Apple’s Labor Report Card, Not Yet Released, Already Doomed to Fail

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[Commentary] Apple’s latest round of inspections at Foxconn and its other partners are not going to make anyone happy. Not Apple, not the suppliers, and most certainly not labor campaigners.

Audits by Apple of its supply chain have been going on since at least 2007. Annual reports have outlined excessive overtime, underage labor and safety violations, confirming what labor groups already knew. They’ve also shown that Apple’s made continued efforts to address and prevent infractions, which labor groups say are insufficient. Now the Fair Labor Association is entering the fray by auditing Apple’s suppliers, starting with Foxconn, raising hopes of that their impending report will clarify and settle the issues. It won’t, because this audit is not likely to reveal anything really new. We can already predict what the report is going to say: that things are better than people claim, yet more needs to be done. It’s the kind of report card that’s going to leave everyone with just enough ammunition to keep their rhetorical guns blazing, not bring about a ceasefire.

For all the good work the labor groups have done in highlighting the problems, the only thing that’s going to make everyone happy is a mutually agreed upon set of standards, independent checks to show that they are fully met, and each side conceding that the other is not 100 percent wrong. We already know the latest inspections are not going to provide any of this.


Apple’s Labor Report Card, Not Yet Released, Already Doomed to Fail