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Apple Faces New China Worker Abuse Claims

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the here-we-go-again dept.

China 158

AmiMoJo writes "Technology giant Apple is facing fresh allegations of worker rights violations at Chinese factories of one of its suppliers, the Pegatron Group. China Labor Watch has alleged that three factories of Pegatron violate a 'great number of international and Chinese laws and standards.' These include underage labour, contract violations and excessive working hours. Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, claimed that 'our investigations have shown that labour conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories.' The campaign group said that it had found that average weekly working hours in the three factories investigated by it were approximately 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, respectively."

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158 comments

Are you sure it was China? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415593)

Are you sure it was a Chinese company? It could be mine...

Re:Are you sure it was China? (5, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about 9 months ago | (#44415817)

The company (Pegatron) isn't Chinese. They're Taiwanese. The factories, however, are in China.

Pegatron used to be the manufacturing division of ASUS. They spun them off, but still do a lot of manufacturing for ASUS and just about everybody else. This isn't really an Apple problem: everybody uses these companies for manufacturing, it's an industry-wide problem.

Re:Are you sure it was China? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416057)

Which is fueled by this insane race for profits without regard for the worker's conditions or well being.
Capitalism is a dirty word and only spells misery. Ill buy Apple the day where their products are US made and workers have decent conditions.
This is an insanity that we consumers can ultimately defeat by refusing to buy products made exploiting the workers.
Maybe it's time for our " ethical dollar " to speak .

Re:Are you sure it was China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416111)

I'm assuming you're also refusing to buy a Dell, HP, Lenovo, or any other PC, a smartphone or tablet, or... wait a minute, how are you replying to this post, anyways?

Re:Are you sure it was China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416227)

Capitalism is a dirty word and only spells misery. Ill buy Apple the day where their products are US made and workers have decent conditions.

Enjoy your new MacPro [apple.com] then.

Re:Are you sure it was China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417279)

Heh heh

Re:Are you sure it was China? (3, Informative)

ewibble (1655195) | about 9 months ago | (#44417551)

It says it is "designed and assembled in the US."

to me that means Designed in US, built in China, they put the case lid on in the US.

May be I am a bit cynical?

Re:Are you sure it was China? (1)

dk20 (914954) | about 9 months ago | (#44417971)

Is this a case of "final assembly in the US" to get the "made in the USA" stamp or actually made in the US?

Re: Are you sure it was China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416645)

If you think this way, then almost any product from asia has inhumanity story behind. To be specific this is how captialism works. You live and enjoy on someones' misery. I am very much from from that region, and i know this very well. Leave this hypocracy as we all know how the world is running.

Re:Are you sure it was China? (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 9 months ago | (#44416083)

>This isn't really an Apple problem: everybody uses these companies for manufacturing, it's an industry-wide problem.

Isn't this always the case? Apple is a well-known and envied brand, so they get the blame for something that's a problem with the entire industry.

It does at least bring attention to the problem, but doing so honestly would be a lot better.

Disclosure: I own an iPod Touch, but my phone and multiple tablets are Android devices. Not an Apple Fanboi.

Re:Are you sure it was China? (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | about 9 months ago | (#44416519)

>This isn't really an Apple problem: everybody uses these companies for manufacturing, it's an industry-wide problem.

Isn't this always the case? Apple is a well-known and envied brand, so they get the blame for something that's a problem with the entire industry.

But Apple's image and brand is of a better, more responsible company -- that's part of the justification for the higher price. "Everyone else does it" might be true, but the statement was "we thought you were better".

Re:Are you sure it was China? (1, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#44416619)

But Apple's image and brand is of a better, more responsible company -- that's part of the justification for the higher price. "Everyone else does it" might be true, but the statement was "we thought you were better".

Apple ARE better.
http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/accountability.html [apple.com]

Re:Are you sure it was China? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417009)

As usual, when something negative is uttered about Apple, it's BasilBrush to the rescue.

What a non story! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416019)

The company name is Megatron, and they didn't expect evil?

Oh, Pegatron.

Any more accurate than the Foxconn stories? (0, Offtopic)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#44415615)

If it wasn't for all the false reporting about conditions at Foxconn, I might take this seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Daisey [wikipedia.org]

Apples to Oranges (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 9 months ago | (#44415707)

If it wasn't for all the false reporting about conditions at Foxconn, I might take this seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Daisey [wikipedia.org]

"All the false reporting" was one nutjob who was confusing journalism with stage performance. A stark difference between Mike Daisey and China Labor Watch is their falsifiable report [chinalaborwatch.org] that, unlike Daisey's heart wrenching anecdotal stories, can be checked.

