Apple Responds to CNN Report on Factory Working Conditions in China

Even with the release of its Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, Apple continues to be targeted by the media. The New York Times wrote a lengthy piece that Tim Cook vehemently responded to, and now CNN has their own report that includes interviews with employees from Foxconn, responsible for manufacturing iPhones and iPads:

After three weeks of applying more than 4,000 stickers a day onto iPad screens by hand and working 60 hours a week in an assembly line, Chen says she’s ready to go back to school and study hard so she’ll never have to return to Foxconn.

“It’s so boring, I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday is like: I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It is my daily routine and I almost feel like an animal,” said Ms. Chen, who aspires to become a biologist.

When asked why humans do machine-like work at Foxconn, she responds, “Well, humans are cheaper.”

Within the report, Apple surprisingly responded to CNN. Here’s what they had to say:

“We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made. Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple.”

Apple officials also noted last month it became the first company admitted to the Fair Labor Association, “a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving conditions for workers around the world.”

It’s a delicate issue when it comes to factory working conditions in China, as companies such as Foxconn implement razor thin margins to retain Apple contracts and in the process marginalize their workforce.

Many claim the life of a factory worker is ultimately better than toiling in the fields, which requires more work and less pay. Apple claims to hold a higher standard for its suppliers and its recent report is transparent evidence of that.

Can we say the same for other tech companies that employ workers at Foxconn? It would be interesting to learn about the conditions of a Kindle or Xbox assembly line worker. What’s the solution? Stop buying anything ‘Made in China’?

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