working overtime, adding that they were employed voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but that they shouldn't have been allowed to work overtime.
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Apple's New iPhone Built With Illegal Overtime Teen Labor

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  • That could very well not be true.

    However, if it was voluntary, then I see no reason why they should have the government tell them that they can't make more money if they don't wanted to. Their body, their choice.
    • This was true in Japan (it was voluntary meaning, if you didn't do the "voluntary" overtime, you were unofficially blacklisted with virtually every other major corporation in Japan), at least until the public scandals got so bad, it was an embarrassment that the Japanese government decided maybe it wasn't such a good idea. (there was hospital footage on news media that wasn't helping Japan's image). Are you saying, government's should allow results like these? It can be very expensive in countries that have
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:26PM (#55596643)

        I doubt if any of this is voluntary. The job itself is not voluntary. All students in all schools are required to work 3 months in a factory (or on a farm) to instill solidarity with the proletariat. The only other option is a 3 month military training stint. They are paid the same wages as an entry level full time worker/farmer/soldier.

        I doubt if the overtime is voluntary either. You can't run an assembly line with half the assemblers missing.

        Mandatory overtime is legal in America, and is fairly common, so I don't see what the big deal is here. 11 hours of work isn't going to kill anyone, and the majority likely appreciated the extra pay.

        • You think 11 hours of work every day for three months is not going to kill anyone?

          • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @02:25PM (#55597267)

            You think 11 hours of work every day for three months is not going to kill anyone?

            It might if you were a patient of these people: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
            But unlikely if you're a young person.

            The article did not say they were working 7-day weeks, nor was it every day, but if it were so, that's only a 77 hour week.
            Many of us here on Slashdot have worked projects that called for putting in those kind of hours for months, and I'll bet some are working like that right now. The difference us and the Foxconn kids? They get paid for the overtime and we don't.

          • You think 11 hours of work every day for three months is not going to kill anyone?

            Sounds like a light grad student load.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          Mandatory overtime is legal in America

          Define "mandatory".

          • by tsqr ( 808554 )

            Mandatory overtime is legal in America

            Define "mandatory".

            OK.
            mandatory: authoritatively ordered; obligatory; compulsory

            Any other questions?

          • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @02:35PM (#55597359)

            Define "mandatory".

            If the boss says "We have a big order coming in, so everyone has to work 10 extra hours next week so we can ship on time", and you refuse, then you can be fired.

            Of course, if you have a valid reason for refusing the extra work, then you can explain that to your boss, and he would likely accommodate your needs. But that is between you and the boss, and not up to the government.

            This may not be true in all states, but there is no federal restriction on firing someone for refusing overtime work, nor do most states prohibit it.

            • If the boss says "We have a big order coming in, so everyone has to work 10 extra hours next week so we can ship on time", and you refuse, then you can be fired.

              I thought between a civilized employer and employee is an employment 'contract', not a 'slave trade'.

              If the contract said yes, then yes you work the extra hours as "mandatory". If the contract said no, then f*ck no don't work the extra hours unless there's a new agreement.

            • In Canada you are required to pay 1.5 times the standard pay (if worker makes a claim) if you work more than 44 hours/week in the province in Ontario and a max of 48 hours per week.

              http://quickbooks.intuit.ca/r/... [intuit.ca]
        • Mandatory overtime is legal in America, and is fairly common

          Only to a certain extent some jobs that require certification, a license, or fall under OSHA regulations also have rules about the number of hours someone can perform a task. A trucker get's 14 hours where he is only allowed to drive 11 hours in a 24 hour period then must have 10 hours of down time.

          It may be mandatory overtime but even if the job isn't one of the exceptions a companies liability increases as the person works longer. If someone is injured because of fatigue from working to much mandatory ove

        • Mandatory overtime is legal in America, and is fairly common, so I don't see what the big deal is here. 11 hours of work isn't going to kill anyone, and the majority likely appreciated the extra pay.

          Except for minors [oshaeducationcenter.com] and teens. Sorry about that...

          • Except for minors [oshaeducationcenter.com] and teens. Sorry about that...

            You should read your own citation. The restrictions it describes only apply to teenagers 15 yo and younger. The Chinese students in TFA are older than that, and what happened to them would have been legal in America.

        • Mandatory overtime is legal in America, and is fairly common, so I don't see what the big deal is here. 11 hours of work isn't going to kill anyone, and the majority likely appreciated the extra pay.

          Breach of contract most likely. Because of the scrutiny that Apple's labor practices get, I bet they have it in their contract with Foxconn to not pull stuff like this because it would be bad publicity. Theoretically, Foxconn has a similar contract with the factory. Now that these breach of contracts have been revealed, Apple is forced to see those contracts upheld or the breach punished or face bad PR (resulting in lost sales) for something they didn't even want to happen.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @12:51PM (#55596279)
      the definition of 'voluntary'. It's no longer voluntary if you've set up a society where you have no other viable options. This is why we don't let people sell themselves into slavery. Because if you're at the point where you're selling yourself into slavery then you're no longer at the point where anything is truly voluntary.

