Techmeme-linked Apple fanboy bloggers are also to blame for not making a big enough issue out of Apple's slave factories in China.Apple has a million modern slaves in China, making sub-$200 monthly salaries, with total disregard for safety, health, working seven days a week standing up (80-hour work weeks, routinely forced to do 100 hours overtime work a month), rushed and forced to build the iPhones and iPads that gave Apple's latest $13.06 billion record quarterly profit and $46.3 billion in revenue.
I make the reasoning simple. Apple is the biggest company in the world. Its wealth comes nearly exclusively from the iPod (2002-2006) and iPhone (2007-2011) which are devices built by the biggest slavery factories in China. The Apple executive (under anonymity) says it quite clearly in the NYT article: "Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”
Apple CEO and Apple Board of Directors have to demand it from suppliers to verifiably and significantly improve working conditions, that means salary increases, that means worker unions. Now.
For example: Double worker salaries now, halve their working hours. Apple can't afford it? Give me a break! Average salaries per iPhone assembly is $10 (all assembly steps included). Apple makes $500 profit per iPhone. Simply increase worker pay by 4x to $40 per iPhone, make sure the worker gets all that money and not the intermediary, Apple still makes $470 profit per iPhone. Overnight, all Apple factory workers can thus make $400/month (instead of $200/month) for 40hr-work-weeks (instead of 80hr-work-weeks) with free on week-ends and with several weeks of extra yearly holiday time, and full shift flexibility. Problem solved.
Read here: http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/2011-05-06_foxconn-and-apple-fail-to-fulfill-promises.pdf
A typical day of an Apple factory worker at Foxconn in Chengdu:
06:45 Wake up
07:15 Queue up for bus
07:40 Arrive at Foxconn (breakfast and punch card)
08:10 Work assembly
08:30 Work shift begins
12:20 Work shift resumes
18:20 Overtime shift begins
20:20 Work shift ends
21:00 Arrive at dormitory
Transcript of a worker interview
Researcher (R) met Ah Ming (M), a 19 years old male worker, at the entrance of southern campus in Chengdu. At that time, Ah Ming was having a dinner break and he bought some food from the vendors outside Foxconn like many other workers did. He is a graduate from a tertiary school. He wants to be an engineer at Foxconn but was assigned to the production line.
R: When did you start working at Foxconn?
M: Since February.
R: What do you do at Foxconn?
M: I produce case for tablet PC.
R: Is it case for iPad?
R: What do you do exactly? Molding iPad case?
M: I work on assembly line to assemble the case.
R: Do you find the work relaxing?
M: It isn’t relaxing at all! It’s exhausting. I have to stand at least 14 hours a day.
R: Do you have lots of overtime work?
M: I wake up before 7:00 am. Then I have to queue up for bus to the factory. The bus is overcrowded. The work shift starts at 8:30 am, and I have to arrive at the factory at 8:00 am.
R: Is it because of the work meeting?
M: We have to assemble in the factory everyday. At noon, we have to queue for at the canteen for a long time. Basically, we have to stand throughout the day, no matter when we going to work or going back to dorm. When we arrive at the dorm, it’s already 9:00 pm.
R: Oh…it’s really tiring. What will you do on the rest day in a week?
M: I have been here for half-month, but I haven’t got time for fun.
R: Do you mean there is no rest day on the weekends?
M: Although it states that there are 2 days-off, but I haven’t got a day off.
R: How many overtime hours do you have since you worked here?
M: We have 2 hours overtime work on every weekday. On the weekends, it’s 10-hour overtime work.
R: Have you ever tried to decline overtime work due to exhaustion?
M: Yes, I did. The company says overtime work is voluntary, but if I don’t stay for overtime work, it will be regarded as work stoppage.
R: Have you ever lodged a complaint for the forced overtime work?
M: No. I plan to resign.
M: I just like a robot repeating the same motion. I don’t have to use my brain. The time passed too slow. In addition, I have to stand during work.
R: What Foxconn should improve?
M: I don’t understand why we can’t sit. And we can’t bring our cell phone to the shop floor. Even the cell phone without camera is prohibited.
R: What do you want to do after the work shift ends?
M: It’s routine. Sleep, work and eat.
R: Some workers said they felt depressed did not want to talk to others after finishing their work.
M: It’s also because some of the roommates are on different shifts.
R: Can you get along well with your roommates?
M: Our room accommodates 6 persons. I only know 2 of them. The others I haven’t met them at all. When I am on day shift, they are on night shift, vice versa.
R: Thank you for your time!Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.“Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost,” said Li Mingqi, who until April worked in management at Foxconn Technology, one of Apple’s most important manufacturing partners. Mr. Li helped manage the Chengdu factory where the explosion occurred.“Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” he said.Some former Apple executives say there is an unresolved tension within the company: executives want to improve conditions within factories, but that dedication falters when it conflicts with crucial supplier relationships or the fast delivery of new products.“We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on,” said one former Apple executive who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. “Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”“If half of iPhones were malfunctioning, do you think Apple would let it go on for four years?” the executive asked.