Examples:

At Pegatron, over 10,000 underage and student workers (interns), from 16 to 20 years of age, work in crowded production rooms, doing the same work as formal, adult workers. But some students are paid lower wages because schools deduct fees for the internship, while other students will not have their wages paid to them on time.

CLW’s investigations revealed at least 86 labor rights violations, including 36 legal violations and 50 ethical violations. The violations fall into 15 categories: dispatch labor abuse, hiring discrimination, women’s rights violations, underage labor, contract violations, insufficient worker training, excessive working hours, insufficient wages, poor working conditions, poor living conditions, difficulty in taking leave, labor health and safety concerns, ineffective grievance channels, abuse by management, and environmental pollution.

Did you read the report? It's got hard numbers and straight up accusations with defined conditions that can be checked. It's not like "I met a little girl who polished my iPhone." Instead it's like "A dorm room at Pegatron can accommodate 12 people. From Monday to Friday, residents have to clock-in within 24 hours or else they will be considered checked out of the dorm." or "The Pegatron factories had a list of discriminatory hiring practices, including refusing to hire people shorter than 4 foot 11 inches tall, pregnant women, those older than 35, people with tattoos, or people of the Hui, Tibetan, or Uighur ethnic groups."

Oranges all the way down (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44415825)

"All the false reporting" was one nutjob who was confusing journalism with stage performance.

No it's not. It's tons of reports about factories in China that are talking generally about everything a factory works on, without distinguishing the parts that are actually having Apple products produced - because Apple has standards about worker treatment that few other companies have.

At Pegatron, over 10,000 underage and student workers (interns), from 16 to 20 years of age, work in crowded production rooms

Note they never claim those are places where Apple products are being worked on. It's easy to imaging that a factory would meet Apple's factory conditions in one facility but not in a building assembling products for other companies that don't impose standards for workers.

Just like with Daisy or Greenpeace or the other people that have made allegations about factories in China, they all attach the Apple name to get attention even if Apple is not involved. Daisy was not a "nutjob", he was just less careful than others doing the same thing.

From the very article in question, Apple says:

"However, Apple disputed those claims, saying that it had closely tracked working hours at all of these facilities."

Apple is in far better position to know what actual hours worked are than a third party group.

Re:Oranges all the way down (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#44416135)

Daisy was not a "nutjob", he was just less careful than others doing the same thing.

Since when is intentionally fabricating evidence "just less careful"?

Re:Oranges all the way down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416963)

Since the others were also intentionally fabricating things, and applying every level of truth contortion/exageration that they could too, they just did a better job of hiding it.

Re:Oranges all the way down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416197)

Apple is in far better position to know what actual hours worked are than a third party group.

Yes, and they also have a vested interest in lying. While it's unfortunate that nobody involved can't be trusted, that doesn't mean you trust the liar from home. The logical thing to do is to not trust any of them.

Re:Oranges all the way down (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#44416397)

Just like with Daisy or Greenpeace or the other people that have made allegations about factories in China, they all attach the Apple name to get attention even if Apple is not involved. Daisy was not a "nutjob", he was just less careful than others doing the same thing.

I remember "hundreds of workers threaten suicide at iPhone factory". Why? "They are afraid of losing their jobs because of reduced Xbox production".

Re:Apples to Oranges (0, Redundant)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 9 months ago | (#44416077)

Did you read the report? It's got hard numbers and straight up accusations with defined conditions that can be checked. It's not like "I met a little girl who polished my iPhone." Instead it's like "A dorm room at Pegatron can accommodate 12 people. From Monday to Friday, residents have to clock-in within 24 hours or else they will be considered checked out of the dorm." or "The Pegatron factories had a list of discriminatory hiring practices, including refusing to hire people shorter than 4 foot 11 inches tall, pregnant women, those older than 35, people with tattoos, or people of the Hui, Tibetan, or Uighur ethnic groups."

Didn't read the report, but if that's the worst you can dig out of the report then it sounds like this China Labor Watch is trying really hard to attract attention to itself when there's not much there worthy of attention.

4 foot 11, really? So they don't hire midgets that can't grab parts off a shelf... discriminatory and evil! Well my grandpa at 5 foot 11 was not allowed to fly fighter planes because the Air Corps said he was too tall. Where's the outrage? My poor grandpa was discriminated!

Dorm room that can accommodate 12 people, but not saying how big that dorm room is. Is it the size of a closet, or is it a big dorm room? Because our servicemen sleep in dorm rooms with hundreds of beds, and I don't hear much whining from the press.

Not hiring pregnant women. I'm guessing if they DID hire pregnant women, we would be seeing in this report much outrage about the exploitation of pregnant women in sweatshop factories that jeopardize their health.

