Foxconn Employees Still Treated Poorly?

By , May 2, 2011

This is one of the saddest stories in Apple’s epic saga. They continue to do business with large manufacturing companies that just can’t figure out how to treat their employees. It seems like we are always hearing about employees of Apple’s suppliers being poisoned or working in insufferable conditions.

To be fair, Apple is one of largest electronic manufacturers in the world. That kind of notoriety would put a target on anyone’s back. But it is concerning that Apple still pays Foxconn money, even with the ongoing reports of their lack of compassion for their employee’s well-being…

We’ve done several posts on the giant parts manufacturer known as Foxconn. A majority of those stories have been on the alarming suicide rate and awful working conditions at their large factories in China.

Apple has responded to the suicides and other Foxconn issues by stating that they would increase regulatory checks and ensure the proper treatment of Foxconn workers.

Obviously, this has done little to impact the factory workers, as India Times is reporting today that their are still problems with the Chinese factories. A recent investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations has yet again found appalling conditions in the Foxconn factories.

It seems putting bars on their bedroom windows wasn’t the only measure Foxconn implemented to combat the alarming rate of employee suicides. They also require their workers to sign a ‘no suicide’ pledge. Workers were even made to promise that if they did kill themselves, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

The report also concludes that demand for Apple iPhone and iPad products is so high, that workers in China who assemble the devices are treated ‘inhumanly, like machines’ to keep up their high-volume output.

Another organization by the name of Sacom (Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior) was involved in the investigation. Leontien Aarnoudse is an official of Sacom, and made these comments on their findings:

“Conditions are harsh and they don’t have a social life. Their life is just working in a factory and that is it. They work excessive overtime for a salary they can hardly live on and are inhumanely treated.”

When is Apple going to step in and put a stop to this? I realize that these folks are given a job by the manufacturing company, but at what costs?

Not to sound too dramatic, but are Apple products destined to become blood diamonds?

What do you think?

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  • Brandon

    First – If conditions are that bad, why do people still go to work there? I mean let’s be honest – if a friend of yours told you that the company you are planning to work for had a huge suicide rate, treated their employees like slaves, and would work you until you killed yourself… why would you go work there? And if that was the case and you were a current employee, why wouldn’t you leave? Don’t tell me this is all they can do. Yes, I’m sure the conditions suck compared to working conditions in other developed nations, but compared to some conditions I’ve seen in China – these workers have it pretty good.

    Foxconn continues to get the contracts because IT IS WHAT THE CONSUMER DEMANDS. We demand good products at dirt cheap prices (obviously not specifically Apple). If the price goes too high, we don’t buy it. Well, you want good conditions for these workers – plan on paying for them. Triple the cost of an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc. Oh… and don’t plan on buying from Dell, HP, Acer, Amazon, Intel, Nokia, Sony, Samsung and more because they all work with Foxconn too. So up goes the price on everything. src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn

    The conditions are what they are. Three things can happen – We can continue to let Foxconn run a business in the most efficient manor they can within the laws of the country they operate in, the people who work there can say NO MORE and refuse to work in those conditions anymore, or we the buyers of the products can demand changes and face the fact that we can’t afford to buy the products anymore.

    • Young Money

      You’re an idiot. Plain and simple. If you know a place that has enough jobs to employ all the people at foxconn please post a link. You don’t understand it but these people are working for to provide for their families and have no other choice. And Id rather have prices go up than know people are killing themselves over making the things. Or maybe instead of prices going up the guys is Cupertino could take a cut in their pay. Steve jobs is a cock sucker (thats how he got aids)

      I hate dumb ass ignorant people like Brandon. Don’t bother replying because I’m not coming back to this thread to read your retarded reply

      • http://Facebook David

        Very well said my good sir

      • Brandon

        I do understand it. And I don’t agree with it. I’ve been in the same situation as these people with nothing and working non-stop to provide for my family. I’ve been on welfare. I’ve had to rely on other people to help. I don’t sympathize – but I can empathize.

        I’m glad you think I’m an idiot. When you reach a slight age of reason – come back and read what you posted. Then you might see how much of the pot was calling the kettle on this one. When you’ve had to live on nothing but the check you got from the WIC office, then maybe you’ll understand why I don’t sympathize – I empathize. I worked hard (just as they are) to get what I have, and while they may not have the same opportunities I’ve had, they can do the same and with the right drive they will do the same.

        As for Apple taking pay cuts… Jobs makes $1 per year salary. The average salary at Apple is just under $50,000 per year. The average salary on Wall Street 4 times as much. So – yes, Apple’s salaries are definitely the problem.

      • Olternaut

        He is not an idiot. All of you are spoiled evil people destined for destruction and the judgement.

    • Jon Garrett

      when you’re poor and starving you will do whatever it takes to provide for yourself and your family. do you think these people have the same opportunities that we do?

      Apple is no different than any other American company, they have no shame in exploiting people in foreign countries.

    • http://twitter.com/justmeblue5ft3 blue5ft3

      Because that is the type of jobs they can get, they are hiring another 1000000 this week and the lines are endless. They need the jobs, and half of all electronics are made from parts made at Foxconn or similar factories.

