Thursday, June 15, 2006

Apple Investigating Claims of Slave Conditions in Chinese iPod Factory

Apple is investigating claims that Chinese female workers at a factory in Longhua, in communist China, which manufactures the high-fashion iPod nano music players, earn only $50 a month, work 15-hour shifts, and endure "slave" conditions, contrary to the company's stated employment policies.
According to a China Labor Watch project coordinator, Xiao Min Zheng, the minimum wage in Shenzhen, where Longhua and the iPod nano factory are located, is 690 renminbi, or yuan, or about $80 a month.

However, the Mail reported that half of the workers' paychecks were automatically deducted to pay for a primitive factory dormitory with 100 beds a room that was strictly run and did not allow visits by the workers' families or anyone who did not work at the factory.

According to the Apple Web site, the company claims it does not tolerate violations of its supplier code of conduct. "Recognized standards such as International Labour Organization Standards (ILO), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Social Accountability International (SAI), and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) were used as references in preparing this Code."

Go here to see the Apple hallmark ad "1984" that was an eerie homage to George Orwell's novel of the same name that introduced the Macintosh PC during the Super Bowl a little over 20 years ago?

Ironically, it is a woman who runs down the workers' gray drab halls carrying a sledge hammer. She, in vivid red shorts, is the one who smashes the hypnotic screen, freeing the oppressed workers. Ironic isn't it, that women workers are the ones being opressed in a country far, far away?

Apple, do the right thing. We are watching you!!


At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Uda Jansson said...

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At 10:36 AM, Anonymous earl bockenfeld said...

AlterNet has this story, but not with your pictures. A reader left this comment.

You present me with this information, yet at the top of the screen is a banner that says "Vote at Alternet's Progressive Poll/Enter to win $500 cash...OR AN IPOD NANO!"

iPod is great, I hope Apple fixes this.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger glenda said...

I hope so too, Earl. I used to work for Apple, and found them to be fairly ethical, (as far as I knew.)

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Diane S. said...

I can't tell you how disappointed in Apple this article makes me feel. I had believed them to be a company with actual ethical standards.

What a tragedy to see human beings exploited this way.

Shall we deluge them with emails demanding change?

At 1:50 PM, Blogger glenda said...

not a bad idea. i think you can reach Steve Jobs at
I'll check to make sur eif that's his email. In fairness, they have said they are totally against these working conditions and I know where I worked, there was an absolute zero tolerence for any sexual harassment at work.
Still, why didn't they comment after 4 days of investigations?
I will assume that this story is still unfolding.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Left of Center said...

Pay, food, housing... sounds better than mucking about in a rice patti. Besides, American kids need something to free their minds from having to be alone with their own thoughts. Without these dedicated work associates the IPod wouldn't be so common.

At 6:29 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Yeah right, LoC. As Kahlil Gibran said,they are trading their rusty chains for shiny ones.
Except, they do not get to choose.
It is true that being alone without distractions is hard for the undeveloped brain....

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Hhana&Dhana said...

Hhana:Communism in service of capitalism does not yield ethics.
Dhana:Corporations are always aware of their own inner workings yet tend to plead ignorance when exposed to the light of day. Otherwise, Kenneth Lay would have been exonerated.

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At 8:00 PM, Blogger Time said...

No wonder we can't compete without lowering our wage levels. America will have to learn to live on less money.

We could raise the living standards of peoples around the world instead of watching ours fall.

But that would be attacking corporation profits, thus, a real battle.

These kind of stories are ignored so we can keep our lifestyles even though our wages are stagnating.

I am also upset that Google is bowing to China's censorship policies, to make big bucks and get a foot in the door of the largest market in the world.

At 8:12 PM, Blogger M.D. said...

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At 9:12 AM, Blogger Sothis said...

I'm just hoping that this one slipped through Apple's radar--they always were a pretty good company. But, it seems rather suspicious that they wouldn't have know.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger glenda said...

I hear what you are saying, time.
All the new jobs seem to be really low paying ones. and, yes, Google sold out. I beleive that almost any company that is listed in a stock market here or in another country will do WHATEVER it takes, cut whatever corners it can get away with to make the whisper number.

m.d.-thanks, Ill check it out.

sothis- There is some truth in what you say. Maybe they do not check up on these factories because their bid is the lowest and they do not want to know why....

At 1:59 PM, Blogger celticfire said...

"Communist" China, huh? People run those words together so often they've become meaningless (and did, thirty years ago.)

It's funny, one of the last major policy issues Mao fought for before he died was the freedom to strike being added to the national consitution. It passed the National People's Congress in January 17, 1975, so article 28 read: Citizens enjoy freedom of speech, correspondence, the press, assembly, association, procession, demonstration and the freedom to strike, and enjoy freedom to believe in religion and freedom not to believe in religion and to propagate atheism..

A far cry from today when workers are treated like raw material for the state capitalists to use for exploitation as they see fit.

China, undoubtedly needs a revolution. So do we.

At 6:45 PM, Blogger WeezieLou said...

i also used to work at Apple, glenda. i did not find them particularly ethical. they present a great big, soft bear hug of a public image, but inside it's as corrupt as walmart. the good ol' boy system is alive and well. steve jobs may (MAY) have good intentions, but i don't think they are filtered down throughout the company. since you're in the land of oz, you'll appreciate this - i think if you pull the drapes away, you'll just see a little man impressed with himself. in the case of apple, the only clothes the emporer has is jeans and a black t-shirt. the guy has a messainic complex the size of the red sea. and no one at apple dares to say anything negative about him. apple makes a great product almost in spite of itself.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Oh my gosh darn say it ain't so!!

At 4:30 AM, Blogger WeezieLou said...

something else i thought about after posting - there are almost no women or people of ethnic minorities in key positions at apple. it's all white men, usually young white men. apple has a brilliant marketing strategy, but there's no there there.

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