Former iPhone Factory Workers Call for Reform in Open Letter

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john_e

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The launch of the iPhone 5 later this year will be new Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first big product rollout, and he can’t afford for anything to go wrong — including negative publicity around how Apple’s suppliers treat their workers."
Yeah 1 way would be to vote with our pockets and not buy any Apple products. Only then would Apple do something to improve working conditions, but knowing Apple they'll just do it to stop losing sales and the cash flow it brings to its greedy investors. Same applies to all other companies using Foxconn factories.
 

Houndsteeth

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Not apologizing for Apple, but in this case, they were not the culprit for the n-hexane poisoning. Apple production specs called for the use of alcohol to clean all the affected parts. It was the decision of a line manager to use n-hexane because it was cheaper and easier to acquire than alcohol. Since there really is not government oversight body like OSHA to enforce worker safety, the change of cleaning chemicals also raised to red flags or warnings, and all the workers in the section were affected by n-hexane poisoning, leaving several of them hospitalized for months.

Should Apple step up and do something for these workers? At least from a public relations standpoint, they should do what they can to help these workers, since they profited from their misfortune. But doing so would amount to a claim of responsibility, so I am sure their lawyers are warning them against any public admission of any level of responsibility.

By the way, Apple was not the only company that contracted with this manufacturer. The company in question had contracts with a large number of major electronics companies, American, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese. Are any of them being held to the flame like Apple? Or is it because Apple happens to be the one holding the most cash at the moment?
 

phishy714

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I get the feeling that this letter will have a place to put in your credit card information in at the bottom so that you can support a princess held captive there.. or something.
 

icepick314

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good luck convincing Americans from NOT buying iPhone...or Xbox 360...or PS3...or other electronics Foxconn makes for rest of the world...
 

Microgoliath

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Only way things will change is if people stop buying products from these companies that use foxconn, but that's not realistically possible since so many use foxonn :|
 
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Actually the Chinese Government's problem. But apparently they get a pass in favor of attacking the "greedy" companies.
 

Achoo22

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This situation represents a failure from the Chinese government to protect its people. The Lord knows that there are folks in the US who are at this moment working in environments riddled with asbestos and diacetyl and worse. If the US government fails to protect its citizenry from big business, I have little faith that China can or will do so. Attempting to pressure industrial forces to police themselves is futile. While I have great sympathy for these suffering workers, at home and abroad, it is likely that their suffering will continue.
 

__-_-_-__

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[citation][nom]javiermontes[/nom]By the way, Apple was not the only company that contracted with this manufacturer.[/citation]
what other company sells iphones? because what are we talking about here is about apple products. no n-hexane poisoning occurred in other factories.
 

javiermontes

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Dude that was not my comment, this was my comment

Shouldn't be Apples, HP, Cisco, or any other company that uses Foxcon problem, Foxcon problems should be foxcon problems
and yes no poisoning occurred in other factories, still, should be problem of Foxcon or the Chinese government.
 

drchemist

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Being a PhD Synthetic Chemist for pharmaceuticals I'm able to explain this a little better. Ethanol is commonly used for screens and such to because it is safer hazard wise. However, the reason for n-hexane is not cost as 90-95% Ethanol is very cheap compared to hexanes. It is time related. It takes significantly longer for Ethanol to dry in the air than n-hexane which is much more volatile and will dry extremely fast. Therefore, allowing for many more products to be made per day.

I use hexanes all the time and honestly it really isn't too bad having spilled on my hands sometimes, as long as it is not continual and prolonged. My guess is that these workers and the plant did not require the following:
A) respirator for the filtering the fumes (needed by OSHA and Safety standards in the US)
B) proper safety gloves (Viton) which are resistant for even immersion into hexanes
So who is to blame here, not the client, but the manufacturer. If you make anything like this in the US and they didn't follow OSHA and various safety guidelines the manufacturer would be sued, not the client. It is up to the manufacturer and the employee to demand this from the employer. The problem is that this will never happen in China because there are hundreds of others waiting for your job outside because the quality of life and pay everywhere else is so bad that you can't have a living wage without working at these places. If Apple and the other manufacters want to complain, fine, but it will only change if you move your production to a safety regulated facility in the US or Europe. That's it.

In case you needed it here is a portion of the MSDS that is on file at every chemical company in the US to follow appropriate procedures for safety in the US when using it:
Long-term exposure may cause damage to the nervous system of the extremities
(the hands, arms, legs and feet). Dangerous for the environment.
Target Organs: Central nervous system, respiratory system, eyes, skin, peripheral nervous system, testes.
 
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Just to be clear, the supplier that allowed its workers to use n-hexane was not Foxconn, it was Wintek. When the poisonings came to light, Apple terminated Wintek as a supplier due to the health and safety violations.
 

