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  • Cook Calls Claims of Factory Worker Mistreatment "Patently False and Offensive"


    Apple’s CEO Tim Cook recently took the time to respond to a report made by the New York Times that pointed fingers at Apple over an alleged permissiveness and indifference for workers’ conditions in China. In his email, Cook rebutted the accusations by saying “any suggestions that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us.”

    For those of you who aren’t in the loop, a NYT report cited former Apple executives as making comments such as “We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on. Why? Because the system works for us.” Another “former Apple executive with direct knowledge of the company’s supplier responsibility group” was cited saying, “"If you see the same pattern of problems, year after year, that means the company’s ignoring the issue rather than solving it,” said another former Apple executive with direct knowledge of the company's supplier responsibility group. “Noncompliance is tolerated, as long as the suppliers promise to try harder next time. If we meant business, core violations would disappear."

    The whole ordeal has sparked much debate amongst many different groups of people and the issue has become large very quickly. Tim Cook recently “fired back at reports into issues surrounding the company’s operations and partners in emerging markets,” by writing a letter to his employees in an attempt to diffuse the situation. For those of you who are interested in reading the full email, you can do so below:

    Team,

    As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.

    For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.

    Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.

    At the same time, no one has been more up front about the challenges we face. We are attacking problems aggressively with the help of the world’s foremost authorities on safety, the environment, and fair labor. It would be easy to look for problems in fewer places and report prettier results, but those would not be the actions of a leader.

    Earlier this month we opened our supply chain for independent evaluations by the Fair Labor Association. Apple was in a unique position to lead the industry by taking this step, and we did it without hesitation. This will lead to more frequent and more transparent reporting on our supply chain, which we welcome. These are the kinds of actions our customers expect from Apple, and we will take more of them in the future.

    We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.

    We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

    To those within Apple who are tackling these issues every day, you have our thanks and admiration. Your work is significant and it is changing people’s lives. We are all proud to work alongside you.

    Tim
    The letter is a quick and good move made by the Cupertino California giant. Responding to situations like this quickly will help prevent further issues down the line. The fact that anyone can follow progress on the situation is also pretty reassuring. We’ll have to wait and see which direction this issue heads in. Apple surely isn’t the only one who has been blamed for mistreating factory workers, so it is likely that this won’t become a bigger issue or possibly a lawsuit.

    What do you think of the whole situation? Share any thoughts and comments below!

    Source: Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Cook Calls Claims of Factory Worker Mistreatment "Patently False and Offensive" started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. Maxime Caudebec's Avatar
      Maxime Caudebec -
      This situation is associated with a lot of major companies who build there products over at foxconn. Unfortunately apple seems to be the only one being attacked by the media. I believe apple has been taking action over this issue. And it will just require some time to see the results
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      The reason we only hear about Apple is because news reporters like the NYT know it'll draw readers in. Apple is the big contender and a lot of ppl own at least one of their products. So if someone see's an article like this it'll catch their attention. Unless something big happens to another company we'll probably just hear about Apple. At least they're doing something about it, even letting us view the progress. Wish I could say the same about other companies.
    1. Italia411's Avatar
      Italia411 -
      I have an idea, let's bring all of our factories back to the US. China allows child slave labor. We should really look at the big picture here. Land of the free? Really? But we use products everyday made by a 10 year old forced to work under extreme conditions? Do you think that 10 year old cares if you get home safely to see your kids? Every company tries to save money having goods mass produced in China. Walmart especially should be called China import direct.
    1. UnidH4x0r's Avatar
      UnidH4x0r -
      When Apple stops outsourcing to other countries, then we can accept that they 'care.'
    1. stevelucky's Avatar
      stevelucky -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnidH4x0r View Post
      When Apple stops outsourcing to other countries, then we can accept that they 'care.'
      That's great in theory, but the reality is that America just can't compete in the industrial market at that scale.The article that ModMyi shared a few days back (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...dle-class.html) really lays out the problem. It's not the cheaper labor that keeps Apple in China, it's the flexibility that they have in industrial manufacturing. The article points out that China can have thousands of skilled engineers hired within days while the US just doesn't hardly have that amount available, let alone the ability to have them on the job in a few days time. They're also able to accommodate last minute changes in design to the iPhone and iPad, while factories in the US would take months to be able to make the same changes. Now, I'm not saying that we should have the working conditions that China has, but we're SO far behind in education and completely held back by red tape that we don't even come close. Apple's primary responsibility is to their shareholders. Fortunately, they seem to also care about the people that build their products and are enforcing labor regulations that they must abide by, but at this point, expecting them to bring production back to America is just unrealistic.
    1. Alluziion's Avatar
      Alluziion -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnidH4x0r View Post
      When Apple stops outsourcing to other countries, then we can accept that they 'care.'
      It's only natural for a private-sector business to maximise profitability by taking the cheapest, most efficient route; and if they don't, then they aren't a very 'good' private-sector business.
    1. nerfjames's Avatar
      nerfjames -
      I hate when headlines are completely inaccurate:

      Cook Calls Claims of Factory Worker Mistreatment "Patently False and Offensive"

      Read Tim's quote from your own piece:

      "Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us"


      These two things do not mean the same thing.
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by stevelucky View Post
      That's great in theory, but the reality is that America just can't compete in the industrial market at that scale.The article that ModMyi shared a few days back (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...dle-class.html) really lays out the problem. It's not the cheaper labor that keeps Apple in China, it's the flexibility that they have in industrial manufacturing. The article points out that China can have thousands of skilled engineers hired within days while the US just doesn't hardly have that amount available, let alone the ability to have them on the job in a few days time. They're also able to accommodate last minute changes in design to the iPhone and iPad, while factories in the US would take months to be able to make the same changes. Now, I'm not saying that we should have the working conditions that China has, but we're SO far behind in education and completely held back by red tape that we don't even come close. Apple's primary responsibility is to their shareholders. Fortunately, they seem to also care about the people that build their products and are enforcing labor regulations that they must abide by, but at this point, expecting them to bring production back to America is just unrealistic.
      Actually, America can compete at that level, we have just chosen not to do so for so long that many of us have forgotten that we can do so.
    1. cpotoso's Avatar
      cpotoso -
      Hey apple, how about you have the decency of lowering your profit$ just a little bit and making the conditions for your workers a little close to human? Stop being evil.
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      bahahah he should tell that to the families who've lost loved ones in Apple's factories despite this endless "care" Apple is bragging about.
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnidH4x0r View Post
      When Apple stops outsourcing to other countries, then we can accept that they 'care.'
      This!

      If Apple cares then they would look after working conditions of factories that makes their products. Maximize profits by overlooking things means they don't care, only show some interest when the problem is brought to light which hurts company image then hope things gets swept under the carpet.
    1. greeneyes5066's Avatar
      greeneyes5066 -
      Quote Originally Posted by nerfjames View Post
      I hate when headlines are completely inaccurate:

      Cook Calls Claims of Factory Worker Mistreatment "Patently False and Offensive"

      Read Tim's quote from your own piece:

      "Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us"


      These two things do not mean the same thing.
      +1
    1. WadeHM's Avatar
      WadeHM -
      It is China, how can anybody not be aware of their work place conditions. China does not have the labor laws we do. They are a Communist state for crying out loud. That is what Communists do to their people. For Cook to make that statement tells me the man is a liar. Look in the news and there is plenty of human rights violations in China including penalties for having more than one child. Cook just needs to come clean, not lie about it.
    1. stevelucky's Avatar
      stevelucky -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmwade77 View Post
      Actually, America can compete at that level, we have just chosen not to do so for so long that many of us have forgotten that we can do so.
      Unfortunately, no, America CAN'T compete. Here's a hypothetical scenario: Apple realizes that demand for the new iPad 12 is so great that they're going to need to ramp up production in a big way. To accommodate, China builds a new factory, practically overnight, and hires scores of lower level engineers to oversee operations. This all happens in a matter of weeks. In America, they try to get a new factory built, but the permits take 6 months to get approved during which time they're unable to even break ground on the property that they purchased. HR is unable to even find enough lower level engineers to qualify for the position. Our educational system is so far behind that we can't even produce the types of candidates they would need.

      So, I would argue that the problem is much bigger than the idea that we've just "chosen" not to compete. Who would choose that? It's a fundamental governmental failure that has brought us to where we are today.
    1. WadeHM's Avatar
      WadeHM -
      Quote Originally Posted by stevelucky View Post
      Unfortunately, no, America CAN'T compete. Here's a hypothetical scenario: Apple realizes that demand for the new iPad 12 is so great that they're going to need to ramp up production in a big way. To accommodate, China builds a new factory, practically overnight, and hires scores of lower level engineers to oversee operations. This all happens in a matter of weeks. In America, they try to get a new factory built, but the permits take 6 months to get approved during which time they're unable to even break ground on the property that they purchased. HR is unable to even find enough lower level engineers to qualify for the position. Our educational system is so far behind that we can't even produce the types of candidates they would need.

