Former executives accuse Apple of ignoring supplier labor abuses

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    Former executives accuse Apple of ignoring supplier labor abuses

    A new report quotes former Apple executives as saying that the company has known about some "labor abuses" in supplier factories for years without requiring that they be addressed.



    The New York Times published on Wednesday a follow-up report to the profile on Apple's overseas manufacturing operations that appeared last week. The publication examined the "human costs" that go into the iPad and other such devices, drawing upon interviews with several dozen "current or former employees and contractors, including a half-dozen current or former executives with firsthand knowledge of Apple’s supplier responsibility group."

    "We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on,” said a former Apple executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”

    Earlier this month, Apple released its annual supplier responsibility report, claiming that its zero-tolerance policy for underage labor is "the toughest in the electronics industry." The iPhone maker conducted 229 audits last year, an 80 percent increase from 2010, and discovered six active and 13 historical cases of underage labor at five facilities. CEO Tim Cook said in an email to employees that the supplier responsibility program has brought about "dramatic improvements in hiring practices" by Apple's suppliers.

    The company announced this month that it was the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association and had agreed to submit to independent checks by the association of supply chain facilities. Also of note, Apple for the first time released a list of its suppliers as part of its annual report.

    "We continue to expand our program to reach deeper into our supply base, and this year we added more detailed and specialized audits that focus on safety and the environment," Apple's report read.

    Apple claims to require suppliers to fix problems within 90 days of an audit and institute changes to prevent them from happening again. The company also says it will terminate its relationship with repeat offenders. But, multiple former executives disagreed with the company's assertions that it holds rigid standards for its partners, according to Wednesday's report.





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