Watchdog group blasts Apple for continued labor abuses

Apple Labor Violations China

Consumer watchdog group SumOfUs.org has been one of the most vocal organizations with regard to pressing Apple to force changes at Chinese plants operated by the Cupertino, California-based company’s manufacturing partner Foxconn. The group has repeatedly taken Apple to task for standing idly by while workers are mistreated, injured and even poisoned in plants that build Apple wares. Apple has made efforts to push for reform but its work with the FLA has not appeased SumOfUs.org — the group on Wednesday placed an ad in a San Jose newspaper calling on Apple and CEO Tim Cook to follow through on the promise to improve working conditions at its partners’ plants in China.

Apple’s own investigation found illegal working conditions and endemic abuse in its factories, and Apple pledged to clean up its act and obey the law. But back-to-back independent reports confirm that Apple and its suppliers are still treating workers poorly, and in some cases even worse than before,” SumOfUs.org founder and executive director Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman said. “Apple may be hoping that its customers will forget about the stories of workers dying to make our iGadgets, but the 200,000 SumOfUs.org members who signed our petition to Apple will not let those workers be forgotten.”

SumOfUs.org’s full press release follows below.

New Report Blasts Apple For Labor Abuses, New Ad Running in CA

China Labor Watch Report Details Continued Sub-Standard Working Conditions in Chinese Factories

62,000 Sign Open Letter in the San Jose Mercury News Asking Apple CEO Tim Cook to Fulfill Past Promises

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – Today, July 11th, an ad by consumer watchdog SumOfUs.org will run in the San Jose Mercury News calling on Apple CEO Tim Cook to fulfill his promises and improve working conditions in all of Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partners, including Foxconn facilities and lesser-known factories, where, according to a new report from China Labor Watch, excessive overtime, low wages, and hazardous working environments are still rampant.

“Apple’s own investigation found illegal working conditions and endemic abuse in its factories, and Apple pledged to clean up its act and obey the law. But back-to-back independent reports confirm that Apple and its suppliers are still treating workers poorly, and in some cases even worse than before,” says Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, SumOfUs.org Founder and Executive Director. “Apple may be hoping that its customers will forget about the stories of workers dying to make our iGadgets, but the 200,000 SumOfUs.org members who signed our petition to Apple will not let those workers be forgotten.”

The ad, which publishes  SumOfUs.org’s open letter to Tim Cook calling for improved conditions following worker suicides in Foxconn factories, comes on the heels of China Labor Watch’s new report, which found:

SIGN THE OPEN LETTER TO TIM COOK HERE: http://sumofus.org/campaigns/apple-uprising/

A recent investigation by China Labor Watch discovered that serious work-related injuries and wide abuse of labor laws exist throughout Apple’s Chinese supply chain, and are frequently even worse at other factories getting less attention than Foxconn. When Apple rolls out a new product with high demand, workers labor up to 340 hours a month, translating to eleven-hour days, every single day of the month, for months on end. At many factories, workers are constantly exposed to toxic airborne particles and hazardous chemicals, as well as suffering verbal abuse from management.

While these issues are not exclusive to Apple, as an industry leader, Tim Cook is in a unique position to herald major changes in Chinese manufacturing practices by demanding higher standards and making ethical production a priority.

VIEW THE AD HERE: http://sumofus.org/post/apple-ad/

Apple had committed to addressing working conditions in the Chinese factories that build iPhones, iPods and iPads in March after a Fair Labor Association (FLA) report highlighted ways in which Apple could improve conditions.  In May, however, Hong Kong-based watchdog group SACOM – Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior – released another report documenting continued worker abuse, and worsening conditions for laborers in Foxconn factories.  The new report from China Labor Watch details similar abuses in lesser-known factories, illustrating that Apple’s pledge to improve working conditions is being ignored across the board.

In an effort to keep Apple honest, SumOfUs.org launched the watchdog website  http://www.ethicaliphone.org to monitor the working conditions and changes at Apple’s Foxconn factories in China.  The website serves as a clearinghouse for information on working conditions at Apple’s Chinese manufacturers and a launching pad for change.  The open letter to Cook, which 60,000 supporters have signed, states, “As your customers and potential customers, we call on you to genuinely and measurably improve working conditions for the workers who build the products that have made your company so successful, by paying a living wage and ensuring respect for freedom of association, so that you will be able to say that your iPhones, iPads and other iGadgets are made ethically.”

View the Ethical iPhone website here: http://www.ethicaliphone.org

View the China Labor Watch Report here: http://www.ethicaliphone.org/more/

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