A closer look at the manufacturing practices of Apple's suppliers - Underage labor, injuries and more
First, let me start off by saying: I know these things go on at many factories in China, not just companies that supply Apple. I know Foxconn employees may be better off than the employees at other factories or working in the fields. These doesn't make it OK, however.
NPR's This American Life did an investigation into the labor practices of Foxconn, Apple's main contractor who's employees built iPads, iPhones and Macs.
Business Week has a nice article where they summarize some of This American Life's findings. Some of the more notable points:
- In the first two hours outside the factory gates, Daisey meets workers who say they are 14, 13, and 12 years old (along with plenty of older ones). Daisey estimates that about 5% of the workers he talked to were underage.
- the standard shift is 12 hours. Generally, these shifts extend to 14-16 hours, especially when there's a hot new gadget to build. While Daisey is in Shenzhen, a Foxconn worker dies after working a 34-hour shift.
-The workers stay in dormitories. In a 12-by-12 cement cube of a room, Daisey counts 15 beds, stacked like drawers up to the ceiling. Normal-sized Americans would not fit in them.
- One man got his hand crushed in a metal press at Foxconn. Foxconn did not give him medical attention. When the man's hand healed, it no longer worked. So they fired him.
These are just a few of the topics touched upon. The Business Week summary can be read at http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-child-labor-2012-1,
and you can listen to the full discussion on NPR as well as find the transcript here: