Activist group SumOfUs is preemptively contesting the validity of an audit by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), saying Apple’s hiring of the organization is simply a public relations front.
Expect the audit, which will be released this week, to be critical of the factories, but as far as making impactful changes, SumOfUs said it’s doubtful Apple will follow through.
“A critical report from the FLA will not, in and of itself, constitute proof that a new day is dawning in Apple’s supply chain,” SumOfUs said in a memo to journalists. “It will only be proof that the FLA and Apple are smart enough to understand that no one, at this point, is going to be fooled by a whitewash.”
The organization said Apple’s promises to make changes to its factories and working conditions are simply a ploy to bolster the company’s image in the eyes of the public. The memo SumOfUs sent compares two statements Apple made about its commitment to change factory conditions. The first statement was made in 2006 and the second just earlier this year. Both address the company’s commitment to fight back against employees working more than 60 hours per week and tout the fact it hired an external company to screen factories for workplace violations.
Neither Apple or the Fair Labor Association has responded to our request for comment, and we’ll update this story if they do.
The FLA was already criticized for issuing a glowing review of Apple factories after spending just one day with plant managers. Apple voluntarily hired the FLA to conducted audits of its factories after widespread reports of unfair and dangerous labor conditions. In an audit earlier this year — one that Apple had expedited due to mounting criticism — the FLA said the company’s factories were not as bad as surrounding garment factories. CNN reported that Apple doesn’t state how much money its paid the FLA to audit its factories, but is likely its biggest client.
SumOfUs said Apple could view reports by SACOM, China Labor Watch and SOMO, or journalists to see that Apple’s factories were in violation of workers’ rights, rather than hire the FLA. There have been many credible journalists’ accounts from Apple’s factories in China, with the exception of performer Mike Daisy whose popular storytelling of life for workers at Foxconn was partially fabricated. Other legitimate reports show that Foxconn employees are overworked and underpaid.
When the audit is complete, expect it to be posted on the FLA’s website.
What do you think is Apple’s motivation in hiring the FLA? Tell us in the comments.
Via Mashable: http://www.mashable.com