No Tibetans or Uighurs. Is it because Pegatron hates Tibetans, or is it because there aren't any Tibetans showing up at Job Fair? Shanghai is pretty damn far from Tibet and there aren't that many Tibetans in existence to begin with.

Are any of these things illegal in China? Would the average Chinese bat an eye hearing these accusations? I'm no expert on Chinese labor laws or Chinese culture but I'm guessing No, and that these are pretty typical in the Chinese workplace.

Re:Apples to Oranges (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416339)

Didn't read the report, but if that's the worst you can dig out of the report then it sounds like this China Labor Watch is trying really hard to attract attention to itself when there's not much there worthy of attention.

Good because if you did you would realize how fucking ignorant the rest of your post was.

From the first fucking sentence of TFA: China Labor Watch, has alleged that three factories of Pegatron violate a "great number of international and Chinese laws and standards".

Turns out there _are_ laws in China, as well as laws to which China must abide in order to export goods internationally. These are the laws they are alleged to be breaking, including discrimination and imposing excessive/overcrowded work conditions.

Re:Apples to Oranges (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44416657)

4 foot 11, really? So they don't hire midgets that can't grab parts off a shelf... discriminatory and evil!

In a factory with many workers they can easily assign people to appropriate tasks, or provide a step. In the west this kind of discrimination is illegal, and it is also supposed to be in China.

Not hiring pregnant women. I'm guessing if they DID hire pregnant women, we would be seeing in this report much outrage about the exploitation of pregnant women in sweatshop factories that jeopardize their health.

Pregnant women need employment and are not invalids. Legislation prevents even asking if a woman is pregnant. If you think it is due to health and safety or something you are deluded, it is simply because they don't want them to quit or take maternity leave.

No Tibetans or Uighurs. Is it because Pegatron hates Tibetans, or is it because there aren't any Tibetans showing up at Job Fair?

Your reading comprehension skills are pathetic. The quote you are replying to quotes the report directly, which clearly states that they discriminate deliberately. The fact that they needed to create this discriminatory rule suggests that they were in fact getting applications from those areas and ethnic groups.

Are any of these things illegal in China?

Yes.

Re:Apples to Oranges (1, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#44416499)

"All the false reporting" was one nutjob who was confusing journalism with stage performance.

No, that was just one example. Another is for example the reports of suicides at Foxconn factories. Very widely reported. Except none of the reporters checked the numbers. If you you divide the number of suicides by the number of employees, you get the suicide rate. ANd it turns out that the Foxconn suicide rate from those figures is lower than the suicide rate for not only CHina as a whole, but also it's lower than the US suicide rate.

All in all, the facts are that Apple enforces higher ethical standards on it's suppliers than any other tech company. Yet because anything Apple is newsworthy, we have a mix of muckraking and click-baiting claiming things that are the opposite of the truth.

And I'm sorry, but there's nothing about "Child Labour Watch" that raises it above the rest of the noise.

Re:Apples to Oranges (1)

scot4875 (542869) | about 9 months ago | (#44417055)

And I'm sorry, but there's nothing about "Child Labour Watch" that raises it above the rest of the noise.

LA LA LA I can't hear you! LA LA LA!

The story here, as usual, is that Apple is no better than anybody else. And everybody seems to know this except you.

--Jeremy

Re:Any more accurate than the Foxconn stories? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415773)

That's like not taking the war seriously because of a foxnews article about it.

Re:Any more accurate than the Foxconn stories? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415813)

If it wasn't for all the false reporting about conditions at Foxconn, I might take this seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Daisey [wikipedia.org]

The problem with Mike Daisey is that way too fucking many people consider "This American Life" to be journalistic instead of anecdotal (which is what the piece from Daisey clearly falls into). While TAL has much more self-imposed rigor than most op/ed outlets, that still doesn't mean you should treat their pieces like they are headline news. It's white folks riffing on how goddamn hard life is, plain and simple. Read more into it at your own peril.

Disclaimer: I am an avid TAL listener and fan.

Re:Any more accurate than the Foxconn stories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417941)

anecdotal does not mean blatant lying.

no one actually cares, (2)

maliqua (1316471) | about 9 months ago | (#44415621)

not enough to stop buying ipods and whatever other trendy shit is important to social status right now

Re:no one actually cares (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415759)

Yeah, iPods are *really* trendy these days. So are fax machines!

That aside, everyone knows that "being trendy" is the only reason that people would buy Apple products. It doesn't have anything to do with preferring the way a product works, what an OS does, the design of the hardware, or actually being okay with the dreaded Walled Garden (Bzzzzzzt! Not allowed for Orthodox Slashdot Readers and Posters).

Nope, it's just to look like a hipster.

Re:no one actually cares (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415823)

yep only reason

Re:no one actually cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415827)

Nope, it's just to look like a hipster.

