in the spotlight

In China, Apple Goes Out of the Wok, Into the Fire

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2012 07:02 PM

On Friday, Apple's week of bad news from China got the proverbial icing on the cake in the form of an initial report from The Fair Labor Association about Apple's manufacturing partners. The report had a number of points but the single bite the media latched on to was "tons of issues."

From its lost iPad trademark to working conditions to a smoldering conspiracy theory about the brand punishing The New York Times, Apple stands on the verge of flipping from the brand we love and hold up as an example to emulate, to the brand we love… begrudgingly.Continue reading...

Apple's China Crisis: Labor Inspections Begin as iPad Spat Heats Up

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 16, 2012 01:53 PM

In the ongoing news of worker abuse and suicide at Apple's top eight suppliers in China, with Foxconn Technology Group's factories most prominent in the glaring international spotlight, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has begun its on-site inspections of conditions at factories at Apple's behest, and the initial reports are better than expected.

"The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm," commented Auret van Heerden, president of the FLA, after visiting two Foxconn factories in Shenzhen in southern China and another plant in the central city of Chengdu with a contingent of 30 FLA inspectors. "I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. 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."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Apple Criticized for Fair Labor Association Monitoring of Foxconn

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2012 07:06 PM

Apple may be loved by many. But the brand that Steve Jobs built has been plagued by reports of abusive conditions at Foxconn and other factories, prompting protests at its stores and online. Online lobbying by consumers spurred Apple CEO Tim Cook to clamp down on third-party factory conditions in China and other overseas locations by joining forces with the Fair Labor Association to monitor its contractors and suppliers, making it the first technology company to sign on a participating company with FLA.

A petition was started by Mark Shields, a lifelong Apple customer, who wrote that he was "shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apple's supplier factories," and has since received more than 250,000 signatures.

A parallel petition calling for ethical iPhone manufacturing by corporate accountability lobbying group garnered another 50,000 signatures and both groups supported protest events last week and delivery of signed petitions at Apple stores in Bangalore, London, Washington, DC, San Francisco and Sydney. SumOfUs, however, isn't convinced that FLA can be trusted.Continue reading...

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