Apple on Monday announced that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has started to inspect Foxconn's plants in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. Foxconn is one of the Cupertino-based company's largest manufacturer of popular products such as the iPad and iPhone.
"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we've asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement released by the company. "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports." Apple is expecting a thorough investigation of Foxconn's plants, and the FLA will analyze health and safety conditions in Foxconn's dorms and working areas as well as employee hours and compensation.
Apple came under scrutiny in late January after a New York Times report suggested that the company was overlooking poor working conditions in its factories in an effort to make sure that products were released on schedule. Foxconn has regularly been accused of treating employees poorly and its safety record is a bit smudged. In May, an explosion at a Foxconn facility that produced the iPad killed two workers and injured several more. The explosion was eventually blamed on a buildup of aluminum dust that collected during the iPad polishing process. An explosion in December of last year at Pegatron, another Apple plant, injured as many as 61 workers, too.
Apple said on Monday that it has audited each factory responsible for final assembly of its products since 2006. It has also audited Foxconn's facilities more than 40 times.
Fair Labor Association Begins Inspections of Foxconn
CUPERTINO, California—February 13, 2012—Apple® today announced that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple's final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple's request. A team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City.
"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we've asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports."
As part of its independent assessment, the FLA will interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The FLA's team will inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment.
Apple's suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA, offering unrestricted access to their operations. The FLA's findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted in early March on its website, www.fairlabor.org. Similar inspections will be conducted at Quanta and Pegatron facilities later this Spring, and when completed, the FLA's assessment will cover facilities where more than 90 percent of Apple products are assembled.
Apple has audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain each year since 2006, including more than 40 audits of Foxconn manufacturing and final assembly facilities. Details of Apple's supplier responsibility program, including the results of more than 500 factory audits led by Apple throughout its supply chain over the past five years, are available atwww.apple.com/supplierresponsibility.
In January, Apple became the first technology company admitted to the Fair Labor Association. The FLA conducts independent monitoring and verification to ensure that the FLA's Workplace Standards are upheld wherever FLA company products are made.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.