Pretty much.

Re:no one actually cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416709)

Cute, but my android phone friends were making fun of my iPhone this weekend. I looked at them and said, you guys know I build custom PCs, am comfortable with Linux and Windows. You know I have android installed on my Nook. You know I can program for several different environments. So why do I have an iPhone? Because I want one god damn device that if it doesn't work I can just take it to a store and say "fix this, bitches" and not have to know anything about it or care. Apple provides the customer service that neither AT&T nor Verizon ever provided for me.

Of course they carry around Galaxy SIII with an external battery held on by a cover which makes their batteries last for days, but also makes their phones weigh two pounds. Mine comes in at under 4 ounces. Slightly more with a case. That's what I want. I don't worry about the charge because I charge while driving and have an external battery for emergencies.

So we have different needs when it comes to phones.

As far as it being "trendy" or "look[ing] like a hipster" that's just nonsense. That hasn't been the case since about the iPhone 3. No one other than anti-apple fanbois GAF these days.

Apple supplier, better than a union (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 9 months ago | (#44415629)

In China, workers don't need unions, they just need to be an Apple supplier, and get China Labor Watch to give them a poor report on workplace conditions. Then, the world will force Apple to force the supplier to address the issues (or hide them better).

Re:Apple supplier, better than a union (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 9 months ago | (#44415797)

In China, workers don't need unions, they just need to be an Apple supplier, and get China Labor Watch to give them a poor report on workplace conditions. Then, the world will force Apple to force the supplier to address the issues (or hide them better).

And then Apple will then take the world on and declare themselves to be the police on Chinese labor, and be able to shut down any factory that is not up to Apple's standards.

Apple will walk into whatever factory Samsung uses, conduct a surprise audit, and declare them to be not to Apple's standards and to be shut down until it's brought up to spec.

After all, the Foxconn lines making Apple products have improved, but the other Foxconn lines for HP and everyone else hasn't.

Pegatron (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415631)

No. Apple does not. A supplier that Apple uses, Pegatron, does.

I know Apple generates more page views than Pegatron but can we please try for a vague hint of accuracy in the article summaries.

Re:Pegatron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417007)

No. Apple does not. A supplier that Apple uses, Pegatron, does.

Fine. Apple faces claims that it uses worker abuses to manufacture its products.

Apple is rotten to the core (0, Flamebait)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about 9 months ago | (#44415635)

What the world needs to realize is that no pun intended, Apple is rotten to the core. They are just as evil as Monsanto. They are just as evil as every other evil company. Just because Steve Jobs was awesome does not make Apple awesome. They abuse their workers.

Re:Apple is rotten to the core (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415641)

apple is the worst part of america, and that says a lot america is a terrible terrible place filled with shallow and greedy people

Re:Apple is rotten to the core (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415779)

You're right, Apple is clearly the big issue here.

  There are no other tech companies that use foxconn and pegatron (oh wait, no, pretty much every tech company in the world goes via these factories).
  All the other tech companies do much more to check out the conditions where things are being produced (oh wait, no, Apple are the ones sending teams in to check out what's going on, in randomized inspections, and actually canceling factories' contracts).
  Apple aren't moving manufacturing to their own facilities in the US, because of the issues with these factories (oh wait, no, the new MacPro is 100% US manufactured, because they are moving manufacturing there).

yes... clearly Apple are the issue here.

Re:Apple is rotten to the core (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416219)

Mod up for insightful sarcasm.

I think you misunderstood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416277)

Apple isn't the worst part of america because they exploit the 3rd world, everyone does that, apple is the worst part of america because:

Both apple and america largest contributions to the world are vanity greed and consumerism

Re:Apple is rotten to the core (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415799)

Because Foxconn and Pegatron do no business with any other customers than Apple.

More baseless Apple bashing, water is still wet. Everyone loves to hate a winner.

Who is better then? (1, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44415865)

What the world needs to realize is that no pun intended, Apple is rotten to the core

Why?

Apple is the only technical company to actually provide reports on factory conditions, and impose worker limits on factories assembling for them.

If you think Apple is rotten, why are you not out complaining about EVERY other technical compan, which is far worse?

Whatever you are typing on was produced under worse conditions than Apple assembly workers face. The same is true of whatever display you are looking at, and the computer processing your words.

If you really meant what you said you would throw out everything and crawl into a forest. But you don't, you apply one standard to Apple and a far, far lower standard to every other company on earth.

Did you every stop to think that by demonizing the only company that is trying to improve worker conditions that you are actually screwing over the Chinese workers? If Apple went into a bug decline Chinese factories could go back to horrendous overtime and lower worker conditions as they pleased, because they would be back to working only for companies that did not care about how things were assembled...

