Apple cracks down

The best part of Apple’s self-congratulatory supplier responsibility reports are the stories it tells about the bad actors.

From the 2018 Progress Report:

  • In 2017, we uncovered 38 cases of falsification of working hours data. In all cases, suppliers were placed on immediate probation.
  • In 2017, one supplier restricted site access and refused to provide production records, a third-party audit, or documentation to justify wage calculation, which resulted in the supplier receiving a Core Violation.
  • In 2017, we uncovered two cases of underage labor. The two underage employees were ages 14 and 15. In both cases, individuals used false identification to gain employment. Once identified, both were immediately transported home and enrolled in their choice of schools while continuing to receive wages from the supplier. Upon reaching legal working age, they will be offered a job at the supplier facility they departed, should they wish to return.
  • In 2017, three suppliers were identified with foreign contract workers who were charged recruitment fees…  In one case, over 700 foreign contract workers were recruited from the Philippines to work for a supplier through a private employment agency. This resulted in excessive placement fees of more than US$1M… In each case, the supplier was required to repay the recruitment fees in full to all impacted workers.

In total, according to Apple, its suppliers last year returned $1.9 million in excessive recruitment fees to 1,558 people affected by bonded labor, bringing the total to $30 million repaid to over 35,000 employees since 2008.

My take: Name another company that does half as much to clean up its act.

See also: Doing business in China: Tim Cook vs. Ivanka Trump


  1. Ken Cheng said:

    Seriously, it would be nice to know if any other company does this.

    March 8, 2018
    • I asked the watchdog group China Labor Watch if any other company put as much effort as Apple into its supplier relations. Here was their reply:

      Dear Philip,

      Thank you for reaching out to us at China Labor Watch. Apple has made improvements in terms of worker protection, which usually comes at a cost for the company. However, Apple’s profits make up 90% of the smartphone industry, and compared with other companies in the same industry, they should be able to do even more to protect their workers.

      Hope that helps!

      March 9, 2018
  2. Fred Stein said:

    The bitter irony is when people from the entertainment world, falsely accuse Apple on the subject of abusing workers. Talking to you Aaron Sorkin.

    March 8, 2018

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