Apple announced that it asked the Fair Labor Association to conduct “special voluntary audits” of several of its assembly supplier’s facilities. The Fair Labor Association will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all levels of employment, as well as interviewing thousands of workers about the factories living and working conditions.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, stated that “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 asses the performance of our largest suppliers.” Furthermore, he stated that their largest suppliers have pledged full cooperation with the FLA.
This request for an investigation comes at the heels of reports of unsafe and brutal working conditions at Foxconn, one of Apple’s largest suppliers. There have been a number of suicides, and there were 15 deaths from an explosion at some of Foxconn’s plants in China. The New York Times also published a story about the hours and working conditions based on worker’s reports, though these were disputed by Foxconn.
There have been petitions garnering many signatures from SumOfUs.org and Change.org regarding protecting the workers in these Chinese factories. Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, the Executive Director of SumOfUs.org stated “the pressure is working-more than a quarter million people have joined our call [the combined effort of SumOfUs.org and Change.org] for an ethical iPhone 5 and Apple has clearly heard us.”
Apple was the first technological company to join the FLA. They are one of the most technologically innovative companies in the world and now they need to show that they can be the most humane.