The much anticipated audit of Apple’s China suppliers is complete. To no one’s surprise the companies are in violation of China’s work laws. China isn’t a country known and heralded for worker’s rights so that’s saying a lot. More than 60% of the workers at three of Apple supplier Foxconn’s factories in China say their wages fall short of their basic needs. The average monthly salaries at the plants range from 2,257 RMB in Chengdu — around $358 in U.S. dollars — to 2,872 RMB (USD $455) in Guanlan.
The list of worker’s violations is long. China has not had the benefit of America’s Unions to protect workers for 7 day work weeks and 12 hour work days and no paid vacations and a decent and livable minimum wage. So for all those people that call unions evil I wonder what is more evil…paid vacations and a decent minimum wage or thousands of workers making $358 a month?
Apple is not the only American company that is benefiting from what is, let’s face it, essentially slave labor in China. But, they are such an easy target. The self-righteousness of the company and their fans make it a delicious target for scorn. How are you enjoying that iPad now that you know these things?
So while Apple sits on $100 billion in cash, it’s factory workers earn less than their average consumer spends on Starbucks in a month.
I’m confident every piece of technology I have in my home is made in China, so I’m not going to chuck too many rocks at Apple. I will say that the U.S. government needs to step in here. If we have thousands of unemployed factory workers and we can’t begin to compete with $358 monthly salaries, what is our answer?
I support global economic policies and free and fair trade. The flaw is that when we’re the only one abiding by the rules we’re the ones that get the short end of the stick when it comes to jobs. We get cheap goods, but unfortunately we don’t have the jobs to earn the money to pay for them! China could care less if their employees live in poverty and don’t have basic human rights. Plus, when we do make something they either pirate it and make it cheaper or can’t possibly afford the goods we ship over there.
What a mess. Isolationism sounds better every day.