A reporter has been granted rare access to Foxconn's Longhua iPad production facility in Shenzhen, China, as questions are starting to be raised about why the spotlight is falling on Apple for allegedly poor working conditions. Rob Schmitz of Marketplace spent time talking to workers at the factory, and barring some tough supervisors and a dispute over a promised pay raise, reported that most people had a "generally positive attitude about working at Foxconn." Of course, this is only one factory, and Schmitz was escorted by the special assistant to Foxconn's CEO, so such reports can never be truly comprehensive. Nevertheless, Schmitz said that, while the jobs seem unsurprisingly boring and repetitive, the workers appear to be comfortable.
As with most reports on Foxconn, Marketplace only looked at the production line for an Apple product. However, the same company manufactures products by Samsung, Dell, HP, Microsoft, and many more major players in the technology world, and the New York Times has attempted to get comment from them and others about their labor conditions. The Fair Labor Association recently released a report on Apple's supply chain at the company's request, but none of the companies gave a detailed and relevant answer to the Times — among others, Samsung didn't respond, Lenovo offered a general sustainability report, Amazon and Barnes & Noble declined to comment, and Microsoft only provides summarized FLA reports to the public. While Apple's success makes it an obvious lightning rod for criticism of Foxconn, and the company is clearly on a PR offensive regarding the issue, it does at least seem to be more open than others about its labor practices in China.