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Friday, March 30, 2012

Apple Manufacturer Provides Poor Working Conditions

Story first appeared in The Detroit Free Press.

A long-awaited report on conditions at Chinese factories that make Apple products confirmed the worst: long hours, low wages and poor working conditions for employees.
Apple, in response, says it will ensure that overseas employees have better working conditions.
Investigators from the Washington-based Fair Labor Association, at Apple's request, went to China to look at Foxconn Technology Group factories in Guanlan, Longhua, and Chengdu, where Apple iPads and iPhones are assembled for sale across the world. Products for other companies, including Dell, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, are made there, too.
At the Foxconn factories, the average workweek for an employee is 60 hours, which exceeds both the FLA code standard and Chinese legal limit, the month-long investigation found. Some employees worked as many as 70 hours a week in November and December 2011. However, FLA said Foxconn has agreed to remedy this by July 2013, and bring it down to the legal 49 hours, while protecting workers' pay.
Apple has come under fire recently for producing hit products overseas with low-paid workers in less-than-optimum conditions. Monthly salaries range from $360 to $455. CEO Tim Cook was in China on Wednesday visiting a new Foxconn factory, not the ones mentioned in the report.
Consumer watchdog groups say that the report is a start but that Apple must really change.  Supposedly workers put in many more hours per week than is legal -- will take more than a year to change direction. Foxconn has more than 1.2 million employees.
SumofUs, along with, has received more than 250,000 signatures from consumers asking Apple to require its suppliers to treat overseas workers better.