Sunday, March 16, 2014

Apple responds to campaign, but falls short of progress

This post (with the exception of date changes) first appeared in the blog of Green America.

Co-authored by Kevin Slaten, China Labor Watch, and Elizabeth O’Connell, Green America 
On March 12 in partnership with Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour and the activism arm of the Nation, Green America and China Labor Watch launched a petition to Apple to improve worker health and safety in the factories that make Apple products.

Apple was quick to respond to our campaign, in a statement shared with Computer World, however, their statement falls far short of meeting the demands of the campaign.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Guardian interview on worker safety in Apple factories

I talked with The Guardian's Samual Gibbs to discuss worker safety in Chinese plants making Apple products as part the following article:

Apple urged to stop using harmful chemicals in its factories

Labour and eco groups call for chemical safety in manufacturing at Apple factories in China, and say Samsung, Dell and HP should change too

Pressure groups China Labor Watch and Green America say Apple should stop using harmful chemicals including the solvents n-hexane and benzene in its manufacturing.

But they said that they were not calling for a customer boycott of the products, and that any reports suggesting that were “misinterpretation”.

The groups will call on Wednesday for Apple to “stop needlessly exposing workers in Chinese manufacturing facilities to toxic chemicals now causing severe illnesses” arguing that using those chemicals rather than alternatives saves it a “shockingly small amount of money”.

“Together with Green America, we demand that Apple takes responsibility and removes chemicals like the solvents n-hexane and the carcinogen benzene, which is known to cause leukaemia providing its workers with a legal standard of welfare,” Kevin Slaten, programme co-ordinator at China Labor Watch, told the Guardian.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Apple's child labor

Apple iPhone child worker Shi Zhaokun who died last year
(Photo: China Labor Watch)

In writing a piece on child labor in Apple's supply chain, a reporter for Quartz magazine talked with me about the issue as it pertains to China. The article is an interesting read, but (as I told the reporter in an email after the article was publsihed), despite the seriousness of child labor, from a numbers perspective, child labor is a relatively minor aspect of the labor abuse going on in Apple's supply chain.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quoted in E-Commerce Times on IBM factory strike of 1,000 workers

IBM is selling its low-end server business to Lenevo, and this includes the sale of an electronics factory in Guangdong Province. But during the process, the factory did not offer economic compensation to its workers as required by law. Over 1,000 workers from the plant went on striek to protest this and other issues, like working hours. A reporter from E-Commerce Times contacted me to talk more about the legal background and labor context. Please see the article here.