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  • Child Labor in iPhone/iPod Manufacturing Uncovered By Apple



    New iPhone owners are often told that the smartphone is simple enough for a child to use. Apparently, it's also simple enough for a child to build - an exploitative situation that is gaining international attention today for obvious reasons.

    In what can best be described as a disturbing find in an Apple audit, Cupertino has revealed (according to an article in BusinessWeek), that three of its overseas suppliers hired nearly a dozen "underage workers" last year to assist in the manufacturing of popular Apple mobile devices and computers. The unfortunate situation was discovered during a comprehensive on-site audit of better than one hundred factories.

    The company visited sites in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Philippines and the U.S.
    Although many details about these situations haven't been made public yet, we've all been exposed to horrendous media reports about underage labor and less-than-ideal working conditions. According to a statement from Cupertino to BusinessWeek, “Apple’s Code sets a maximum of 60 work hours per week and requires at least one day of rest per seven days of work.” This code was obviously widely violated at the unnamed facilities where underage workers, falsified employee records, and even theft have now been uncovered.

    In the past, Apple has stopped doing business with suppliers and facilities that were found to have been in violation of either Apple's code or facilitating unsafe or inadequate working conditions. According to a statement from Apple, the company has long endeavored to create "extensive training programs to educate workers about their right to a safe and respectful work environment." In light of these disturbing findings and the reality that some people will take any work available to survive, Apple will likely take a fresh look at their policies and how they are enforced across a very broad global landscape.

    While Apple certainly didn't sanction the illegal employment of children and the poor working conditions in which the workers were found, Apple now finds itself in full damage-control mode - a situation that will certainly lead to swift action to resolve the ugly findings that sparked this story and delivered a fresh black eye on Apple's corporate image.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Child Labor in iPhone/iPod Manufacturing Uncovered By Apple started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 65 Comments
    1. sane's Avatar
      sane -
      Quote Originally Posted by equazian View Post
      wow. see, we never think about this kind of stuff. kids are being severely underpaid to make OUR stuff for dirt money. this is horrible. apple should be slapping itself on the head for being so blind
      Do you wear shoes? Or clothes?

      Sure, Apple bears some shame for this. But they take action to try and prevent it.

      Nike, the Gap and hundreds of other brands just sweep this kind of information under the rug.

      This news, and the fact that Apple conducts inspections and cancels contracts with violators is why I shall keep buying Apple.

      No company can be perfect. But the fact that Apple will call itself out and fix it makes them better than almost every other company out there. At least on the "social conscience" front.
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      Shocking!
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dale1v View Post
      That would be the second world.


      if i was talking about the second world, then yes, it would be.

      democracy (america and western europe) = first world

      soviet union = second world

      non aligned countries (who gain no benefit from being funded by a super power to maintain their political structure) = third world

      how does knowing what is what make me ignorant?

      Quote Originally Posted by awesomeiPod View Post
      Shocking!
      i doubt that it is. this has been going on for, well, forever.

      children have worked alongside parents (and the like) since the dawn of time.

      it's not since the industrial revolution that we had the "great idea" to pack them into factories.
    1. clikzip's Avatar
      clikzip -
      Sad, but really doesnt suprise me at all. Apple is so cheap they ship everything directly from china.
    1. dale1v's Avatar
      dale1v -
      Quote Originally Posted by lolcats1 View Post
      if i was talking about the second world, then yes, it would be.

      democracy (america and western europe) = first world

      soviet union = second world

      non aligned countries (who gain no benefit from being funded by a super power to maintain their political structure) = third world

      how does knowing what is what make me ignorant?



      i doubt that it is. this has been going on for, well, forever.

      children have worked alongside parents (and the like) since the dawn of time.

      it's not since the industrial revolution that we had the "great idea" to pack them into factories.
      I was just raging at a similar subject and responded in a bad way to this thread...

      maybe you aren't ignorant then...
    1. davshirley's Avatar
      davshirley -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kroo View Post
      I think you'll find most, if not all, of these countries are communist countries, comrade!! So before you jump on your high horse in an attempt to slay the capitalist dragon, condemn the people who use child labor as a basis for their industries. China, Nth Korea, India, Pakistan, Taiwan. Do you know where, or who makes the shoes, or clothes you're wearing? At least some companies like Apple actually do audits. Nike on the other hand, know this happens and is happy to make billions on the back of sweat shops.
      At least someone here understands. Thank you.