Re:Who is better then? (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about 9 months ago | (#44415945)

::Apple is the only technical company to actually provide reports on factory conditions, and impose worker limits on factories assembling for them. Nice of them. Of course, those same condition would be illegal in the US. They are still terrible condiions in china, report or no report.

Re:Who is better then? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#44416497)

::Apple is the only technical company to actually provide reports on factory conditions, and impose worker limits on factories assembling for them. Nice of them. Of course, those same condition would be illegal in the US. They are still terrible condiions in china, report or no report.

What conditions exactly would be illegal in the USA? There may some minimum wage, but that is based relative to the cost of living, which is a lot lower in China. For example, do you think it would be illegal to offer cheap housing in dorms, which makes it possible for workers to safe more than half their wages?

Re:Apple is rotten to the core (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415923)

You mean like Google? Lets all say this together, Google, Along with Apple and other big corps are evil...That wasn't so hard, google is more an insidious, extremely evil company where as Apple is just evil.

Apple Faces New China Worker Abuse Claims (0)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about 9 months ago | (#44415643)

::Apple Faces New China Worker Abuse Claims They sill are reeling from the old claim!! Apple = Evil

EA Developers flooding their HR (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415649)

Came to see comments about EA developers flooding into facility to work only sixty hours a week!

Re:EA Developers flooding their HR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415859)

even Chinese forced labor camps wouldn't want those programmers

Re:EA Developers flooding their HR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416125)

le back to reddit

Why focus on Apple? (5, Insightful)

hambone142 (2551854) | about 9 months ago | (#44415673)

Several other computer manufacturers use Foxconn and Pegatron. H.P. is one of them for example. We get the behavior we measure. Cost cutting is the constant mantra of U.S. corporate management. We turn a blind eye to such practices. I won't even get in to the pollution issue they cause in China.

Re:Why focus on Apple? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 9 months ago | (#44415979)

Two reasons.

First, customer base. HP is a rather boring company, and most of their customers are medium and large businesses bulk-purchasing hardware. They couldn't care less about some workers in China, but they do care about the pricing. Apple, OTOH, has more individual customers, and in particular a large number of that type of vegan "fair trade" coffee drinking hipster. This is precisely the kind of audience that can be efficiently targeted with emotional appeal, and would respond to it by pushing back onto the company.

Second, finances. Apple is widely known as a wildly successful technological company. With the kinds of profits that they report every quarter, they can't say that their margins are too low, or something along those lines.

Its consumers not corporate management ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416123)

Several other computer manufacturers use Foxconn and Pegatron. H.P. is one of them for example.

We get the behavior we measure. Cost cutting is the constant mantra of U.S. corporate management. We turn a blind eye to such practices. I won't even get in to the pollution issue they cause in China.

To blame things solely on US corporate management is erroneous. Consumers have a huge role in this. Over many decades consumers have rewarded companies that cut cost by off shoring jobs and external costs like pollution and punished companies that tried to maintain domestic manufacture where there is better regulatory oversight. Over these decades a darwinian process took place, only those managers willing to off shore jobs and external costs "survived", by being rewarded with sales. But who decides which company gets rewarded with a sale, its is the *consumer*.

Its a classic tragedy of the commons example. My little purchase won't make any difference ... look this t-shirt/flashlight/frying pan is a few dollars cheaper.

This includes us geeks. When you buy that inexpensive motherboard or video card today do you look beyond the specs and into the employment and environmental practices of the company? Most do not. Most reward companies whose practices they would disapprove off. Just as most US consumers have been doing since the 1970s.

Those who try to blame it solely on the CEOs are in denial. Consumers drive the system through their purchasing decisions. Consumers chose which CEOs will succeed and which will fail through their purchasing decisions. Until consumers recognize their role in the current situation and the power they wield nothing will change.

Only one employee? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44415683)

So Apple has only one worker in all of China?

If not, then surely it should be "Chinese worker abuse claims".

iToys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415703)

The wages of deindustrialization in La La land ....

One wonders if outfits like Pegatron have been growing as a result of Foxconn scrutiny.

Why always picking on Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415723)

Not saying Apple is not doing things wrong, but they are doing it better then most of their competitors.

Re:Why always picking on Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415831)

Because it is en vogue to hate success of other people. See: Occupy Wall Street.

Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (5, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 9 months ago | (#44415785)

These are the actions of the Pegatron Group, a separate company from Apple that like FoxConn is a contractor. So why is it claimed that Apple that is mistreating workers? And why the exclusive focus on Apple when other high profile tech companies, including direct competitors who use these same companies with workers receiving the same treatment at those plants?

