“Those who believe that Apple is acting out of line can always boycott the company’s products, or iPods specifically, and work to get others to buy different MP3 players. But before picketing the Cupertino offices, potential boycotters may have to face a few harsh realities,” Elizabeth Millard reports for Newsfactor.
“Is Apple the Kathy Lee Gifford of the technology biz, or just another U.S. company hoping that its overseas manufacturers aren’t engaging in labor violations? It’s a more complicated question than many might think,” Millard reports. “Recently, Apple was the focus of a British newspaper’s investigation into the conditions of the Chinese factory where iPods are made. The story alleged that workers were paid very little and forced to work 15-hour shifts to assemble Apple’s wildly popular MP3 players.”
Millard reports, “In response to the allegations, Apple dispatched an ‘audit team’ to the manufacturing site and then issued an extensive follow-up report. The report noted that, although there were a few violations as well as areas of improvement needed, the company wasn’t the sweatshop overlord it had been made out to be.”
“The issue has thrown new light on working conditions in the technology sector. As in the apparel industry, many electronics and computer components are manufactured outside of the U.S., often in countries where labor unions are practically non-existent and working conditions may be far from ideal,” Millard reports. “And, so we wonder: is it ethical to own an iPod, given that it might be made by people working ungodly amounts of overtime, in an environment that may or may not have labor laws enforced? The answer is awfully tricky, say many labor experts.”
“‘The fact is that any operation that subcontracts in East Asia is going to be running into these labor practices,’ says Robert J.S. Ross, professor of sociology at Clark University and author of ‘Slaves to Fashion: Poverty and Abuse in the New Sweatshops.’ In other words, if non-U.S. labor standards make it unethical to own an iPod, you might as well also ditch your computer, game console, cell phone, and while you’re at it, half the clothes in your closet,” Millard reports.
“‘The manufacturer that produces iPods is larger in revenue than Apple itself,’ says Ross. ‘That should tell you something about where high-tech goods are being made. Not everyone shares China’s standards, but that’s where manufacturing is increasingly centered,'” Millard reports.
Full article which adds nothing new, strangely avoids the name Foxxconn like the plague, and should cause readers to wonder why Newsfactor is dredging up an old story now, here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Herkimer” for the heads up.]
Apple iPod lifts generation of China’s workers out of poverty – September 26, 2006
iPod-manufacturer Foxconn drops lawsuit over iPod ‘sweatshop’ report – September 03, 2006
Chinese government orders iPod manufacturer Foxconn to let workers unionize – September 01, 2006
iPod-manufacturer Foxconn cuts damage claim to against journalists to 1 renminbi (US$0.13) – August 31, 2006
Apple ‘working behind-the-scenes’ to help resolve plight of Chinese ‘iPod sweatshop’ journalists – August 30, 2006
Apple asked to intercede on behalf of Chinese ‘iPod sweatshop’ reporters – August 29, 2006
Foxconn sues journalist, editor over iPod ‘sweatshop’ story – August 29, 2006
Apple releases ‘Report on iPod Manufacturing’ – August 17, 2006
Should Apple build its own factory in China to manufacture iPods? – July 03, 2006
iPod maker admits breaking Chinese labor laws; says Apple approved sweatshop labor – June 26, 2006
Apple begins ‘thorough audit’ of Foxconn iPod factory – June 20, 2006
Apple iPod manufacturer Foxconn sternly denies iPod sweatshop claims – June 19, 2006
Apple iPod ‘sweatshop’ story a ‘poorly researched sensationalist article’ – June 19, 2006
Apple rebuts Chinese iPod factory claims – June 13, 2006
iPods made in Chinese sweatshops? – June 13, 2006