      As for making it here in america, the labor cost is only part of the equation. Don't forget all the onerous red tape that has to be dealt with. You'll pay a fortune just importing the parts AS PARTS and then have to assemble them with an american labor pool that actually gets pissed off when you make them work. Workers in foreign countries that NEED WORK will just dive right in and keep working till the job is done. Sure the pay is bad by OUR standards but where they are the alternative is simply this: NO WORK. And when you don't work, you don't eat. What would you do?

      People that try to force companies not to do business with places like this end up hurting the people that live there. When the jobs dry up, these people don't have the resources to move and look for work elsewhere. Sure it SOUNDS compassionate. Don't deal with companies that make their workers work over 60 hours. But when you stop doing business with them, they lay off the very people you think you are helping and these people have no other work and no welfare to carry them over till the next job. Think about it. If you could talk to these people, they would tell you the same thing: "sure my job sucks but it's WAY better than no job."

      Quote Originally Posted by uncle_don View Post
      I have to laugh at some of these posts, and not the ones that are meant to be funny. I live in a third world country where the average adult income is between $3.00 US and $6.00 US per day. I know children who work. If they don't work they don't eat. That is the way of life for some children.

      I'm not advocating child labor, but do you want the children not to work and starve to death? "Poor" in America means you have an old CRT TV, but it's color. You have to drive a 20 year old car. Where I live poor means living in a tin shack. Not having a TV, but that doesn't matter because you don't have electricity. You have to carry water to your house from a communal well. Only the rich have cars. The "middle class" have motorbikes and the poor walk or have old bicycles. Children starve to death. Malnourishment is the norm, not the exception.

      Child labor is bad, but children starving to death is worse.
      Ooo. I missed this one. WELL SAID, Uncle Don!
    1. Effenpig!'s Avatar
      Effenpig! -
      Well, I for one hope my phone wasn't built with any child labor. Children tend to do sloppy work when it comes to electronics.
    1. E-Dragon's Avatar
      E-Dragon -
      Go APPLE!
      Buid them in cheap labor countries, sell them at high prices...
      Awww come'on! anyone can see why use kids.. Cause their small fingers can hold the small parts better, not to mention the wages you can pay them just make the profit margen just that much higher....

      Quote Originally Posted by Effenpig! View Post
      Well, I for one hope my phone wasn't built with any child labor. Children tend to do sloppy work when it comes to electronics.
      I'm with you on that point tho...
    1. Nightowl4272's Avatar
      Nightowl4272 -
      My thoughts exactly... Duuuhhhh...like they didn't know.

      Corporate exec One: This foreign country can manufacture our product for pennies on the dollar! Whoopeee...let's do it!

      Corporate exec Two: Wow! How are they cutting the costs so low?

      Corporate exec One: Well, I hear they're a country of dirt farmers. So their laborers are happy with 15 cents an hour. Plus hard work is part of their religion. It's their way...it makes 'em happy!

      Corporate exec Two: Great...lucky us! But this seems too good to be true.

      Corporate exec One: Shhhhhhhh. We have to stay competitive! We have employees to pay and share holders to keep happy!

      Corporate exec Two: I smell trouble.

      Corporate exec One: Dude shut up and let's close this deal so we can get paid! Besides if anyone finds out...we'll make an incredulous apology, donate to Amnesty International and commit to being better...blah blah blah; you know the drill. All will be forgiven and we'll still get paid!

      Corporate exec Two: You're so right!


      Sorry...I just can't help myself. Believe me there's a LOT more cynicism where that came from. Of course Apple is doing something about it. The question is, are we the "human rights conscious" consumers going to hold them to it or just forget about it in a few months when we're whining about the higher price of the next generation iPhone? We all know the answer to that question is a big fat, "NO!" to the former, and "YES!" to the latter.
    1. screamforme02's Avatar
      screamforme02 -
      Child labor makes the world go round... We say under paid, which they are, is still usually pretty good money where they come from. I need my nikes yo
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Effenpig! View Post
      Well, I for one hope my phone wasn't built with any child labor. Children tend to do sloppy work when it comes to electronics.
      only funny thing i've read on mmi in a while.
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kroo View Post
      I think you'll find most, if not all, of these countries are communist countries, comrade!! So before you jump on your high horse in an attempt to slay the capitalist dragon, condemn the people who use child labor as a basis for their industries. China, Nth Korea, India, Pakistan, Taiwan. Do you know where, or who makes the shoes, or clothes you're wearing? At least some companies like Apple actually do audits. Nike on the other hand, know this happens and is happy to make billions on the back of sweat shops.
      Someone needs to brush up on English, -ism does not mean country.
      If you are too lazy this is the definition from Wiktionary:
      suffix of -ism on how the original post was used: a principle, belief or movement.

