Apple examining claims of labor violations at supplier factory in China

“Apple Inc. said it’s looking into claims of labor abuses at a Jabil Circuit Inc. factory in China where a worker group said a component for a new iPhone is being made,” Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg.

“A report by China Labor Watch accuses St. Petersburg, Florida-based Jabil of violations including excessive working hours, forcing female workers to accept pregnancy tests to be hired and providing only five minutes to eat meals,” Satariano reports. “The report is the latest accusation Apple has faced for its labor practices.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not Apple’s labor. Steve Jobs telling employees their work was “shit” (when it was) is about the most abuse Apple has committed against labor. No other company in the world does more to police other companies’ treatment of labor in CHina an around the world than Apple Inc. Learn more here: apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

Adam, your work on that last sentence was shit.

Satariano reports, “Jabil’s alleged violations were documented at a plant in Wuxi, China, which China Labor Watch said builds the rear plastic covers for a less-expensive iPhone that Apple is set to unveil on Sept. 10. ‘We take any concerns about our suppliers very seriously, and our team of experts is on-site at Jabil Wuxi to look into the new claims about conditions there,’ said Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple. ‘Jabil has a proactive auditing program of their own and they have an excellent track record of meeting Apple’s high standards.'”

Read more in the full article here.

22 Comments

  1. I believe all of these cell phones and tablets are made in China for different manufactures, but why is it that’s it always those manufactures associated with Apple products that make the news for suicides or labor abuses that amount to modern day human slavery?

    1. Because Apple is the big name and most valuable company. The activists always look to shame the biggest name. I used to work in the area of factory compliance for a name brand. China is an odd critter to work with, especially if you do not understand their ways or compare it to American standards.

      1. Like pointing out actual violations that Apple’s Chinese manufactures seem to constantly being found guilty of. The day is still 24 hours long in China, so a worker knows they been working for 15 hours a day. The Chinese are also good with math so they know they just worked 15 hrs but were only paid for 10 hrs.

        1. What I meant was that most of these factories produce for more than one brand. They may also (just an example, I have no actual facts on this factory) be making pieces for Logitech or Dell or some other brand but Apple gets reported because the name Apple makes the home page of news sites. Also, pay attention to the timing of the releases. Just happens to be the week before Apple’s latest product release. Activists commonly state they are concerned for the workers but you will find the data they use is 6 months old and it is conveniently released around some major event. I guess they are so concerned that they can wait 6 months.
          The working hours thing gets into fuzzy math. Wages and overtime is based on the total hours per week averaged for the month. So you may work 80 hours one week of the month and think that is 40 hours overtime but when you do the monthly average the overtime is fewer than 40 hours. You see the total paycheck and claim you were shorted overtime for X number of hours but that is not how the calculation is done. Also, it is common for employees to claim they were shorted when the factory deducts the equivalent of social security. They claim this because the money stays in the province where they work. When they go home to another province they have no money contributed to their social security so they want to have that money in their paycheck instead. If the factory does this they get cited for not paying the social security for the worker.

    2. It’s because we like to point somewhere to dissolve blame from ourselves. Also, using a large, fairly responsible, company like Apple to bring something to light is a good idea.

      As for the allegations, I’m curious about the pregnancy test. If it’s a condition of employment is that you’re not pregnant why can’t they choose to hire only those that aren’t?

      My guess is that there are reasons for this. Likely the work doesn’t suit a pregnant woman. Many migrant workers have low education. Perhaps they may not know the dangers of pregnancy and chemicals in factories.

      1. Yes, we as a species do love to dissolve blame from ourselves as many do on this forum every time a story of labor abuse comes up concerning labor abuses or worse at Apple’s Chinese factories. Where groups that point out the problems, are condemned by those that don’t like to be reminded of the problem.

      2. I worked in factory compliance for a number of years and typically the pregnancy test issue was blatant discrimination. I don’t remember the law on this in China but we used to see this in countries where the employer was required to pay all the medical for child birth. They do tests so they don’t hire anyone they would have to pay bill on later. Every brand I know of bans this practice. Sometimes factories will require a drug test and have the lab slide in a pregnancy test – not cool.
        This issue is not excusable. It is not like monthly average overtime math or anything like that.

  2. It makes no sense to hold Apple responsible for the actions of the companies they purchase products and/or services from.

    By that standard, each individual should be responsible for what Walmart does with their employees after shopping at Walmart.

    1. That would be an Ayn Rand standard.

      Ayn Rand’s philosophy in a nutshell:

      F*** you, you’re on your own. Excuse me, while I go play with my self.

      Many people chose not to shop at Walmart. The rich certainly don’t, not because of politics but because, well their rich.

      1. I’m so happy Ayn Rand played with herself. Imagine what a bitch she’d have been if she hadn’t.

        BUT: This situation has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the ‘fuck you! None for all and all for ME’ bullshit that sociolpathic hag inflicted on the literate world!

        Read my post below. This issue is about the people with responsibility NOT TAKING their responsibility. I suspect Ayn Rand would kick China’s lazy, irresponsible ass as hard as I would! What a hell hole.