      Said it before, I'll say it again, you're not a free man (or woman) so long as somebody else controls your access to food, shelter and medicine. Until then you're one step away from being made to do whatever the person in charge of those things wants.
    • what will happen in scott walker's non union WI!

      When the new plant opens?? at least they will the have brat stop and mars cheese castle to pay give free stuff to help you on your 12 hour shift.

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        at least they will the have brat stop and mars cheese castle to pay give free stuff to help you on your 12 hour shift.

        What that hell happened to that sentence? Did you mean to type, "Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all"?

    • However, if it was voluntary, then I see no reason why they should have the government tell them that they can't make more money if they don't wanted to. Their body, their choice.

      Did you miss the part about how working there in the first place was a requirement to graduate their high school? That throws a bucket of cold water on any theories about how overtime was voluntary. And as for getting paid, they almost certainly are billed for housing and food until there is no actual take away pay.

      • Did the schools require overtime to graduate, or just normal working hours?
        • Did the schools require overtime to graduate, or just normal working hours?

          The schools require the kids to be sent to the factory so the administrators can get a sweet payoff. Once the kids are at the factory it's comically naive to think the school administrators care.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Their body, their choice.

      At least in US law, one is under the supervision of parents until 18. Thus, it may be the parent's choice. But poor parents may wear their kids out to merely make ends-meet, and the students' education could suffer. When freedom meets starvation and illness, the philosophy of "freedom" gets messy and ugly.

    • "A group of 3,000 students from the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School were sent to work at the local facility run by Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry, known as Foxconn, as part of a three-month stint that was billed as "work experience," and required to graduate"

      How is that voluntary? In that they volunteer to have the desire to graduate high school?

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @12:44PM (#55596213)
    Okay, Foxconn, had a rep for inhumane human labor practices, including making people stand for 12 hours assembling iphones. Foxconn doesn't change it's stripes because of a little embarrassment, and Apple know it. Much like the Gap, Joe Fresh, Blue Navy (owned by the Gap), continue to use manufacturers that quietly hire child labor no matter how many times similar scandals come up. If Apple really cared, they would stop using Foxconn whose reputation for what we consider basic human decency let alone laws relating to it, is very poor. If WE really cared about any of these issues, we would stop buying iphones (we can always get used ones if it MUST be an iphone), or better yet get a phone with an open source android derivative (Replicant, Cyanogen, LinageOS), but as people with eager faces prepare to sign either a free phone for a 3 year contract or plot $700 USD for the newest iphone, it seems pretty clear where our priorities are. And no matter how many times we see stories like this, we'll keep buying iphones. So Apple will keep using Foxconnm, who will repeat profitable inhuman labor practices.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:30PM (#55596691)

      Okay, Foxconn, had a rep for inhumane human labor practices, including making people stand for 12 hours assembling iphones. Foxconn doesn't change it's stripes because of a little embarrassment, and Apple know it. Much like the Gap, Joe Fresh, Blue Navy (owned by the Gap), continue to use manufacturers that quietly hire child labor no matter how many times similar scandals come up. If Apple really cared, they would stop using Foxconn whose reputation for what we consider basic human decency let alone laws relating to it, is very poor. If WE really cared about any of these issues, we would stop buying iphones (we can always get used ones if it MUST be an iphone), or better yet get a phone with an open source android derivative (Replicant, Cyanogen, LinageOS), but as people with eager faces prepare to sign either a free phone for a 3 year contract or plot $700 USD for the newest iphone, it seems pretty clear where our priorities are. And no matter how many times we see stories like this, we'll keep buying iphones. So Apple will keep using Foxconnm, who will repeat profitable inhuman labor practices.

      And who do you suggest Apple uses? All the other CMs are exactly the same - or worse. In fact, the Apple lines at Foxconn are generally the lines that are the most humane - Apple has forced changes in the way its products are build such that Foxconn's Apple lines really do behave quite ethically. Now, you might ask why Samsung, etc., aren't demanding the same of their CMs (who also include Foxconn), because every criticism of Apple's labour certainly applies to them.

      You could ask Apple force Foxconn to clean things up, and I'm sure Apple would actually love to. Except well, it might not be so great if Apple finds problems with the lines making competitor's products just around launch time. Imagine Apple forcing Samsung to halt Galaxy S/Note production before launch because of bad labour practices.

