Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why I think Apple needs to fix Foxconn Operations

I know it’s no surprise to anyone that I’d want to write an article blaming Apple for not doing enough to help the people at Foxconn, but you have to remember, there are many reasons why I dislike Apple, these factories are just one of them.  Today I wanted to share two of the reasons why I feel Apple needs to fix things at Foxconn.  But first for those of you who have no idea what Foxconn is, it is the place or places where Apple makes most of it’s products.  Foxconn is basically Apple’s Subcontractor.    There are a few different locations and the one in Shenzhen alone has over 400,000 workers.  Now, think about Milwaukee, the city has 600,000 people, so, yea, it’s a big place.  In the last few years there have been many reported deaths because of accidents and suicides.  The company actually put up nets around the buildings to catch jumpers.  I can’t even imagine how bad things have to be where Killing yourself is the better option.  I mean, whatever happened to just quitting?

There are plenty of reports out there with information about Foxconn, so feel free to Google it for more info.

Now, I do need to let you know that Apple is NOT their only customer.  Nintendo and Microsoft and plenty of other electronic companies use Foxconn.  So why am I and so many others in the media focusing on Apple?  I and so many others single out Apple because Apple is 60% of Foxconn’s business.  If Sony or Nintendo or Microsoft or any of the other companies that do business with them was to leave, it wouldn’t really hurt them very much.  But if Apple was to leave, well, that’d be different.  When you are the biggest customer it’s amazing how much you can influence what your sub contractors do.  Apple has always been really good at doing their inspections and publishing them, but usually these are done once a year and they don’t seem to change from year to year because nothing is really done about them.  People complain for a bit and then we forget about it till the next year.  I do have to say that since things are getting so heated now, Apple did allow the Fair Labor Association to go in and inspect everything, but again, these are just inspections, I would really like to see change.  It is also a scheduled inspection and there have already been reports about how Foxconn hid their underage employee’s before the inspection. They also allowed ABC news to go in and record, but ABC news is owned by Disney which has a strong Apple presence in it’s board of directors. 

So that’s my first point here, Apple, when you are the biggest you are also the example.  

My second point is Money.  Last Tuesday February 14th Tim Cook the new CEO of Apple was talking about how much Money Apple has. 

"We have more cash than we need to run the business on a daily basis," he said. 
"We spend our money like it's our last penny - I think that shareholders want that," he also added

Well maybe they need to stop being so greedy with their money and start paying those people more and let them work less.  Maybe they could charge us less also.  Or even better, charge us the same and bring some of those works right here to the U.S.A.?  Seriously, people are dying making your stuff and you are sitting there talking about how you have more money than you need to run the business???

I really do hope that this FLA inspection turns into some real change.  That way I wont feel so bad about being a Techie.  In the meantime, I’m not going to say to not buy Apple products because that would be hypocritical, like I said, just about every electronics company out there deals the same way.  But do be smart about what you buy and when you use it remember the hard work that so many people put into it.  When you think about getting your kid an iPad so they can play, remember the kid that helped make it.  So at the very least lets be appreciative of what we have and take good care of it so we honor those who worked on it. 

Javier Torres

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