I suppose the most likely reason is because Apple is seen as the lead brand in consumer technology, and by slamming Apple in the press, they prompt Apple into action, but it also seems that by focusing on Apple, they unfairly saddle Apple with the cost of fixing this than the industry as a whole.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (3, Insightful)

dwightk (415372) | about 9 months ago | (#44415885)

What is the difference in projected traffic volume for an article with the headline
"Pegatron faces China worker abuse claim"

vs.

"Apple faces new China worker abuse claim"

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415911)

Ad revenue.

Why tell the truth when lying brings in more eyeballs?

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416127)

Considering apple has some of the highest margins in the industry and pays effectively no tax in the US, it would be nice if they did something for the betterment of the community for once ... ever .

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 9 months ago | (#44416159)

So why is it claimed that Apple that is mistreating workers?

Stop it. Do you really think Apple is invested in ensuring the quality of life of the people? Besides, they made the commitment FTFA: "Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain. "

If Apple was serious about getting these conditions improved, they would be proactive about, not reactive. They only do something about it when they get bad press about it and then they basically hire a 3rd party to say "Oh, everything is OK. It's just a handful of troublemakers jumping off the building to make Apple look bad"

Also, understand Microsoft and Dell were implicated in TFA as well. It's business as usual in the US and abroad -- US companies in general give no more f-cks about Chinese workers as they did about american workers when they made a mass exodus offshore to exploit all the cheap labor and lax environmental standards.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (1, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#44416453)

If Apple was serious about getting these conditions improved, they would be proactive about, not reactive. They only do something about it when they get bad press about it and then they basically hire a 3rd party to say "Oh, everything is OK. It's just a handful of troublemakers jumping off the building to make Apple look bad"

From what I hear, they are quite proactive actually. They just didn't tell the world until accusation, including some completely made up accusations, kept flying at them.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44417161)

So what you are saying is that they are incompetent. They try hard, but fail.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416517)

If Apple was serious about getting these conditions improved, they would be proactive about, not reactive. They only do something about it when they get bad press about it and then they basically hire a 3rd party to say "Oh, everything is OK. It's just a handful of troublemakers jumping off the building to make Apple look bad"

You're right, they're not moving Manufacturing to the US... oh wait, they are, the new MacPro will be 100% US manufactured.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 9 months ago | (#44416191)

Californians want to have their cake and eat it too. And the worst part is, this culture of absolute idealism that much of California embodies is spreading.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 9 months ago | (#44416221)

Oh, and before anybody tells me it's a New York-based "watchdog" group, Apple's based in California, and it's Californians who're most up in arms about these kinds of things.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 9 months ago | (#44416313)

Californians get to have their cake and eat it too.

Fixed that for you. Stay away from this place. Earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides every day. Gays always trying to marry you. Beautiful women forced to take actressing jobs. Really, you don't want to come here.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416203)

You're exactly right there. Shaming a major company about one of its contractors is a way of convincing them to move to better contractors. It may be a bit unfair to single a company out while they are only tangentially responsible, it's the easiest way to spread the word about the social injustice that's going on. If you saw this as pegatron group was accused of abusing workers, your next thought is probably - why should i care about this company? how does this affect me? - and then, you find out that they are a supplier of apple products, which you probably own, and both of those questions are answered. So apple serves as a name drop, and to be fair, they should probably be (and actually are) careful about who they hire.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416369)

Because for two decades Apple made a big deal about how American it was as a company.

Fact is, they're no different than anybody else these days and people are still very disappointed about it. Hence the vitriol.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44416755)

Two reasons.

Apple claims to be making an effort to prevent this kind of abuse, yet here is solid evidence that they are either failing to do so or lying.

Apple pay these companies to do work for them. Rather than doing it themselves they employ others. Just because they are not on Apple's payroll directly does not mean Apple bares some responsibility for their actions.

Re:Why is constantly Apple vilified for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417459)

Because MSFT doesn't sell enough Surface units to matter.

Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Conditions. (2, Interesting)

siphonophore (158996) | about 9 months ago | (#44415803)

The country I live in (USA, you may have heard of it) once counted abundant, low cost labor as a comparative economic advantage. At that time, we exploited this advantage, which resulted in a sustained economic boom, accompanied by exploding output, and eventually the creation of a middle class. Our middle class then organized themselves and enforced much better working conditions. This eliminated our labor cost advantage, but we were able to make do with productivity improvements and a shift to services.

Imagine if, say, the UK meddled in our business in the 1880s and forced us to improve factory conditions prematurely. Our growth would have been slowed and the eventual creation of the middle class would have been delayed. A well-meaning effort to improve the lives of a few then would have hurt the quality of life for many later.

Those who criticize Chinese working conditions are either ignorant of economics and history or have an agenda to hold China back.