      And your "open source android" phone really just shows you're an android fanboy ranting, because like I said, except for very few phones out there, all the big ones have exactly the same problem. Even worse, because only Apple decided to clean house, much to the annoyance of a lot of workers (who wanted to work overtime for more money, but Apple's overtime limits prevent that).

      • Oh look some ass-hole defending Apple using slave labor....
      • I'm a "fanboy" of freedom, privacy and choice. And the reasons I specifically mentioned android VARIANTS and not Android is because I KNOW android has spy hooks in the OS (and in iOS as well). Yes most do have issues, but we do the best we can with the best knowledge we have, which I try to add on Slashdot. I'm sceptical in general and to my sadness have been proven invariably right.

        If you are actually interested in a phone that is supposedly made for public benefit (rather than government/corporate inter
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You know that APL has 200 billion in it's bank, right? It could literally build it's own manufacturing plant with overpaid unionized workers with stupidly good benefits anywhere in the world and have enough to stop selling anything and survive for at least a decade. Bringing other phones into the argument is unecessary because no other company has the liquidity and the hyper-loyal fanbase.

        No other company is in this unique position, but time and again, has proven bottom line > all. Not surprising real

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by eth1 ( 94901 )

        And who do you suggest Apple uses? All the other CMs are exactly the same - or worse.

        (speaking from a US perspective) I suggest that when we discover some company operating anywhere in such a way that would violate US labor or environmental laws if they were operating domestically, that the US totally ban imports of any products of that company, as well as other products incorporating those products, for a period matching the length of the violation plus 12 months. That means they need to be paid at least the US min. wage, etc. ("That company" to include anything in the corporate ownership

      • Apple has the power to change this. They just don't find it convenient to do so.

      • that treated workers just fine (and with the sorts of protections we expect American workers to have). They only did it because they thought being able to have a phone to market 6 months sooner (because no ocean shipping) was worth it. When those benefits didn't materialize they moved right back to China. But at no time where they ever unprofitable due to high labor costs. The labor barely factored in. But why leave money on the table when you don't have to. Indeed, if you do your shareholders will oust you
        • Just an interesting FYI, was recently told that prices of labor in China are going up. At least in renovating condos, which are typically sold to first buyers unrenovated (meaning bare concrete floors and walls), probably to lower initial purchase cost, but not really liveable unless you like living in a high altitude cave. It's pushing people who were waiting for renovation labor costs to drop, to move forward as they costs are currently going up instead. If that trend continues in other labor sectors, may
      • And who do you suggest Apple uses?

        Themselves? For being nearly a trillion dollar company, I find it amusing that Apple is a hardware manufacturer and yet doesn't own any of their own factories because it would cost them a few extra bucks.

        Lots of companies subcontract though Foxconn and other Chinese companies, but Apple gets most of the blame because they're big and popular. That's unfair. However, Apple is in a position where they could do something if they want to, and they choose not to because they're addicted to making money (and fu

      • Imagine...phones with better quality release cycles, at least from reports I'm reading on the iPhone X release.

        https://www.macworld.co.uk/new... [macworld.co.uk]
        http://www.techradar.com/news/... [techradar.com]
        https://www.engadget.com/2017/... [engadget.com]
  • made in red china now if they need an unlock on some phone how fast will get done?? faster then it takes to file paper work to fight the FBI in court?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who really believes that this isn't the case for all smart phones, of all brands? Come on, let's not be too naive. This is the sad truth of the tech world.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The bit that's crazy about this story is actually the source for the FT - It was Apple. This wasn't a bunch of journalists doing investigatory journalism and uncovering something. This was Apple did its own internal audit, discovered abuses, and punished the company carrying them out.

      I bet you won't find the other phone manufacturers busy auditing their suppliers for abuses like that.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Didn't read the article, but the summary specifically states that their own audit **found nothing wrong**. The article in question is the journalists claiming that the employees were forced to.

        So I'm not sure what you're talking about.

  • This is hardly news anymore. At a certain point we either start demanding parity in how workers are treated or just admit that an iPhone is more important. For a lot of folks for whom the iPhone gets them access to a robust social network (in the form of iMessage) the answer is the latter.
    • "At a certain point we either start demanding parity in how workers are treated or just admit that an iPhone is more important"

      I second that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    that assembled previous versions as grade schoolers?

  • I giggle when I see posts list this as you see so many people who act like they give a damn use/sponsor IPhone or other apple products. knowing the conditions they are built in and the use of child labor.... I don't really care, just dont act holier than thou
  • A few teens worked overtime on Apple phones - meanwhile on Android phone assemblers were literally abused and child labor is routine instead of irregular.

    But who cares right, because Not Apple.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:10PM (#55596445)
    If that Felix guy got practically into orbit with balloons and that juts sounds easier, safer, and cheaper, then why doesn't this guy use them? Whatever, I hope he dies.
  • Of course Apple has to keep those 2000% profit margins...

