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[CLB] Pressuring Apple or building a workers' movement?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
READ THE ARTICLE

Quote:
Apple’s 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report has launched a discussion on the abuses in Apple’s supply chain, and how to go about remedying it. In many ways, the discussion is great because it interjects the all too hidden topic of Chinese working conditions into the mainstream. But at the same time, the challenge is to figure out how to improve conditions at Apple’s suppliers so that Chinese workers and Chinese society benefit in the long run.

A good recap of the debate can be found at the China Digital Times, and also, the New York Times has published a must-read piece that includes some candid observations from former Apple executives discussing the difficulties in pushing for better labour conditions in supplier factories.

At the heart of the dilemma is the tension between pushing for better labour conditions – which necessitates more money paid to suppliers and slower productions speeds – and the company’s desire to meet consumer demand in bringing out new products and keeping new ideas secret from competitors.
http://www.clb.org.hk/en/node/101241
Edited by Phaedrus2129 - 2/1/12 at 3:21pm
post #2 of 15
Edit: Heh, I could see the suppliers cutting corners to keep their profits high assuming that they can't charge Apple more and I also do agree that this would be more of a workers right problem in China. I suppose I can understand why Apple is in a tough spot but seeing how they love their name, improving labor conditions seems like a no brainer.
Edited by B-rock - 2/1/12 at 3:35pm
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post #3 of 15
It would destroy apple if they were ethical, higher prices, higher overhead. They would price themselves out of the market.
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post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Please actually read the article. Sheesh, highlight one interesting part and no reads any of the context around it. Sigh.
post #5 of 15
This is a very common problem in all industries that rely on product or even parts of product from unregulated factories in China. There's a reason why taking your production overseas is a good idea- North American labor is VERY expensive compared to Chinese, Taiwanese etc. due to our safe labor practices. The bad part of overseas production is that you're physically harming humans, though indirectly. As consumers start to realize that the trend of overseas production not only hurts your home economy but also foreign workers, more people will buy local or want western made products. Too bad they won't want to pay the price.

Edit: I'm willing to bet that if you work in any industrial trade or are a salesperson, at some point you have used or sold a product that cost lives to make. I'm not being a bleeding heart here, 150 years ago people in the US and UK had to dig in unsafe coal mines and work in textile factories that frequently burned down. We just don't want to anymore, which is reasonable. Watch in 50 years as labor gets pushed onto African countries from China and China moves closer to where are now.
Edited by KittensMewMew - 2/1/12 at 3:41pm
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post #6 of 15
I like the fact the workers are forming a grassroots movement along with striking and other things.
Apple needs to get off their lazy greedy butts and do something right for once, instead of the bullcrap of 'Oh we tell them not to do that'
Then it continues to happen.
Get right or get gone apple..... (I prefer the get gone for them)
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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittensMewMew View Post

This is a very common problem in all industries that rely on product or even parts of product from unregulated factories in China. There's a reason why taking your production overseas is a good idea- North American labor is VERY expensive compared to Chinese, Taiwanese etc. due to our safe labor practices. The bad part of overseas production is that you're physically harming humans, though indirectly. As consumers start to realize that the trend of overseas production not only hurts your home economy but also foreign workers, more people will buy local or want western made products. Too bad they won't want to pay the price.
Edit: I'm willing to bet that if you work in any industrial trade or are a salesperson, at some point you have used or sold a product that cost lives to make. I'm not being a bleeding heart here, 150 years ago people in the US and UK had to dig in unsafe coal mines and work in textile factories that frequently burned down. We just don't want to anymore, which is reasonable. Watch in 50 years as labor gets pushed onto African countries from China and China moves closer to where are now.

