A new report published today by non-profit organization Green America and industry watchdog China Labor Watch accuses Apple of various violations of Chinese labor laws at one of its suppliers in the country (via NYTimes). The investigation focused on Apple supplier Catcher Technology in Suqian, China and claims to have found violations similar to those found during an audit of the same supplier last year:

The plant manufactures metal casings for a number of consumer electronics companies including Apple, Inc. While at the factory, the investigator worked on parts for the latest iPad. This factory also continues to produce parts for a 5th generation iPhone, and its sister factory, Catcher Technology in Taizhou, is producing parts for the iPhone 6. The investigator discovered extensive violations of Chinese labor laws, as well as violations of Catcher’s policies and Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which details standards for worker rights and environmental sustainability for any company supplying to Apple. Many of the violations were similar to those found in a 2013 investigation of the same plant, the results of which were shared with Apple by China Labor Watch.

The extensive 26 page report details 22 violations discovered by a private investigator at the supplier’s facilities including infractions related to hiring, working hours, wages and benefits, management, student labor, worker representations and grievances, living conditions, and  environment, health and occupational safety concerns.


Apple responded to the allegations in a brief comment provided to The New York Times saying it has worked with the supplier to correct violations following a previous audit in May: Apple said its most recent annual audit of the Suqian plant, in May, had “found some concrete areas for improvement in Catcher’s operations, and we worked with Catcher to develop a corrective action plan.”

Today’s report, however, also addresses Apple’s comment by highlighting problems with the corrective measures Apple takes following the discovery of violations: after the inspections are complete and the corrective action plans are handed down to factories from Apple, there are often no fundamental improvements in labor conditions and treatment of workers making Apple products.

The full report is available here.

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16 Responses to “Report details labor violations left unresolved at Apple supplier in China”

  1. oreomuncher says:

    I seriously don’t know why apple doesn’t just buy factories, either in the west or keep them in asia. Atleast then they’d be able to control leaks (Not good for us), control their workers, and avoid a possible boycott.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Apple (and many other American companies) will move their manufacturing back to US. As Apple started doing recently.

    Because the China issue is not resolvable. Chinese government doesn’t care. They should make a change, not Apple, not any other company. China’s only advantage is that there’s many of Chinese people, nothing else. Anyone can do anything there. Do you want to take a car and create a copy of that and then sell it? No problem in China.


    • frankman91 says:

      I work as an product engineer for a fairly large company. Around 15 years ago we moved all our manufacturing to Singapore to lower manufacturing costs. The quality control was so bad and the reliability of product dropped so low we actually closed the Singapore plant last year and brought it all back to the US. There is a cost savings going over seas but it comes at a cost.


  3. Can you imagine what the Unions would be doing to Apple right about now? Just look at what they want to enforce upon McDonalds – $15.00/hr and unionize… for a hamburger flipper. What are they doing today? Holding civil disobedience protests in 150 cities across the USA in hopes of getting their way!


  4. PMZanetti says:

    News flash: China still treats citizens like shit the moment the U.S.’s back is turned.


  5. xprmntr says:

    Apples on a roll


  6. 4 reasons why this year will be Apples year
    View profile at Medium.com
    Spoiler: One of them might be the iWatch


  7. howardbrittain says:

    When will people wake up to the fact that these organisations Green America and industry watchdog China Labour Watch have their own political agenda and are in no way unbiased in all of this.
    The naivete that people have is stunning. Imagine replying on a report by the Insurance industry … or the banking industry.


    • Yeah, I was questioning some of the violations like social insurance. Is social insurance something like medical insurance in America. Hell, companies in America don’t want to pay for their employees health insurance.

      ** Forced overtime – Happens all the time America when a company has to meet a deadline.

      ** Charging for water. This might explain it: http://goo.gl/X95DW4

      ** No functioning union – There is only a small percentage of unionize companies in America

      ** Discriminatory hiring practices – If you are to criticize China, you can have a field day in America

      ** Environmental pollution – where have I heard that before

      ** Fire drills – Please!

      ** Special protection for underage workers – More information is needed. Societal norms play a big part

      Most of these violations if they occurred in America might be considered significant. But, China and other countries societal norms are different. One cannot impose our (American) standards on other societies.


  8. Kinda makes me feel bad for owning these things…


  9. Why all the focus on Apple…there are hundreds of companies doing business in China. Apple can’t be the only one experiencing these problems. Furthermore, if things are so bad there why isn’t the Chinese government doing something about it. That said, I suppose Apple should consider increasing the profit margins with those companies they do business with instead of putting those companies in the position where they find it necessary to cut corners in order to make a worthwhile profit.


    • frankman91 says:

      People focus on Apple because they are big, and are right in doing so.

      Walmart treats their employees no worse than many retailers, but people care because Walmart is a huge company.

      It is hard to have sympathy for a company like Apple who sell everything at a top dollar premium and pay their workers (and subcontractors) so little and hoard profits.

      I am not siding with everyone, Apple has a responsibility to their workers to make sure they are well taken care of as much as they have responsibility to their stock holders to be profitable. But you can’t be the guy on the top of the hill and expect to not get seen more then the guys half way up.


  10. Sleeping on a bench on on the floor is not bad conditions. when they have breaks they take naps. I live in china and have seen people sleep on a chain in public, and on the ground during their lunch break. and there are bad conditions in pretty much every factory and they only focus on apple because they are huge