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In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

Author: Charles Duhigg & David Barboza, New York Times, Published on: 25 January 2012

...[in an] explosion...last May...[in] the area [of a factory] where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day...[2] people were killed immediately...Employees [assembling Apple products] work excessive overtime...Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups...More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health...“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health...“But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”...Current and former Apple executives, moreover, say the company has made significant strides in improving factories in recent years...And Apple’s annual supplier responsibility reports, in many cases, are the first to report abuses...But significant problems remain...“Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost,” said Li Mingqi, who until April worked in management at [major Apple supplier] Foxconn Technology [part of Hon Hai]...“Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” he said...Apple was provided with extensive summaries of this article, but the company declined to comment...Foxconn, in a statement, disputed workers’ accounts of continuous shifts, extended overtime, crowded living accommodations and the causes of [a] riot...“Conditions at Foxconn are anything but harsh,” the company wrote. [also refers to Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba, Amazon, Nintendo, Samsung, Wintek, Intel, Nike, Gap]

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Related companies: Apple Dell Foxconn (part of Hon Hai) Gap Hon Hai HP (Hewlett-Packard) IBM Intel Lenovo Motorola Mobility (part of Lenovo) Nike Nintendo Nokia Samsung Sony Toshiba Wintek