      So, I would argue that the problem is much bigger than the idea that we've just "chosen" not to compete. Who would choose that? It's a fundamental governmental failure that has brought us to where we are today.
      You are spot on. Don't forget the potential lawsuits by environmental groups if the factory might disrupt nature in an yway. Now we are talking years instead of months. There will also be traffic impact studies, politicians bickering over who gets credit for these new jobs as well as potential union activity if the workers aren't unionized. The list goes on. Over-regulation makes it harder to create jobs. And don't forget taxes! Must make sure they get taxed to death first unless you give the almighty dollar to Congress in enough bribes.
    1. stevelucky's Avatar
      stevelucky -
      Quote Originally Posted by WadeHM View Post
      You are spot on. Don't forget the potential lawsuits by environmental groups if the factory might disrupt nature in an yway. Now we are talking years instead of months. There will also be traffic impact studies, politicians bickering over who gets credit for these new jobs as well as potential union activity if the workers aren't unionized. The list goes on. Over-regulation makes it harder to create jobs. And don't forget taxes! Must make sure they get taxed to death first unless you give the almighty dollar to Congress in enough bribes.
      Environmental impact reports! I totally forgot about that. Now we've added years to our timeline. We're screwed.

      I'd like to say that I don't think we should adopt Chinas standards either. I think we've got to be able to find middle ground. I don't know what the answer is, but I'd like to believe that with the brain trust we have running this country that someone would have a viable solution. On second though, I think I'll stick with my previous statement: we're screwed.
    1. ishamiyal's Avatar
      ishamiyal -
      One of the reasons I like these articles being posted on ModMyi is that it tends to draw the few adults that still seem to frequent these forums, which in turn normally turns into a fairly intelligent discussion. It's nice to see that so many people actually know when they are being baited by the media in an effort to draw readers to their periodicals. It's also nice to see so many people that still understand basic economics and business management, who while not unsympathetic to the plight of foreign workers, still understand the realities of global economics.

      We cannot have reasonable prices on consumer electronic products, nor compete globally, trying to pay American workers $35 an hour, Mon-Fri, 8-5, 2-3 weeks paid vacation, with Co provided medical and dental with China paying their workers $8 dollars a week. The fact that Apple cares at all about a company they do not own or run, speaks volumes.
    1. RoloDiva13's Avatar
      RoloDiva13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by stevelucky View Post
      that's great in theory, but the reality is that america just can't compete in the industrial market at that scale.the article that modmyi shared a few days back (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...dle-class.html) really lays out the problem. It's not the cheaper labor that keeps apple in china, it's the flexibility that they have in industrial manufacturing. The article points out that china can have thousands of skilled engineers hired within days while the us just doesn't hardly have that amount available, let alone the ability to have them on the job in a few days time. They're also able to accommodate last minute changes in design to the iphone and ipad, while factories in the us would take months to be able to make the same changes. Now, i'm not saying that we should have the working conditions that china has, but we're so far behind in education and completely held back by red tape that we don't even come close. Apple's primary responsibility is to their shareholders. Fortunately, they seem to also care about the people that build their products and are enforcing labor regulations that they must abide by, but at this point, expecting them to bring production back to america is just unrealistic.
      thank you.
    1. Stray's Avatar
      Stray -
      Quote Originally Posted by Italia411 View Post
      I have an idea, let's bring all of our factories back to the US. China allows child slave labor. We should really look at the big picture here. Land of the free? Really? But we use products everyday made by a 10 year old forced to work under extreme conditions? Do you think that 10 year old cares if you get home safely to see your kids? Every company tries to save money having goods mass produced in China. Walmart especially should be called China import direct.
      There is a HUGE reason why they don't bring anything back to the U.S. First, they'd have to pay more. Then, they'd need to allow more days off, less work time, and then, its just easier for them to do it in China. Less complaining.
    1. stevelucky's Avatar
      stevelucky -
      Quote Originally Posted by ishamiyal View Post
      One of the reasons I like these articles being posted on ModMyi is that it tends to draw the few adults that still seem to frequent these forums, which in turn normally turns into a fairly intelligent discussion. It's nice to see that so many people actually know when they are being baited by the media in an effort to draw readers to their periodicals. It's also nice to see so many people that still understand basic economics and business management, who while not unsympathetic to the plight of foreign workers, still understand the realities of global economics.

      We cannot have reasonable prices on consumer electronic products, nor compete globally, trying to pay American workers $35 an hour, Mon-Fri, 8-5, 2-3 weeks paid vacation, with Co provided medical and dental with China paying their workers $8 dollars a week. The fact that Apple cares at all about a company they do not own or run, speaks volumes.
      +100 (can I + you that many?)