But Apple insists on being a company that makes high quality products. So what if the overseas production is cheaper? I see that as making your company sound cheap. I work at Harley-Davidson and everyone knows what a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is (good or bad, doesn't matter that's your view) but it is an American company that prides itself in quality and safety. We actually got recognized not too long ago for our safety programs. The workers are paid very well and there is a lot of quality/safety control here. That's why when I see Apple doing this, I really don't think they have any excuse.
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by B-rock View Post

But Apple insists on being a company that makes high quality products. So what if the overseas production is cheaper? I see that as making your company sound cheap. I work at Harley-Davidson and everyone knows what a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is (good or bad, doesn't matter that's your view) but it is an American company that prides itself in quality and safety. We actually got recognized not too long ago for our safety programs. The workers are paid very well and there is a lot of quality/safety control here. That's why when I see Apple doing this, I really don't think they have any excuse.

I'm saying that it needs to be changed at a company and consumer level, not at the factory level. If you say to the factories "make yourselves safer, but we want to pay the same price!" they'll laugh at you. People can't have it both ways. The consumer has to be prepared to pay a higher price, and the company has to be prepared to perhaps lose sales if their higher price isn't competitive with other companies who don't switch. We can't force labor unions on other countries, especially not countries with such high populations looking for work. If a labor movement was to really take hold, we would see major price increases on our end as well as breaks in supply as the inevitable strikes and stagnation that go along with unions occur.

The responsibility lies with the company to force each individual factory that produces for them to follow proper safety codes, at an increased cost to the company. (This already happens with North American factory production companies like Harley Davidson)
The responsibility then lies with the discerning consumer to make a moral choice to spend more money on a product that is produced with no humans harmed. (This barely ever happens, except in cases of brand loyalty)

I somehow don't see either of those things happening, unless a large fruity company with a very large group of devout followers were to implement the changes. Given the choice between a Samsung LCD 32" that was $300 and an ethically made Panasonic LCD 32" that was $500, I'd go for the Samsung. But If the next generation of iPhones were "ethical" and I was an Apple fanboy? I'd probably pay the $100 extra.
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post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittensMewMew View Post

I'm saying that it needs to be changed at a company and consumer level, not at the factory level. If you say to the factories "make yourselves safer, but we want to pay the same price!" they'll laugh at you. People can't have it both ways. The consumer has to be prepared to pay a higher price, and the company has to be prepared to perhaps lose sales if their higher price isn't competitive with other companies who don't switch. We can't force labor unions on other countries, especially not countries with such high populations looking for work. If a labor movement was to really take hold, we would see major price increases on our end as well as breaks in supply as the inevitable strikes and stagnation that go along with unions occur.
The responsibility lies with the company to force each individual factory that produces for them to follow proper safety codes, at an increased cost to the company. (This already happens with North American factory production companies like Harley Davidson)
The responsibility then lies with the discerning consumer to make a moral choice to spend more money on a product that is produced with no humans harmed. (This barely ever happens, except in cases of brand loyalty)
I somehow don't see either of those things happening, unless a large fruity company with a very large group of devout followers were to implement the changes. Given the choice between a Samsung LCD 32" that was $300 and an ethically made Panasonic LCD 32" that was $500, I'd go for the Samsung. But If the next generation of iPhones were "ethical" and I was an Apple fanboy? I'd probably pay the $100 extra.

I know that quality = higher prices, pretty much everybody does. This is the cost of people wanting lower priced products, HOWEVER would you not agree that Apple would be an exception to this? Everyone knows that they are not a cheap brand. They are the highest priced out of any of their competitors, what excuse could they possibly have that would justify it over other manufacturers? What makes the iPhone? The parts? Or the OS?. I personally say the OS and maybe a little credit to the case quality. For everything else however, how do you say that their situation for what is being made overseas justifies their prices on the phone to be higher? Why wouldn't they be able to bring jobs here or at the least help improve the conditions. I know there is kind of a line between what they can do overseas. I suppose my thing is, why can't they cut into their profits to help this cause out or raise the prices if they wan't to keep that margin up.
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by B-rock View Post

I know that quality = higher prices, pretty much everybody does.
The problem with this is that companies too often take advantage of this. How many times over the last 100 yrs have corporations come out with a high quality product, only to cut quality in the name of greater profits?
    
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