Posts Tagged ‘Fair Labor Association’

Update: Foxconn, maker of iPhones and iPads, announces big pay raise

February 18, 2012

 

Foxconn Technology, maker of iPhones, iPads, and countless other consumer electronics goods, announced Saturday an immediate pay raise of 16%-25%, to about $400 a month,  for the lowest paid workers in its Chinese plants.

At Apple’s request the industry-sponsored Fair Labor Association has started an audit of its suppliers’ factories in China. The pay raise won’t affect the audit, but it’s nevertheless good news for the workers who build Apple’s products as well as reassurance for the people who buy them. (Like me.)

 

Is it ethical to buy an iPhone or iPad made in a Chinese sweatshop?

February 14, 2012

 

My amazing iPhone 3GS was made in Foxconn’s huge factory in Shenzen, China, where workers toil long hours under unhealthy and downright dangerous conditions, put in forced, unpaid overtime, sleep in crowded dormitories, and—occasionally, commit suicide.

Now I’m ready to upgrade to the newest iPhone 4S, with Siri, the personal assistant with attitude. But can I give Apple more business with a clear conscience?

The outsourcing of millions of jobs to low cost countries has eliminated the American consumer electronics industry. Virtually all desktop and laptop computers are made in Asia, along with nearly all mobile phones, TV sets, and radios. Americans have gone on to other jobs, but many have never found employment as good as they had in manufacturing.

The cost to Americans is arguably far outweighed by the benefits of a dizzying variety of goods that are far, far more affordable than they were years ago. But do our benefits come at the cost of exploiting workers in China, for example?

If we look at the working conditions at Foxconn we’re tempted to say yes. And many people have taken what they consider a principled stand against buying Apple products, or indeed, any products made under sub-standard—by American standards—conditions.

But the Foxconn workers aren’t slaves—they flock to Shenzen (more…)