      Even if we take what you believe how the word was used, out of the original post: "China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Philippines and the U.S." Out of all this only 2 countries (China and Czech republic) that had anything to do with Communism, so majority is democratic state! and yes Taiwan is Democratic state, people elect their representative. I take offense that Taiwan was mentioned BY YOU as Communist state, because I was born in Taiwan. Might want to do some research before talking so you might be a bit more believable and not look like a hysterical little kid.

      Don't get on your "Apple high horse" so quickly. Apple would not go to all the countries that is listed if they do not want to exploit cheap labor and parts. Yes this time Apple caught its supplier before it escalates into something bigger, but it could have easily be some human rights group that catches Apple.
    1. gunnysir's Avatar
      gunnysir -
      COngrats to Apple for actually doing something like an audit, how many other US companies can't be bothered in the name of profits for them and their foriegn counterpasts. I applaud Apple not chastize them!
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by thetoothfairy View Post
      If Apple hired people in the U.S to make their stuff maybe they would not be in this situation would they? At least they are doing something about it...
      You mean ignoring it like the other times things have come up about the factories they use?
    1. se23's Avatar
      se23 -
      i watched so programme about working in uk and the british workers were stupid, lazy and to emotional and they complain way to much while these kids bustin they back so they can eat. these lazy westerners should see that even tho they are exploited they will do anything for a meal and they are also building one of the best devices weve seen. i really admire these kids and they do "in their eyes" and honest means of survival even tho these crooked companies get rich
    1. cranie's Avatar
      cranie -
      Quote Originally Posted by thetoothfairy View Post
      If Apple hired people in the U.S to make their stuff maybe they would not be in this situation would they? At least they are doing something about it...
      Because we already ***** that 499.99 is too much to pay. If they were "Made In America" slap an extra 200.00 on that.

      WalMart used to have that "American Made" policy until they realized it was cheaper to buy/make overseas.

      We love fancy expensive gadgets but don't charge us too much for them. We only want then to LOOK expensive. Oh..and if it's not too much to ask... we want it yesterday
    1. badbrain88's Avatar
      badbrain88 -
      Many liberalists here, excusing child labour by saying "it's always been around.....it's the way it is....a sh@t job is better than no job".

      Been brainwashed well and truly by State Media, CNN, Fox, Daily Racist (ooops, Mail), Sun <-----Apply as you see fit.

      It's been around awhile because many people demand cheap goods, whatever the consequences. Also, Apple etc. continue to give these factories business, so it is fully within their (Apple etc.) capacities to raise the wages and "make" the factories respect the rules, or even have their own centre in said country. But that might hurt profits, which would not be good for Mr Jobs & all.

      It is the major corp.'s that hold the power to raise the wages and consequently, the standard of living, of course coupled with the countries in question. Do you think S.Korea had as a high a standard of living before they got involved?

      Also, if you read a bit, you will find child labour is also used in UK and USA, in illegal/unregulated factories. Cleaners? Fruit pickers?

      For the geo-political ignoramuses, "Western World" also includes Japan and Australia, NOT just W.Europe and Americas. "Third World" is also not used anymore, except by anachronists, the current terminology, however vulgar is "under-developed", "developing" and "developed" nation states.

      And Apple caring?? Hahaha, good one. They shaft their own customers (who give Apple power and profit) by denying problems ( until recently) with expensive imacs. Think they care about people they have to pay and who don't give Apple money?

      They only alert about 3 factories as they don't want their all-mighty profits to suffer from bad press. Instead a bunch of morons will say, "cool Apple, they're doing something about it, they care." The rest of us will see through the BS, but still buy the new phones.

      By the way, when in June does it come out? ;-)
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      on a brighter side, this will give the kids good working ethics early


      @davshirley,@uncle_don

      both well said
    1. DarkPotato's Avatar
      DarkPotato -
      pfft. Apple just uncovered this so so random person wouldnt uncover it first and blame it on Apple
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by rhekt View Post
      on a brighter side, this will give the kids good working ethics early


      @davshirley,@uncle_don

      both well said
      I Don't believe that to be true. Working that young doesn't promote anything but the cycle of illiteracy in countries where keeping the general population as ignorant as possible is the modus operandi (sp?) of that government.

      I liken it to how slaves were treated in America in the 19th century. If the entire group of people is illiterate, you can tell them anything to placate them - and use fear as the main tactic of discouraging any action other than what the governing faction desires it to be.

      I think that if the people in this country had any HOPE of accessing whats going on in the outside world things would be quite different indeed.