It has been nearly a year since Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook addressed the unsafe working conditions in the company’s supply chain factories. Following an investigation from the Fair Labor Association that found a number of Chinese labor law violations, Apple and Foxconn (2038) agreed to improve conditions. The companies planned a series of reforms, including reduced hours and significantly higher wages. Foxconn said that the majority of changes would go into effect by July 2013, however according to a report from The New York Times, some workers have already noticed some smaller changes taking place such as cushioned chairs replacing old wooden stools.
Apple has continued to work with advocacy groups over the past year as it carries on with its efforts to improve conditions and factory worker morale. The company has tripled its corporate social responsibility staff, in addition to re-evaluating how it works with its supply chain partners, and has even reached out to competitors such as HP (HPQ) and Intel (INTC) to help curb excessive overtime in China.
Despite the improvements, many laborers continue to work illegal overtime and employee safety remains at risk. These are problems Apple must address in 2013, advocacy groups say.