FLA President: Foxconn factories ‘first-class; way, way above average’

“Working conditions at Chinese manufacturing plants where Apple Inc’s iPads and iPhones are made are far better than those at garment factories or other facilities elsewhere in the country, according to the head of a non-profit agency investigating the plants,” Terril Yue Jones reports for Reuters.

“The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is beginning a study of the working conditions of Apple’s top eight suppliers in China,” Jones reports. “In addition to Foxconn, FLA investigators will later visit facilities of Quanta Computer Inc, Pegatron Corp, Wintek Corp and other suppliers, who are notoriously tight-lipped about their operations.”

Jones reports, “After his first visits to Foxconn, van Heerden said, ‘The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm. ‘He spent the past several days visiting Foxconn plants to prepare for the study. ‘I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory,’ he said. ‘So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And The New York Slimes loses even more credibility (if that’s even possible), “slacktivists” look as silly as usual, and FUD, Inc. stock drops like a rock.

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Handful of protesters deliver Chinese factory petition to Apple Retail Store – February 9, 2012
Protestors target Apple Retail Stores in push to fix conditions in Chinese factories – February 8, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook calls New York Times supplier report ‘patently false and offensive’

36 Comments

  1. Don’t forget the only reason Foxconn is as good as it is, is because of Apple. Do you think any other PC company would spend a dime trying to get Foxconn to reform working conditions? Not a chance!

  2. Perhaps your definition of “first class” and my definition of “first class” differ.

    I prefer to measure human rights at the global level, comparing ALL citizens of the world.

    Propagandists corral a small chunk of the whole and say, “see, within this subsegment of sweatshops, this one was the BEST!”

    The whole system reeks of corporate greed enabling a corrupt human-rights-violating communist regime in China or even worse dictatorial regimes elsewhere. We closed sweatshops in the USA only to watch the “job creators” pull up stakes so they could continue to conduct rights abuses out of sight of consumers. For shame.

      1. Plus – Mike – you should not compare to the standard of “the best” – which in terms of history is a tiny blip. Most of the world still lives in conditions that would be completely abhorrent to you… That is not going to change in a few weeks. If you think of it the other way round – that it is, in fact, mind-boggling how quickly and for how many people things have improved in the last couple of decades – maybe you’d actually be excited and pleased about progress. Yes, there is much horror in the world. And also yes, things have changed enormously.
        To see how much things have actually changed watch this TED presentation by Hans Rosling. If you haven’t seen his dynamic graphing before, it’s an incredible tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUwS1uAdUcI.

        1. Thanks Seamus!

          Hans Rosling indeed makes some good points. I do have one fundamental gripe with his presentation, which he admits himself: the trends that he portrays appear linear only because his X-axis (income) uses an exponential scale!

          If you plot wealth data on a linear scale, then yes, dramatic movements have been achieved. But the gaps that seemed to magically close when viewed on an exponential scale don’t look so wonderful. Using Rosling’s own data, 20% of the population possesses 74% of the world’s capital — and that gap is not closing at all.

          Rosling does offer some great insights as to the approximate relationship between average income and average health measures. If glosses over some huge social policies like China’s one-child limit (there’s that communist influence again). And of course we all know that inflation erodes earnings growth, so we really aren’t seeing if the average Chinaman is working fewer hours to achieve the same material standard, or if inflation in housing prices have pushed the average worker to voluntarily submit to increased amounts of overtime. What we do know is that the cost of living distribution in the world varies one order of magnitude; i.e., cost of living index in Zurich = about 3.5 times that of Mumbai. But what is the wage disparity of prevailing wage? SEVERAL orders of magnitude.

    1. Perhaps you’d like to compare assembly-line production in consumer electronics in other parts of the world. I draw your attention to this quote:
      ‘I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory,’ he said. ‘So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.’”
      Any and all factories of this sort will be the same. Some people can cope with such monotonous work, others can’t. Get your head out of your ass and stop spouting your own ignorant propaganda.

    2. Lol,

      you think working in oilfields in Winter or installing attic insulation in summer with protective gear with attic temps 100 plus F in the U.S is fun?

      I know people over here in N. America who work shifts, two three jobs at low pay in pretty ratty conditions…
      (yeah they get paid more like $7 an hour here vs the $17 a day or whatever in Foxconn but when you factor the cost of living and the fact that Foxconn staff get free lodging and food… )

      it’s so funny that people with cushy jobs or no jobs at all think all work even in the West is ‘easy’. Not every one works in Latte sipping environments…

    3. Check out the garment factories in American Samoa (made in USA) if you think there are no more American sweatshops. Check out the factory owners support of the Republican Party if you can’t figure out how they exist.

    4. It’s self-righteous liberal assholes like Mike blowing hot air that make me gag. Totally doesn’t get it or understand the world. Sure it’s nice to think everyone should have a house, car in the driveway and a chicken in the pot but global economy and circumstances vary, whether you like it or not or can do anything about it. And USA sweatshops haven’t gone away despite your naive and moronic assumptions and declarations. What kind of a Fool’s Paradise do you live in??

  3. As I posted the other day just before the audits began…. Merit less accusations would be what was discovered … Proving what we already knew… Apple is a class act run by an equally class group of executives…

      1. You have an interesting point there.
        I wonder about the mental health of these people more than anything. Long hours without any social interaction. I’m sure the working conditions physically speaking are are top notch

        1. There are lots of folks in America who work a 60 hour work week. Thats not really that insane. They make a lot of money $200-$500 a week is a lot in China considering you can buy a new house for $20K. They can leave and go socialize when they’re done working. How is that different then some one in America working 60 hours a week and not socializing till their work is done?

