|Apple Under Fire for Spurning U.S. Workers|
According to an article in the NYTimes [nytimes.com], at a dinner in Silicon Valley last year Barack Obama interrupted Steve Jobs and asked:
|Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked. |
Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,”
A former Presidential adviser said this about Apple:
|“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House. |
“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”
The reason is because they feel the scale of the work, the speed at which it can be done plus the lower cost means the work cannot be done in America. But the real reason is that the work can't be done under the horrific conditions Apple can get away with in other countries. Apple contracts nearly 700,000 people outside of America.
|One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves... |
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames.
How much human suffering and exploitation is ok to make Apple products? The CEO of the Chinese company that makes Apple products regards his employees as animals: [businessinsider.com]
|"Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache," said Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou... adding that he wants to learn from Chin Shih-chien, director of Taipei Zoo, regarding how animals should be managed. |
After Apple was shamed into looking at the labor practices and found instances of slave labor, child laborers and workers forced to work over 60 hours per week:
|In the course of the 229 audits, Apple said it discovered several violations, including instances of underage labor at five facilities. Apple said it required the suppliers to support the young workers to return to school and to improve their management systems to add age-verification procedures. Apple also said it found instances of involuntary labor and stopped working with one of suppliers involved. |
Apple also discovered at least 90 factories with records showing workers were exceeding its maximum of 60 hours a week and at least one day of rest per seven days of work. The company found violations of anti-discrimination rules for workers who were pregnant or had hepatitis B. Apple said it made the suppliers end the discriminatory screenings.
Apple is the current focus because it released it's report publicly (I don't see other companies which use the same suppliers releasing such reports), but it's not just Apple. And - Look to Walmart as the company which started significant outsourcing to China and other low wage countries years ago. Walmart's model became a story of corporate praise on how they "lowered costs".
A new online petition by Watchdog group SumOfUs [news.cnet.com] is calling for Apple to create an ethical iPhone, recognizing that the current iPhone is the product of unethical labor policies.
|The petition, which the group says garnered more than 35,000 signatures in its first 24 hours, asks Apple to "overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers..." |
"If Tim Cook is really offended by these allegations, why isn't he doing anything to fix the problems?" Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs, asked in a statement. "This is the supply chain he set up as COO--he needs to start taking responsibility, not blaming the messenger."
I'm sure all Android phones are made in the U.S. by highly paid individuals that have a great work environment that allows them to only work 7 hours a day with 15 minute breaks every hour.
|I'm sure all Android phones are made in the U.S. by highly paid individuals that have a great work environment that allows them to only work 7 hours a day with 15 minute breaks every hour. |
No doubt. And try finding a TV made in USA.
I am not defending Apple, but we brought this upon ourselves by wanting more things and wanting them cheaper. So this should not surprise anyone. It still amazes me that products, especially large items, can be manufactured in China, shipped across the Pacific, trucked across the US, and still be cheaper than having it made in the US.
I don't think "others are doing the same" or "somewhere else it's worse" has ever been a valid excuse.
Working conditions are part of what defines the quality of a product in my opinion. And taking this into account Apple products are of inferior quality.
I don't think however that it is a bad thing to manufacture in China or in developing countries in general as long as the working conditions are ok.