  • Kendall

    What the people driving the crusade against FoxConn ignore is how much worse things are at other factories – FoxConn workers are higher paid than other places, and rather than “just being able to live” on what they are paid, are supporting whole families.

    It is a shame they put bars up since the suicide rate as a percentage is lower than for the population of the U.S.

  • Young Money

    They need to take their contracts away from these companies and give them to Americans who will be protected by labor laws and OSHA.

    You can say it’s not apples fault but it really is. They are enabling these companies and their actions because they give their contracts to the lowest bidder knowing it comes at the sacrifice of the workers. Just to add to Apples bottom line. Pure Greed!

    • Brandon

      You can’t build these things in America. Americans won’t work for those wages – and so even if you said fine, we’ll build them in the US and pay the right wages, the costs to build the units would be so high that the prices would sky rocket and nobody would buy them. So, you then have massive layoffs at those plants and nobody buying the products.

      I’m all for buying/building American – but until we can build it for a price that people can afford to pay for it – its never going to happen.

      And I wouldn’t call any of these companies who use Foxconn “Pure Greed”. Oil companies are pure greed. Healthcare – pure greed. Dell, HP, Apple … not pure greed. Some greed – but not pure.

      • Jon Garrett

        hire teenagers and retirees., pay them minimum wage. do this in one of the states that have the lowest minimum wage rates. if this is not enough, offer only part time jobs (20hrs a week) and no benefits. teenagers dont need their own benefits, they have their parents. retirees dont need the benefits either, they’ve got that through their entitlements.

        If teens and retirees dont want these jobs then offer them to low level offenders coming out of prison

        If low level offenders dont want the jobs., then offer these jobs to welfare recipients.

        there are millions of Americans who would love to work for apple and any other US company that wants to bring their jobs back to America.

        problem solved.

    • Brandon

      @jon

      The problem with that is the unions will get involved (see Wal-Mart) and before you know it you can’t get the job done because people are strike for better pay, benefits, improved working conditions, etc.

      Again, I’m all for bringing the manufacturing back to the US, but I just don’t see it happening. I wish it would, and I like your plan, but there’s too many companies that have tried and met with too much resistance.

      • Jon Garrett

        so then you’re one of those anti-unions types? why should people work under unsafe conditions?

        corporations dont like unions because they’d rather pay top management multimillion dollar bonuses than to pay a fraction of that to give employees better health insurance.

        politicians (Republicans) dont like unions because they support their rivals (Democrats)

        unions protect people who would otherwise be vulnerable. people like municipal employees here in NYC whose job related injuries and death usually come at the hands of the people they work to serve. Unions got them the protections they needed by making it a felony to assault a muni-employee on the job, by installing cameras where they work by protecting them from being fired if they had to take time off from work because of an injury sustained while on the job.

        I doubt very much people would be able or even willing to unionize $5hr jobs but I understand that anything is possible.

  • MarkL

    People still want to work to feed their families. If you are born rich or having average life style in first/2nd world country, you will not feel or understand why many people in china or any in the third worl country wants to work in such a factories like this. Not to mention, some poor people do bad things to feed their family. I feel sorry for them because this is the only way(job) they know to feed their family.

  • msxy

    every time i hear about Foxconn Employees i think that apple sucks

  • Nick

    HOW ABOUT APPLE TAKES A PAY CUT AND STOPS MAKING BILLIONS WHILE LETTING ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN.

    THATS THE EASIEST WAY TO END IT AND EVERYONE STILL GETS THEIR PRODUCTS.

    STEVE JOBS CAN TAKE A PAY CUT.

    • msxy

      lollll if it’s that way iphone comes i prefer that apple don’t exist.

      • Brandon

        @msxy – That’s the way the iPhone comes. The iPad. Your Android phone. The Sony Reader. The Kindle. Your Samsung TV. Your Dell Laptop. Your HP Desktop. The servers your company uses to run its business.

        If you would prefer the iPhone doesn’t exist to stop Foxconn operating this way – are you prepared to say the same for the vast majority of the other electronic devices in your home?

        This isn’t just an Apple problem, so I hope you think all those other companies that use Foxconn suck too.

        @Nick – Jobs makes $1 per year salary. Any pay cut he takes wouldn’t change anything.

  • Biff

    A lot of people are against unions. But if unions didn’t come together years ago Americans and Canadians would be working like this. Trust me, even though we have a minimum wage there are companies treating their employees like shit.

    • msxy

      yeah my dream stl want to sea u working like that instead of saying blshit, instead of helping them u are giving another example

    • Jon Garrett

      exactly.

  • BrandinoJalapeno

    @Brandon WTF, I guess you keep on the salaries just because it was mentioned earlier, and while I agree with you that their SALARIES aren’t bad, their profit margins are absolutely disgustingly fucking huge. It is flat out bullshit to think Apple’s products couldn’t be MADE AND sold in the US at their current prices. At the margins, probably not, who the hell of you claiming that are educated and qualified to make that assertion? Any economists? Any MBAs? Doubt it.

  • http://twitter.com/justmeblue5ft3 blue5ft3

    I think anyone that says APPLE and not all smartphone companies, and electronics companies, who can’t even google it or check Wikipedia should not be writing these stupid blame it all on APPLE articles.