    1. Still sounds like a room of people being treated like machines to me

      We’re living amidst the Slave Wage Labor Movement. It’s here to stay, unfortunately. But at least certain companies (APPLE!) are making an effort to make their contractor’s work environment well above average. That was common knowledge A YEAR AGO! Only lazy idiots didn’t notice.

      But of course Apple is the perennial target for manic reactionary BS. Apple has been since the release of the ground breaking Macintosh. Nothing new here, sad to say.

    1. right, and all other journalists to write objective reports too. some people just don’t want to know.

      Does The Economist rate well enough for you to bother to read it?
      http://www.economist.com/node/21546052

      Does the Daily Mail?
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266643/Microsofts-Chinese-workforce-tired-stay-awake.html

      Perhaps Fox News?
      http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/24/foxconn-worker-falls-death-china-th-year-ipod-maker/

      It appears the only scum here is the ignorant one who refuses to admit reality.

      @ramiuseng: it is encouranging things are getting better. Imagine how much better they would be if Chinese people had say in their governments and could legally require decent standards instead of taking what the Party gives them.

      1. dude go get a life…

        the FLA just said Apple Foxconn is pretty ok

        what has articles with pictures of chinese stacking logs got to do with apple? (do you actually know anything about Sino Forest – the stock and accounting controversy – which the article is about?)

        and those suicide thing are being answered by FLA who says the factories aren’t necessarily bad but the workers from the farms etc find it hard to adjust (did you actually read what the FLA is saying?) – put a chinese kid from a farm in a factory in AMERICA and he might want to commit suicide (I’ve worked in asia although not china and been to Hong Kong , Taiwan and asian families can put a lot of pressure on kids to work and help support the family) – and besides it’s been shown over and over again that the suicide rate at Foxconn is way lower than the national average.

        “if Chinese people had say in their governments”
        what makes you think the don’t. I prefer democracy to communism but communist leaders in villages and towns are elected by the people in China. There’s basically only one party and associated allied parties (although in theory independents can stand for election) . Then the lower leaders elect the higher rung. China has basically one party, the U.S has like.. two?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

        There are labour activists, social activists etc in China…

        I’ve worked years in Asia before coming back to the west. Dude you imagine China as some kind of Ben Hur slave camp .. let me tell you gulag guys can’t build iPads… There are many many more Phds, engineers in China than the U.S

        is it paradise? no especially from Western standards but it isn’t what from those few reports you make it out to be either.

        One day ago people were describing Foxconn and imagining it like a Siberian gulag , now … sheesh .. go read the FLA thing .. )

      2. You obviously dont travel. Either internationally or within our backyards. You believe all the news just because you see or read about them. You think you are better informed more than other who have seen the world. And you think everyone should be paid just like the average American Joe. Well, before you even try to reply back and say it shouldn’t happen because suicide in workplaces doesn’t happen in the US, then you should look at our military. If you think people shouldn’t work 60 hours a week, let me tell you, I have a couple dozen family members who work in medical field who work 16 hour shifts, some of them work 24-36 straight hours. I have a friend who is a chef who work 14-days straight on a 10-12 hour shift. And you think people are mistreated at Foxconn? About 10% or 30 million Americans are unemployed and are dying to work, don’t you think a fraction will be happy to get a comparable job that pays much higher than their state requires? Don’t be ignorant, get our of your room and do some local traveling, maybe drive to your local downtown and see how people are surviving.

      3. Relax. there was a pretty hefty dose of dripping sarcasm with that comment 😛

        I personally like BBC. Fox is too biased. and no news is without bias, but when someone falsely reports things going off rumors and other such non-credible sources, it makes you wonder…

        The economist is a good paper, and I actually subscribe to the times, as well as the Wall Street Journal.

  4. This is a canard. Even on the American Life show on NPR they covered this topic…Foxconn’s suicide rate is half that for the entire population of China. Y’all need to stop using western standards when judging the industrial boom in China. When I was a grad student in the 90’s my chinese lab mates would tell me how their parents would go without food so all their children could eat. Things are getting better over there compared to decades past. We are providing them with more than they had before. Their country is not perfect but it IS getting better.

    just my $0.02

    1. The Foxconn suicide rate is half to a quarter that of American Colleges and Universities. We are talking similarly aged and educated people here and Americans have a much higher rate.

      Where is the outrage over American Colleges and Universities?

  5. Darn, the loony fringe liberals blew it again. Picking on Apple: A total waste of time.

    Now fringe kiddies: Go do your HOMEWORK and figure out the corporations who are REALLY screwing over employees. Stop being baby sheeple and jumping on the FUD train. 😛

  6. I don’t get these stupid Americans (I hope only a small minority) protesting about Apple not doing anything about Foxconn workers’ welfare. Do you realise that the workers are free to choose where they want to work?? They are free to resign?? That most of them choose to work at Foxconn BECAUSE Foxconn offers some of the highest pays and benefits??Bad working conditions… according to who??? This is China we are talking about, a country that has only recently started to do well economically. 20 years ago, most of these workers could not get jobs even if they wanted to work just for food, they came to the cities because they could not feed themselves or their family back home. All Foxconn compounds have cinemas, hospitals, sports facilities, air-conditioned workplace and accommodations, even swimming pools!Please educate yourselves about places, history, cultures beyond your American shores.

  7. As I recall, Apple pushed Foxconn into raising wages by about 1/3 a few years ago and also advocated for programs to reduce the worker suicide problem. I don’t recall Dell or HP or any of the Wintel box makers doing a damn thing. Could the situation be improved even more? No doubt. But let’s give a little credit where it is due. Apple has successfully advocated for the workers in its supply chain, and that was before the petitions and other stuff. Other companies have to step up, too. And the Chinese people should take responsibility for their own working conditions – hundreds of millions of workers have a lot of power if they are willing to take action.

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