Further Reading:
http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-problem-with-sweatshops-is-that-there-are-not-enough-of-them-discuss/ [hamiltoninstitute.com]

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#44415867)

Those who criticize Chinese working conditions are either ignorant of economics and history or have an agenda to hold China back.

Well, yes. Many of the people demanding 'better working conditions' in China seem to believe that, if they can increase manufacturing costs in China, manufacturing jobs will magically return to America. In reality, they'll go elsewhere in Asia, and most work that does return to America will be done by machines.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415931)

Yeah, but the typical opinion here is that low cost labor in China is a bad thing (throw in low quality and other negatives to taste).

Love this part: Are either ignorant of economics and history or have an agenda to hold China back.

Too True.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 9 months ago | (#44416061)

Imagine if, say, the UK meddled in our business in the 1880s and forced us to improve factory conditions prematurely. Our growth would have been slowed and the eventual creation of the middle class would have been delayed. A well-meaning effort to improve the lives of a few then would have hurt the quality of life for many later.

Your equation is faulty, because you use words like "few" and "many" on a very ad-hoc basis without quantifying them. Why, exactly, would "few" be affected, and not the entire worker base? And why should those "few" be forced to sacrifice their life quality for the sake of some other "many"? If you know anything about the history of sweatshops in US and Europe, those places were real hell; we'd probably consider them outright torture in some cases, in fact.

And the abundance of cheap labor, aside from a "sustained economic boom", has a lot of externalities, since in many cases it is cheaper for a capitalist to buy the disposable labor than to actually invest into safety practices or better automation. And then you get stuff like this [ancestry.com] . Again, who are you to decide that those people need suffer such for the sake of future generations?

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 9 months ago | (#44416185)

We cheer on labor rights in China, but complain about unions in the US. Maybe it's the balance, I don't know. But, it seems hypocritical.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#44416299)

We cheer on labor rights in China, but complain about unions in the US. Maybe it's the balance, I don't know. But, it seems hypocritical.

US unions seem to be among the biggest cheerleaders for 'labor rights' in China, presumably becuase they're the ones who expect to benefit from increasing Chinese manufacturing costs.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416663)

We cheer on labor rights in China, but complain about unions in the US. Maybe it's the balance, I don't know. But, it seems hypocritical.

It's mostly different people doing the complaining.

But the positions are not mutually exclusive. The adversarial relations between worker's unions and management is not sustainable. Unions are the economic equivalent of revolutionaries (sometimes they're necessary but you can't run your day to day affairs with constant threat of sudden and significant change). There are other ways to support worker's rights besides supporting unions, notably government regulation.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 9 months ago | (#44416459)

Imagine if, say, the UK meddled in our business in the 1880s and forced us to improve factory conditions prematurely. Our growth would have been slowed and the eventual creation of the middle class would have been delayed.

That is far from an indisputable argument:
1. Working conditions in the UK were not all that different from working conditions in the US over the same period. For example, child labor was legal in both the US and the UK until well into the 20th century.
2. An overall growth in wealth does not necessarily create a middle class - you also need the distribution of that wealth to be even enough that those who are not members of the investor class are not living hand-to-mouth. If you want an example of a rising tide not really lifting all boats, look at what happened to GDP versus wage growth [lanekenworthy.net] since 1975.
3. You're completely ignoring trade unions and government regulation, both of which changed policies dramatically.
4. I'm not sure which period of the middle class you're talking about, but if it's the one from the 1950's, you also have to factor in the lack of able-bodied men and the G.I. Bill.
5. There was another significant comparative advantage in play for the US in the 1880's: Many of the raw materials for the products of US factories were from the US, so manufacturing in the US cut transportation costs. If you're raising cattle in Colorado, it's far easier to make that into ground beef in Chicago than it is to ship cattle to Birmingham. If you're mining iron in upper Michigan, it makes more sense to do your smelting in Cleveland or Detroit than it does to ship it to Bath before smelting.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416669)

The country I live in (USA, you may have heard of it) once counted abundant, low cost labor as a comparative economic advantage. At that time, we exploited this advantage, which resulted in a sustained economic boom, accompanied by exploding output, and eventually the creation of a middle class.

Nevermind the almost perversely abundant natural resources (Coal, oil, natural gas, ore, fresh water, wood, transports, arable/buildable land, the list goes on) it was surely all thanks to fortuitously exploiting our workers!

If China wants to maintain the absolute worst conditions imaginable (short of literally enslaving/killing people) then more power to them. If they want to do so and sell their goods on the global market, there is no reason we should stand for it (we will just slap them around with tariffs). Our goods were tariffed at first, too.

