Apple today issued its Preliminary Proxy Statement via its Investor Relations website. As a publicly traded company, Apple issues this document annually, and it discusses pay packages for both executive team members and board members, company practices, and topics which shareholders will vote on at the upcoming shareholder meeting. Apple says that the next shareholder meeting will take place on February 28, 2014. Some interesting tidbits include that Apple’s board met seven times in 2013 with 75%+ attendance during each meeting. Additionally (to be voted on), a shareholder wants Apple to create a board committee related to human rights. Apple says that it is against this additional committee:
Fair Labor Association Stories December 27, 2013
Fair Labor Association Stories November 7, 2013
Bloomberg has a lengthy piece illustrating just how great a challenge it is for Apple and other multinational companies to ensure the fair treatment of workers in complex supply chains.
When one of Apple’s suppliers like Flextronics wins a new contract, it needs to take on additional workers – lots of them, and fast. Those workers are recruited through employment brokers, which are required to adhere to Apple’s rules. But many of them are brought in from other countries, like Malaysia and Nepal.
Alok Taparia, the managing director of Transworld Manpower, another of the four Nepalese brokers retained for that drive, says he was given clear instructions: Workers shouldn’t be charged; Flextronics would pay the brokers. But Taparia and the other Nepalese brokers say Flextronics demanded so many men so quickly that there was no way to do it without tapping the country’s network of subagents, stretching into Himalayan villages reachable only by foot. As Apple itself has described in reports on its supply chain, the subagents always charge…
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
Fair Labor Association Stories September 5, 2013
Alleged Apple Supplier Jabil Circuit accused of numerous labor law violations [update: Apple responds]
China Labor Watch, the organization behind the report accusing Apple supplier Pegatron of poor treatment of workers (that, in passing, seemingly confirmed that the iPhone 5C was plastic-bodied), has now made fresh allegations against Jabil Circuit, a company it says is also involved in production of the 5C.
Among the infringements uncovered by CLW include millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages; over 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, three times in excess of legal limits; more than 11 hours of standing work every day with no rest outside of 30-minute meal breaks; illegally inadequate pre-work training; hiring discrimination; and more.
Apple previously responded to the Pegatron report with a lengthy statement on the steps already taken and the further steps it planned to take. Apple publishes an annual Supplier Responsibility Report and conducts frequent audits of its suppliers, along with commissioning the independent non-profit Fair Labor Association to conduct independent audits.
Jabil Circuit has not yet been confirmed as an Apple supplier. The iPhone 5C is expected to be unveiled on 10th September.
Fair Labor Association Stories May 31, 2012
Foxconn workers, activists claim no change at Apple plants following FLA audits
We reported earlier this month that Foxconn announced it would share the initial costs of improving iPhone and iPad assembly plants with Apple following an agreement to improve working conditions based on recommendations from the Fair Labor Association. Today, according to a report from Reuters, labor watchdog Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour released a report claiming Foxconn factories have not changed much since the FLA’s audits:
A fresh report released on Thursday by labor watchdog Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), based on visits to several Foxconn factories and 170 worker interviews, found rights violations “remain the norm” including high production targets, inhumane treatment and signs of overall salary cuts.
“The frontline management continue to impose humiliating disciplinary measures on workers,” it said.
“The above findings demonstrate that Apple and Foxconn have not turned over a new leaf,” the report added.
Even after recently raising wages of some workers by 16 to 25 percent, Reuters’ report claimed average overall salaries decreased and some “had to work unpaid overtime after pay hikes.” A Foxconn worker in Guanlan told Reuters: “The work pressure is still great… There hasn’t been much change. We are still being pushed very hard.”
Foxconn responded to the SACOM report in a statement to Reuters:
“The welfare of our employees is without a doubt our top priority and we are working hard to give our more than one million employees in China a safe and positive working environment,”
Fair Labor Association Stories April 26, 2012
Following audits and a major overhaul of workers’ rights at Foxconn factories in China, a report from newspaper Jornal de Jundiai (via Evertiq) claimed 2,500 workers at a Foxconn plant in Jundiai, Brazil are threatening to strike if the company does not meet their demands by May 3. The plant in Jundiai is currently responsible for the assembly of some of Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2 units:
Newspaper Jornal de Jundiai reports that workers at the plant will strike if issues surrounding severe water shortages, food, and transportation of employees are not resolved… In a statement the United Steelworkers of Jundiaí and Region said workers decided to give 10 days (from the Monday) for the company to resolve the issues raised in a meeting on Monday… According to the report by Jornal de Jundiai, a spokesman from the union said that lack of water as well as poor quality food was an issue for workers. As the number of employees at the plant grows, workers also complain that the infrastructure for transport has remained the same size, causing overcrowding in buses. expand full story
Fair Labor Association Stories March 30, 2012
The results of the Fair Labor Association’s investigation into Apple’s suppliers beginning with three Foxconn facilities officially published yesterday. While finding excessive working hours and many violations of Chinese labor law, Foxconn and Apple agreed to reduce workweek and overtime hours within Chinese law to 49 hours per week and 36 overtime hours per month based on the FLA’s recommendations. Foxconn will also hire tens of thousands of new employees and implement a compensation package to make sure workers’ salaries remain the same amid reduced working hours.
In the interview above with Reuters, head of the FLA Auret van Heerden talked about the investigation and noted the agreement could set a new standard for working conditions throughout China. One unanswered question is whether the agreement will lead to higher prices for consumers (which is not necessarily a bad thing)…