Apple Releases iPod Sweatshop Report

In response to allegation of iPod Cities — massive Chinese sweatshops of hundreds of thousands of employees, toiling away in squalor — Apple put together an independent audit team to take a look at conditions and see if it was as bad as everyone feared.

It wasn’t. In fact, by squalorous Chinese sweatshop standards, iPod City sounds like a decent place to work. Apple’s report, posted on their company web site, reads remarkably like a company that is being open and forthcoming. While the report is quick to point out things Apple is doing wrong, or complaints the employees made, but overall, it seems as if initial reports were wildly blown out of proportion: for example, although the cities can accommodate up to 200,000 workers, in practice only a tenth of that space was being used. Employees main gripe seems to be they can’t work more overtime.

Of course, it’s still China we’re talking about, so the standards don’t exactly inspire coveting. But iPod cities seems humane and largely considerate. Good on Apple for getting to the bottom of this and sharing the results so publicly.

Report on iPod Manufacturing [Apple]
Previously: iPod Sweatshops on Consumerist

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  1. Magicube says:

    Aw, how cute. Apple did its own audit. From their report, they “dispatched an audit team comprised of members from our human resources, legal and operations groups.”
    And then did they use a third party to verify their results? Um…
    “To ensure the accuracy of the investigation, the team cross-referenced multiple sources of information from employees, management and personnel records.”
    They kept themselves honest be being completely insular in their approach? Huh?
    At the end they say they are working with third parties going forward and joining with other manufacturers in a set of standards, so let’s look forward to patting Apple on the back only after someone other than Apple verifies this stuff.

  2. denki says:

    I’ve been fucking telling everyone this. Sweatshops suck, but the thing is is that if you live in China, it’s the lesser of two evils (work or death). And then, that Apple is doing it to a lesser degree of “human rights” violations than that of other corporations. People in the states and “civilized” parts of the world get all high and mighty when it come to sweatshops or things like incredibly low pay in 3rd world countries but they totally fail to understand that those people are living in 3rd world countries. It’s not their fault and many of them don’t want to live there, but we don’t live in a word of unicorns shitting rainbows and sunshine vomit. The money they do get for their work in sweatshops, while not being up to par with other work, is the only thing they can make because it’s the only thing availible to them at the current state of affairs. It may be shit pay from our point of view, but it’s fucking food money to them.

    And no, I don’t condone sweatshops, but I’d prefer them existing and not having countires filled with a few million more dead bodies from starvation and lack of housing.

  3. Oh give me a fucking break. This is the classic industry/sweatshop apologist line: sweatshops are bad, but it’s better than no job. It’s a total red herring and a cheap shot (or an idoitic one that has no clue about the real argument – i like to give people the benefit of the doubt).

    No one involved in the issue says that people in China (or other sweatshop plagued countries) shouldn’t have jobs. And no one is saying they need to be paid American wages with American standards of occupational safety. All anyone wants is a fair wage for that country in conditions that don’t get them killed or mangled. And it’s particularly important that pressure for this come internationally and be put on the Western countries precisely because, in the countries where the sweatshops operate, you are dealing with governments who benefit mightily from the sweatshop racket. There is no democratic government and there are brutal consequences for any kind of labor organizing.

    It’s so gross to see folks who benefit from democratic freedoms and centuries of labor movements sit back and say people in the third world are walking around singing “Bah-da-bah-bah-bah i’m loving it. (give me more work!)”

  4. furtivefelon says:

    You know what, of course people would be happier if everyone can live at the standard of first world nations. The truth is, china has about 1.3 billion people (which is about 1300 million people, about 4 times larger than US population). They are not exactly rich either (though third largest economy, but 4 times larger population anyone?)

    If you want better condition, be prepared to fork over up to 3-4 times the cost by voting with your wallet, condition will improve if you choose to pay for “fairly” produced goods, that is, if you really have the money to blow.

    Just for the record, i am chinese and have lived in china for the formative years (first 12 years), and the poorer segments of chinese population are just grateful that they even have a job to keep, 3 bucks a day get you alot further in China than in US (i found that a 2 bedroom apartment costs about 50 US dollar for rent per month, and a typical apartment costs around 20 US dollar per month to rent).

    So spent more money if you are mad, if you don’t want to, don’t go around and protesting.