Re:Want to hurt Chinese workers? Improve Condition (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44416971)

Alternatively you might just have become like Germany, where manufacturing is strong but wages are reasonable and conditions are generally good. You might have moved towards the kind of service economy you have now. After all, the way the UK would have "meddled" would have been though consumers demanding products that are ethically manufactured, and by being willing to pay for them. Apple products are quite expensive anyway, but even with things like basic foodstuffs people are willing to pay for Fair Trade or free-range.

What's the price of a Fair Trade iPhone? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 9 months ago | (#44415837)

I think a lot of this hand-wringing is just masturbation unless we can see what something like an iPhone completely made in the USA or under Fair Trade conditions would cost. It's easy to for a Westerner to feel righteous indignation about these working conditions in China. However, I want to see how many people will put their money where their mouth is when they are required to pay based upon first world manufacturing costs.

Re:What's the price of a Fair Trade iPhone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415961)

I think a lot of this hand-wringing is just masturbation unless we can see what something like an iPhone completely made in the USA or under Fair Trade conditions would cost. It's easy to for a Westerner to feel righteous indignation about these working conditions in China. However, I want to see how many people will put their money where their mouth is when they are required to pay based upon first world manufacturing costs.

$20 more. It would cost about $20 more to have built it paying Us labor wages. There were a flurry of articles on this last year, but the short version is it's not labor costs, it's labor conditions. Specifically that in China, you can wake up the Pullman town stuff in the middle of the night and make them work double shifts at the drop of a hat, without and meaningful (by US standards) worker protections. The Chinese aren't better or faster or even much cheaper, but they'll be obedient little serfs and the government won't stop you from treating them as such.

http://www.epi.org/blog/apple-iphone-profits-dwarf-labor-costs/

Re:What's the price of a Fair Trade iPhone? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 9 months ago | (#44416097)

IIRC, when they calculated the price of a US-made iPhone, it ended up being something like ~$150 more expensive. That's pretty reasonable. Not to mention that Apple itself makes insane profit on that hardware (didn't they end up with $100 billion in the bank not so long ago?), and there's no reason why they couldn't pay back a little bit more of that to the workers who, you know, actually produce the damn things.

Re:What's the price of a Fair Trade iPhone? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 9 months ago | (#44417251)

For $150 more, you would get a shit-ton of goodwill by building them here in the US. Since most people get these phones financed by their cell phone companies, you wouldn't even notice the difference.

Not apple's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415851)

Don't get me wrong, I have no love for the company, but it's not really their fault.

And to those that insist that they should make sure everything that goes into their product is perfect and wonderful and everyone's happy, when's the last time you looked into if the food you put on the table was harvested by someone making $3/hr that works 80 hour weeks?

Focus on the factory owner, the one who set the hours, not the buyer of the materials.

I'd want more hours too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415875)

If I'm sitting in a dorm miles from home to work with nothing else to do, I'd rather have more hours too.

I am warry of such violation without details (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44415893)

While on face value such violation seems grave comapred to our standard of living in the west, the better question is , do there violation represent a better way to get money for the worker involved, and a better life, or is this under the local standard of living ? Imnea yeah at face value being 15 or working 60 hours seems a lot, but if the pay is higher than the average local, and otherwise the teen would have no hope of getting a better paid wage or would be starving, then the picture is different.

Countdown for Apple announcing new factory site... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 9 months ago | (#44416161)

Plenty of dirt poor Asian countries full of workers who aren't going to cry about better treatment. If they're willing to wait 10 years, I'm sure they could relocate to Michigan for even cheaper!

Re:Countdown for Apple announcing new factory site (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416503)

the apple can buy up a huge part of detroit, privatize the DPD, and augment a police officer to take a bite out of crime.

And he never wanted this.

Time for China to start cracking down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44416885)

I guess this means its time of "The People's Republic of China" to start cracking down on the abuse of the people.

You know stand up for the rights of their own people?

Seriously, the government is letting this happen to their people, because it's their job, not Apple or anybody else's.

Apple and the Pegatron Group .. (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 9 months ago | (#44417135)

"Technology giant Apple is facing fresh allegations of worker rights violations at Chinese factories of one of its suppliers"

What other western companies do business with the Pegatron Group and why is Apple only singled out for attention by China Labor Watch?

Sounds like a vindication of Mike Daisey (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 9 months ago | (#44417631)

Even if there were some questionable rendering of the facts, Mr. Daisey seems to be spot on about Chinese factories. China has only proven - since the Tiananmen Massacre on June 4th 1989 - that they are only interested in giving favor and freedom to multinationals while denying freedom to their own people.

That said:
It seems like the factories in China would rather smear anyone who questions their practices, and hope that their US-side clients come to the rescue if it goes global. Failing that, they go to the PR firm that takes on the worst of the worst - Burson Marsteller - in order to whitewash their image.

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