  3. Whose labor laws is the company accused of violating Chinese or U.S.? We do not own China. They have the right to have their own labor laws regardless of our opinion of them. The left is loaded with hypocrites first they out source all U.S. labor because factories are dirty and icky. So we needed to become service economy…then once the manufacturing jobs are gone and they have destroyed the middle class, they complain because other countries refuse to do things to their standards. Hint to the Left: You lost control of the labor laws when you purposely destroyed the U.S.’s manufacturing base.

      1. Sadly, there is an element of fact in your opinion. It’s a human problem, not just a class problem, not just a boss and labor problem. Being realistic and wise about the future doesn’t penetrate many people’s brains.

    1. They probably violated China’s labor law. Their law has a max working hours of a monthly average of 60 hours per week total. So you could do 40 hours one week and 80 the next in the same month. Here are the issues with that: 1) Most of these factories are in the cities on the east coast of China. The employees are from the rural areas and migrate there to work for 2-3 years, make as much money as they can and go home. This is why most factories also have dorms. When an employee applies for work they ask the factory how many hours they will work each week. If the factory says anything less than 80 hours per week they go apply at the factory across the street. 2) The 60 hour average is a “federal” law (for lack of a better term) but the federal level does not have the authority to actually enforce the law. The regional authorities will issue official waivers of the law so the employees can work the extra hours. The regional authority does not actually have the authority to waive the federal law but the federal level cannot enforce it. Score one for bureaucracy. 3) When you go to these factories the factory manager will talk about their “partner”. The partner is really the government because most of these places are still 1/2 government owned. So figure this one out – The government has a law of 60 hours per week but the same government tells the employees to work 80 hours. So what is the law really?
      By the way, does anyone know what the USA law is for max working hours per week? Unless you are flying a plane or driving a truck, there is no law for max hours…

  4. Given the choice between a $700 iPhone made in China and an $800 iPhone made in Europe or the Americas with demonstrated labor, environmental, and corporate controls, I would choose the more expensive model. Apple users are already paying a premium for design and quality, why not pay a token amount more for a better world too?

  5. IASSOTS:
    “The report is the latest accusation Apple has faced for its labor practices.”

    These are NOT Apple’s labor practices. These are the contracted company’s labor practices! These are China’s labor practices! Go rant at THEM!

    The workers at these places are LUCKY that Apple bothers to care, because Apple SHOULD NOT HAVE TO!

    No way am I condoning any of this nasty abuse of human beings. But no way am I going to let China and these rat hole companies get away with THEIR IRRESPONSIBILITY!

    If I was Apple, I’d directly write into the contracts with these Chinese companies that if/when they abuse their workers, the payments from Apple for the contract are CUT by 10% for each proven incident. That will kick them in the nether region where it hurts.

    -> Apple: Keep on caring!
    -> China and rat hole Chinese companies: FRACK YOU for being EVIL and IRRESPONSIBLE!

    There, now I feel all better. Ahhhh 🙂 🎶 🏄 🐰 🐼

    1. Here is the catch 22 with your idea (and I am not saying that I disagree with you). If you cut the production or move out of the factory then you end up in the news as “abandoning” the employees by taking away the business. You can’t win. As stated above, I worked with these types of issues for years. I have met some of the people from Apple who do this job and I was in awe of how much they do and invest to improve conditions for the workers.

      1. I spoke only within the limits of the concept of a CONTRACT. That means the work will be done, as per the contract. But with my, admittedly not likely to be agreed upon, idea is that the contracted company LOSES MONEY if they treat the workers poorly. The COMPANY gets burned, as it damned well should for its irresponsible behavior.

        We can add to that the problem of this issue not being all that simple. There are berzerkers and sociopaths who thrive upon causing trouble for others, including wrecking employee relations without any blame of the management. And so on. I consistently expect and look for complexity beyond my comprehension when dealing with humans.

        1. You’ll get no argument from me about the contract. I am willing to wager that their contracts have clauses that give them the ability to take action up to canceling the contract and not paying for undelivered items based on certain worker violations. My point was that when you take money from the company and their profits are hurt they have to cut back which usually means employees get laid off. That is where the reports would come from that the employees are being abandoned. The flip side to that is
          if the company is not under threat to loose business or profits there is no incentive to comply.
          One company that I used to work for on occasion went as far as taking money that was owed to the company and paying the employees directly. This way the employees were paid properly and the company was hurt. Long term if brands wanted to worry about factory employee payments they would have their own factories.
          You hit the nail with your head by saying it is not simple. Unfortunately, simple makes good headlines.
          I feel for the Apple compliance folks, they are trying to do the right thing and I do not miss being that person.

          1. My point was that when you take money from the company and their profits are hurt they have to cut back which usually means employees get laid off.

            Ah. A very good point. Long term that’s going to be a problem. And yet! If the company is that screwed up, that irresponsible, I think it’s a great idea for them to fail and have another company pick up the contracts instead. That’s a very rough part of how capitalism works and where socialism falls on its ass.

            I didn’t understand before that you had worked with compliance and work conditions so closely. I would imagine that’s quite difficult and requires diplomacy skills I obviously do not have. 😉

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