Foxconn, Apple, and the Fair Labor Association Respond to ABC News’ Exclusive Report

Feb 22, 2012 2:51pm
abc apple factory china tk 120221 wblog  Foxconn, Apple, and the Fair Labor Association Respond to ABC News Exclusive Report

Karson Yiu/ABC News

On Monday, ABC News’ Bill Weir exclusively reported on the conditions inside Apple’s main Chinese manufacturer — Foxconn. For the first time ever, Apple allowed a journalist onto its production line and to witness the labor conditions inside Foxconn, which have sometimes been reported to be unfair and unsafe.

Last night’s special edition of Nightline expanded upon that original report, and included footage from inside the factory, interviews with the workers, and even a visit to a local village.

Since ABC News’ original report, Apple, Foxconn, and the Fair Labor Association have sent statements explaining a few sentences in the original report. We have posted the text of those statements below.

For the record, Apple and the Disney Corporation, ABC’s parent company, have strong ties. Disney CEO Bob Iger serves on the Apple Board of Directors and the Steve Jobs Trust is Disney’s largest shareholder. ABC agreed to report exactly what it saw at Foxconn.

From Apple, regarding Zhou Xiao Ying’s claim that she carves the aluminum shavings from 6000 iPad logos per day: 

“In manufacturing parlance this is called deburring. Her line processes 3,000 units per shift, with two shifts per day for a total of 6,000. A single operator at Ms. Zhou’s station would deburr 3,000 iPads in a shift.”

Apple clarified that Zhou Xiao Ying couldn’t have been working a second shift since it would be impossible if she worked 8AM to 8PM, then worked 8PM to 8AM, and then worked her next day’s shift. Ying likely misunderstood Weir’s question about “how many Apples do you carve each day?”

From Foxconn, regarding starting pay being too low for a Chinese payroll tax withdrawal:

“We have over 75 percent of the employees in the category of earning at least 2,200 RMB ($349/month) basic compensation standard. That means they are earning 13.75 RMB ($2.18) per hour. If they work overtime on the weekend, they will earn 27 RMB ($4.28) per hour. In order to reach 3500 to be taxable, they will have to work 47 OT hours to reach 3,500.”

“If the overtime hours are in weekdays, they have to work around 63 hours per month to reach that level of salary to be taxable.”

“Your statement is only true when applying to the entry-level workers while over 75 percent are already over the probation and earning more than 2,200 RMB basic salary.”

From the Auret van Heerden, President and CEO of the Fair Labor Association, regarding the “five year conversation” with Apple

“The discussions began in April 2007 but stalled in March 2008. We then resumed them in April 2009 and decided to do a small pilot survey so that Apple could get an idea of how our tools might add value to their program. That pilot led to a second activity that I believe contributed to the decision to join the FLA at the end of 2011. I, of course, cannot speak for Apple but I do believe that the decision to join was probably taken some months before (and therefore well before) the New York Times articles.”

Bill Weir contributed to this report. 

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