Northwestern

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[citation][nom]icepick314[/nom]good luck convincing Americans from NOT buying iPhone...or Xbox 360...or PS3...or other electronics Foxconn makes for rest of the world...[/citation]
This. The uneducated American public won't give a care about mistreated workers. Just as long as they get their precious iCrap.
 
All though Foxconn gets all the media coverage all the same conditions apply to all the other companies in this industry that produce in that part of the world. It is a cultural thing not a one company specific situation!
 

matt_b

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[citation][nom]__-_-_-__[/nom]what other company sells iphones? because what are we talking about here is about apple products. no n-hexane poisoning occurred in other factories.[/citation]
You need to look at how large Foxconn is, this company is an electronics titan. They make so much more that the iPhone and more so than you apparently know. The reason for the hexane poisoning has been spelled out, it was not Apple that decided to go the route of profits over safety on this issue - they actually worked to fix it. Apple is merely being used as the example here for contracting a company tied to unethical treatment of people. Why Apple? Convenient timing with the stock market, spotlight coverage, and lots of cash on hand = the perfect scapegoat. Apple/iPhone may be what we're talking about in this article, but corruption lies within way more places than placing all of this burden on the piddly little iPhone. Focus should be placed on the country first, Foxconn, then Apple if anyone is that upset over it. As strange as it may sound, these Foxconn workers do get paid more than most other Chinese employees of similar roles. Perhaps this shows the correct path has broken ground?
 

tmshdw

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[citation][nom]jaber2[/nom]I said this before, if we don't stop buying Apple they would not change vendors.[/citation]

Thats nice and thanks for letting us know. Keep letting us know all the things you have said.

Or perhaps come to the epifany that the company that employs the worker and the goverment have the first lines of responsibility. Its up to the Chinese gov to enforce environment safety rules for workers. Its up to foxxcon to implement and be liable.
 

tmshdw

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Folks, the problem here is simple:

THE CHINESE GOV AND CULTURE HAS LITTLE REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE.

The have virtually no env laws and no enforcement and are full of corruption. Third worild in mentality with the rich gluttons having all the money. Kudos to Apple to start taking a stand. So where are all the other USA companies that manufacture in China? Where are all the Andriod manufacturors?
 

bfstev

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This is really a workers rights issue in china/thailand. Apple doesnt really have a say in their internal pollitics and really has no way to even enforce anything they told foxconn to do. Foxconn could simply ignore them and continue on as ussual with no repercusions. Apple isnt gonna go to anyone else simply because they would have to pay significantly more per unit and the second they left, foxconn would most likely keep making the iphone and sell it in china without apple's consent effectively destroying that market for apple. However issues such as these and QA are starting to turn more US corporations to looking locally for munufacturing partners. People just seem to hold apple more responsible due to their 30% profit on everything it sells. The obscene markup should equal more quality and, in some people's minds, improved working conditions at the factories but so far just seems to further increase apple's bank numbers.
 

bfstev

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Foxconn may have more leverage in this situation than apple. If apple pushes too hard then foxconn can drop them infavor of selling knockoffs in the chineese market themselves for a higher profit margin as IP rights dont have much for teeth in the asian market. While china has shown a track record of helping apple in this regard recently, if it came down to a foxconn vs apple, they would undoubtably choose foxconn. Those exectutives live like ghadafi over there.

Tying Apple to Foxconn's overseas manufacturing may have been the one huge screw up that Job's made with the iphone.
 

lordstormdragon

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Let's be frank - Apple deserves all this negative publicity. They've dumbed down the entire human race with their products, snobby attitudes, and catering to the lowest common denominator of consumer. Of course Apple should be faulted. They chose outright to hire a company with poor ethics, then charged a massive price premium for the products made in this fashion.

What you're paying for when you buy Apple products: slavery. You're supporting slavery. Both on the Chinese end and the African end, where much of the resources are mined under even worse conditions than the Chinese factories we see in the news.

But there's nothing wrong with slavery, right? It's 1855, not 2012, people.
 

robochump

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Apparently its up to Apple to solve all of the worker rights issues in China...lol. So why arent these workers QQ'ing to other companies that use Foxconn? Where is Chinese Gov't in all of this? Notice how these workers are not targeting Asia based companies and focused on US. No wonder Asian tech companies can hang in there since they protect their own.

Apple haters rejoice....lol
 

lordstormdragon

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The point is that Apple (and yes, many other companies) outright support and condone this behavior by choosing to use them as their manufacturer, instead of building and creating their own facilities. The bottom line? Profit.

Capitalism at its finest. Apple isn't the only one, they just have the most self-righteous and "holier-than-thou" attitudes, and thus they're the most hypocritical one.
 
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