Apple CEO Calls NYT Report on Worker Conditions "Patently False and Offensive"

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News Posted: Fri, Jan 27 2012 3:14 PM
A couple of recent articles in The New York Times painted a less than rosy picture of Apple and its role in allegedly urging its suppliers in China to take shortcuts despite concerns to worker safety. It's a hot topic considering the multiple reports of poor working conditions at Foxconn, a top supplier of Apple's iDevices along with many other high profile clients, where suicide attempts appear to happen all too frequently. One of the reports is titled "In China, Human Costs are Built Into an iPad," a lengthy piece that goes into considerable detail about all aspects of the manufacturing process and includes some unflattering quotes about Apple.

"Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost," a former manager at Foxconn, told NYT. "Workers' welfare has nothing to do with their interests."

As you can imagine, the scathing report didn't sit well with Tim Cook, the new man in charge who took over as Apple's CEO when Steve Jobs was no longer able to due to his failing health. Cook sent out a letter to all his employees refuting the report and calling it and any others like it "patently false and offensive." He says Apple has never turned a blind eye to problems in its supply nor will it ever.

You can read the entire email below:

As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.

 For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.

Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.

At the same time, no one has been more up front about the challenges we face. We are attacking problems aggressively with the help of the world’s foremost authorities on safety, the environment, and fair labor. It would be easy to look for problems in fewer places and report prettier results, but those would not be the actions of a leader.

 Earlier this month we opened our supply chain for independent evaluations by the Fair Labor Association. Apple was in a unique position to lead the industry by taking this step, and we did it without hesitation. This will lead to more frequent and more transparent reporting on our supply chain, which we welcome. These are the kinds of actions our customers expect from Apple, and we will take more of them in the future.

 We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.

We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at

To those within Apple who are tackling these issues every day, you have our thanks and admiration. Your work is significant and it is changing people’s lives. We are all proud to work alongside you.

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LLeCompte replied on Fri, Jan 27 2012 3:42 PM

Well timmy, it seems all that bad press from foxxcon is catching up to you. You better get a handle on it before apple gets painted in the wrong light.

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CDeeter replied on Fri, Jan 27 2012 5:30 PM

Ah it seems the shining walls of Olympus have lost some of their sheen.

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Both sides have valid points, and I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle. I truly feel bad for the people having to work like that day after day though.

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Well, I'm a employee in angelica textiles services.We work from 3:00 pm to 11:30 pm the problem is that the bus pass around 12:00 pm the last one.So the manager told all the employee to stay until 1:00 am to finish the job (it was an emergency and in the contract with the UNION It says said that "in case of emergency overtime is mandatory or you will get a warning", you get 3 and you are out.) so a woman told him that " if i stay i will lose the bus and then I would have to pay a taxi to get me home" he answered was "I don't care how you are going to get home, riding a bike, walking, or ridding a donkey but you have to finish tonight. It is your job and you have to be responsible for it." the ones who stayed were illegal immigrants and the ones who left were resident or had work's permit which next day received a warning for leaving.

How is the work Conditions? you answer it from what you have read

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AKwyn replied on Sat, Jan 28 2012 4:50 AM

Both sides of the story are reasonable but I think Apple should do everything in their power to convince customers that they're doing all that they can to help; I mean it's not Apple's fault that they're getting bad press, it's Foxconn's and they've been getting consistently bad press for their working conditions for years now with barely any attempts to improve it from what I've read. I get it, everybody wants their iPods and iPhones but they could do alot better in making sure the conditions they're working in are up to standards and not like Guantanamo Bay.


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karanm replied on Sat, Jan 28 2012 9:24 AM

@TaylorKarras harsh on the comparison to gitmo but I totally agree with what you said, it just looks like Foxconn is trying to lay off some of the blame.

@cowboyspace your story makes me sick, to think that kind of crap happens in the US. One of my friends worked for Price Water House Coopers in downton Toronto but lives in the suburbs about 20 mins away. Its company policy for employees to take a cab back home if they work after 9pm or maybe 10pm. They just submit a bill the next day and the company compensates them, thats how it should be if you are going to make overtime mandatory. I think your biggest problem though is that you are Unionized.

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I don't think that's the problem " I think your biggest problem though is that you are Unionized." Union is the reason we still working there.The problem was that the union in the contract with the company didn't specify how many hours should we work in case of emergency"in case of emergency, overtime is mandatory" so the company have the right under contract to do so.They have a lot of cases in the court right now against Angelica. for unsafe conditions, suspensions for not giving the production stated,when they don't pay for production, they pay for hour.

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I am very skeptical of what Apple is doing to try and improve working conditions in their suppliers. They are a business and don't really care about the working conditions and have no ability to change the working conditions at their suppliers. I believe they are just trying to save face by stating that they are auditing these places. Foxconn probably does not really care either because for each person that gets hurt, quits, or dies they probably have 10 people lined up to take the jobs.

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"Apple reported one of the most lucrative quarters of any corporation in history, with $13.06 billion in profits on $46.3 billion in sales. Its sales would have been even higher, executives said, if overseas factories had been able to produce more." That's positive news for Apple and its shareholders. With all that money, Tim Cook can hire a group of people to seriously look into these allegations. If they are true, then he must do something about them. I'm not going to rip on Tim Cook because he's new to his position. He can make a name for himself as the man who fought to improve worker conditions at Apple's factories because it's the damn right thing to do, rather than the man who took over Steve Job's office.

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