I think that most can agree they were angry after finding out Mike Daisey’s story was made for the “theater”. I felt tricked and lied to. But after thinking about Daisey and watching the “un/real and un/true: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” take on Mike Daisey I began to ask myself some questions.
Are these conditions real or not? Does Apple know about them? And if they do exist, how do we fix them? After watching an D8 interview with Steve Jobs in 2010 about FoxConn I was able to gage Apple’s stance towards FoxConn. Steve Jobs believes that “Apple does one of the best jobs of any companies in their industry of understanding the working conditions in our supply chain.” He admits there are suicides and terrible things happen, but “FoxConn is not a sweatshop”. Jobs feels that Apple does a good job in auditing their suppliers and making sure there are safe working conditions. So, if Apple doesn’t feel they are responsible for the poor working conditions how will they be fixed? Or do these conditions actually not exist?
Daisey was not the first to accuse Apple of having poor working conditions and he was definitely not the last. Just recently on September 4th, 2014, Shara Tibken chastised Apple for having “serious health and safety, environmental, and human rights violations.” With the current excitement over the iPhone 6, this is quite shocking. The violations were found in a factory in Suqian, China and its sister location in Taizhou, is currently producing the iPhone 6. Apple plans to investigate these concerns, but Apple still stands by Jobs’ statement made in 2010. Apple issues a Supplier Responsibility Progress Report every year and are proud of their suppliers. Their report in February 2014 discussed training their workers overseas, supporting a 60-hour work week, actively auditing there suppliers, and their recent launch of the Apple Supplier Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Academy. I do believe that Apple is making huge efforts to fix these unsafe working conditions, and yet factories in Suqian still have violations. This makes me think that it is time for the Chinese government to step in.
There is only so much Apple can do. These factories are overseas so there are certain violations that are bound to slip through the cracks. Apple makes an effort to audit their suppliers, but there is a chance that the factories could be responsible for their violations and not just Apple. I truly don’t know if this is the case, but since it is possible the Chinese government should increase efforts to stop these health and labor violations from occurring as well. The Chinese government has a responsibility to protect their citizens and investigate their factories. If the Chinese government makes more of an effort to support safe working conditions in their factories this may help the issue. The Bucknell Forum brought up the fact that Chinese citizens, want and choose to work at FoxConn. People want factory jobs, so if people choose to deal with the poor working conditions it is because this is their best option. The other jobs available must be worse than FoxConn or their must not be any other jobs available. The Chinese government can help fix these two issues. China must make efforts to either create more job opportunities, or increase the factory regulations throughout China. None of these tasks are easy, but I do feel that Apple is not the only one who is responsible for fixing the issue of unsafe working conditions in their factories.