  • So, these students are "generation X"?

  • Updates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TopSpin ( 753 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:35PM (#55596733) Journal

    It's been a while since we've seen one of these stories and it appears that some new and refined rationalizations have developed. New entries checked at the end of the list. Props to scourfish, cdreimer, zippo01, SuperKendall and several ACs for your contributions.

    Apple/Foxconn worker and environmental exploitation rationalization worksheet

    Check all that apply

    [_] Making iPhones in a Chinese factory is better than being a Chinese peasant
    [_] iPhones/Pads would cost too much if I had to pay my fellow citizens to make them
    [_] iPhones/Pads would cost too much given environmental regulations I vehemently insist on for myself
    [_] All the other manufacturers are doing it too
    [_] Some/Many/Most Chinese workers appreciate 70 hour weeks and breathing my aluminum dust
    [_] It's not Apple, it's Foxconn
    [_] It's not Apple, it's the Chinese government
    [_] They should quit if they don't like it
    [_] It's just capitalism at work
    [_] It's just communism at work
    [_] Apple's disposable workers are paid better than non-Apple disposable workers
    [_] Apple's auditors didn't find any serious issues
    [_] Some day the Chinese will be too wealthy to exploit
    [_] Your Android is Foxconn too
    [_] You're an Apple hater using Apple as a scapegoat
    [_] I also work 60/80/100/120 hour weeks at my IT job
    [_] Apple designers are in the US
    [_] The US did the same thing to the British
    [_] The US had slaves once too
    [_] The US has prison labor today
    [_] It's up to the Chinese to stand up to their oppressive government
    [_] There are lines of eager workers outside Foxconn factories
    [_] If any company were to stop the exploitation, I really think it'll be Apple
    [_] Your free Linux runs on Chinese hardware too
    [_] Foxconn workers think they have it great, so it's ok!
    [_] Foxconn worker suicide rate is lower than Chicago's murder rate
    [_] Foxconn worker suicide rate is lower than China's suicide rate
    [_] We can't pollute the whole world!
    [_] Half of all US households have an Apple product
    [_] If we don't exploit them they'll never develop
    [_] The suicide's families get the insurance money
    [_] You're posting from a macbook/iphone/ipad right now
    [_] There are suicide nets on American bridges
    [_] Interns in the US don't get paid
    [_] They don't beat the workers, apparently.
    [_] Why is this news? We expect this from China.
    [_] It's their country; we have no right to judge.
    [X] If it's voluntary it's ok; their body, their choice.
    [X] Only 11 hours/day? Come over to the U.S. and do 12-hour days!
    [X] Things are tough all over; I had a job in high school.
    [X] Isn't this the case for all smart phones, of all brands?
    [X] Android phone assemblers were abused worse

    • >Making iPhones in a Chinese factory is better than being a Chinese peasant

      Actually, option one should be taken seriously.

      Maybe you get some nice warm fuzzies if you stop child labor (even child prostitution in some areas of the world), but you're probably not thinking about the fact that without that work they're probably starving beggars on the road side. Not for long though, if they're really starving.

      It's important where that could be true to worry more about providing better opportunities than atte

    • Where's the 'All of the above' check box?
  • by filesiteguy ( 695431 ) <perfectreign@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:37PM (#55596759) Homepage
    There was an article discussing the mandatory overtime and sometimes low pay for these mega factories. I am not at all surprised things haven't changed.

    https://www.wired.com/2010/11/thomas-lee-foxconn/all/1/?viewall=true
  • Welcome to the dark side Apple. Your destination was never in doubt. Just ask the citizens of Cupertino or Ireland...
  • by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:40PM (#55596809)

    I guess this is what Tim Cook meant about conquering the Chinese education market. To the victor go the spoils but surely there are UN conventions about child labour in POW camps.

    Although hopefully these Chinese students are learning to Think Different and that this will be the generation of young people that finally overthrows the one party state of their great grandparents, tired of being worker slaves for tax-avoiding California-based multinationals.

    With Trump promising to bring home manufacturing, high school students across the USA will be demanding equal opportunity. Every child will get a free iPhone as part of their education, provided they do the appropriate number of shifts at their local Apple Inc factory.

    • Totally forgot about Think Different....the reminder is chilling seeing how far removed they are from that.

  • If they are required to do that work in order to graduate, how exactly is it voluntary?

    They keep using that word, but I do not think it means what they think it means.

  • Presenteeism ftw. I am 38 years old and do the same fucking stupid shit as I did 16 years ago. I get paid more, for absolutely no reason, as I fully expect younger people to have more energy and motivation, as well as the copious spare time to learn this week's popular brand of bullshit tech.

  • Or do you want to pay $2000?

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