Workers describe noxious hazards at Apple supplier Catcher Technology’s China factory

“At a Catcher Technology Co. manufacturing complex in the Chinese industrial city of Suqian, about six hours’ drive from Shanghai, workers stand for up to 10 hours a day in hot workshops slicing and blasting iPhone casings for Apple Inc., handling noxious chemicals sometimes without proper gloves or masks,” Bloomberg News reports. “These conditions — some described in a report Tuesday by advocacy group China Labor Watch and others in Bloomberg News interviews with Catcher workers — show the downside of a high-tech boom buoying the world’s second-largest economy. Chinese recruiters play up the chance to build advanced consumer electronics to attract the millions of typically impoverished, uneducated laborers without whom the production of iPhones and other digital gadgets would be impossible.”

“Hundreds throng a workshop where the main door only opens about 12 inches. Off duty, they return to debris-strewn dorms bereft of showers or hot water. Many go without washing for days at a time, workers told Bloomberg,” Bloomberg News reports. “‘My hands turned bloodless white after a day of work,’ said one of the workers, who makes a little over 4,000 yuan a month (just over $2 an hour) in her first job outside her home province of Henan. She turned to Catcher because her husband’s home-decorating business was struggling. ‘I only tell good things to my family and keep the sufferings like this for myself.'”

“An Apple spokeswoman said the company has its own employees at Catcher facilities, but sent an additional team to audit the complex upon hearing of the CLW’s impending report,” Bloomberg News reports. “After interviewing 150 people, the Apple team found no evidence of violations of its standards, she added. Catcher, which gets almost two-thirds of sales from Apple, said in a separate statement it too investigated but also found nothing to suggest it had breached its client’s code of conduct.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s Supplier Responsibility report is here.

Apple reviewing new claims of supplier’s labor violations in China – September 4, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “James W.” for the heads up.]


  1. I’ll have to go to the original source of the story, CLW, because the Bloomberg article doesn’t have much.

    I mean earplugs are a 1penny item. If your work gives you a headache, why not just buy your own earplugs? They’re cheap. Ultimately, if you’re not sure about your work safety, you quit and get another job, since factory jobs are plentiful.

    1. I think this is the start of FUD season before the Apple Financial Report on February 1st. . . an attempt to depress the stock price. The photos of the “dormitories” are stock photos China Labor Watch published SEVEN YEARS AGO when they were attacking FoxConn. The report video report from China Labor Watch, instead of using the name FoxConn for then was using HonHai, FoxConn’s mother company, to obfuscate the information and also brought up the well debunked 2010 suicide story which they ALSO brought up and laid at Apple’s doorstep even though the minor spate of suicides (suicide rate of less than 1 in 100,000 per year among FoxConn’s more than one million employees over an 18 month period of which ZERO were working on Apple products), and then went on to claim that APPLE had on-going problems with working conditions in China and that Apple had moved production to China for profit motives. ALL without noting that ALL tech companies had done so.

      Bloomberg noted that the “80 dBl noise in the Catcher factory was about the same as any average factory.”

      This is a hit piece. FUD!

    1. So? Does Catcher Tech provide services to anyone besides Apple. I’ll bet that they do. Why aren’t all the names in Catcher’s client list in the headline of this story? Don’t bother answering; rhetorical question. We all know why.

  2. The way the “News Media” (hacks running a copier machine) has been lately, would not surprise me at all if it was an Android sweat shop and they “conveniently lied”. Apple headlines get more clicks.

  3. ” … uneducated laborers without whom the production of iPhones and other digital gadgets would be impossible.”

    Baloney, they could make ’em here in the U.S. if they were willing to make less profit.

  4. As far as the news media is concerned, Apple must be the worst company for anyone to work for. I honestly find it rather amazing that Apple is stupid enough to be the only company who appears to overwork employees and put employees in dangerous conditions. I would think that poor employee working conditions are standard in countries that build any sorts of electronic products where manufacturers are competing to build the least expensive electronic products.

    When I say Apple must be stupid, I mean that Tim Cook should realize Apple is always going to be the news media’s #1 target and he should be working extra hard to either improve working conditions or working the hardest he can to hide such poor working conditions from watchdogs and the news media.

    I’m still not sure how Apple would be able to police all the Chinese or any overseas factories from overworking employees or protecting them from working in dangerous factory environments. I would think most of those factories would also be producing component parts for other companies as well. In almost any factory anywhere in the world where time is a factor, there are going to be plenty of problems for workers. Apple definitely shouldn’t be the lone offender where so many companies are involved but the news media loves to single out Apple.

    It’s okay the news media needs to mention Apple but they should still include other companies who are just as guilty in these articles. It’s better to look at the entire electronic industry as a whole than just singling out Apple.

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