January 27, 2012 |
Apple Inc.'s chief executive responded to a wave of negative attention to conditions at overseas factories that make its products, saying the insinuation that Apple doesn't care about the welfare of its workers is "offensive. " "Unfortunately, some people are questioning Apple's values today," Tim Cook wrote in an e-mail to Apple employees. "Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. " A series of articles in the New York Times has brought new focus on Apple's highly profitable production strategy, which relies heavily on Chinese workers who live in dormlike factories and spend many hours assembling devices.
February 13, 2012 |
Apple has responded to a wave of criticism of its labor practices in China by joining an industry-funded labor monitoring organization that will conduct extensive audits of factories run by Apple's Chinese manufacturing partners. The Fair Labor Assn. audits would including the vast Foxconn facilities in Shenzhen and Chengdu that employ hundreds of thousands of workers, and which have been the locus of a number of worker safety problems in recent years. Last May, a fire at one of the plants killed four and injured nearly 20 workers, and in 2010, 13 Foxconn employees jumped to their deaths from factory rooftops.
March 10, 2010 |
Improbable as it seems, the brightest spot so far in the nation's spotty economic recovery is a sector long considered all but dead -- good-old-fashioned manufacturing. Factories are churning. Exports are up. Even though jobs are the bleakest aspect of the overall economy these days, factory payrolls have turned positive. "We could have a renaissance here," said Ron Bloom, President Obama's manufacturing czar. "Indeed," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke declared late last month, "manufacturing has been leading the recovery so far."
November 15, 2012 |
While most of the country will head routinely to work Friday, workers at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group will get the day off. Why? It's the start of deer-hunting season, a peculiar benefits quirk stemming from collective bargaining, corporate needs and Midwestern outdoors culture. During contract negotiations in the late 1990s, the automakers agreed to make Veterans Day a paid day off - but with a catch. The United Auto Workers didn't necessarily want to celebrate Veterans Day. Rather, its members wanted a flexible day off in November about the time hunting season starts.
July 19, 2012 |
Ralph Lauren, the crown prince of preppy, received more than $30 million in compensation in 2011 from the corporation he founded and of which he and his family control about 73%. He is on the Forbes list of billionaires. The Ralph Lauren firm physically produces nothing: It is a design, marketing and licensing operation that hires factories to make its stuff. The company has had the U.S. Olympic team deal since 2008. A men's team shirt costs $425 and a woman's skirt $498. The beret that makes the athletes look like recruits for the U.S. Special Forces and a T-shirt each cost $55. Perhaps it is the high unemployment rate or the in-your-face patriotism induced by an election year, but the news that Lauren's prep-chic outfits are made in China has produced a rare bipartisan storm of criticism.
March 30, 2012 |
A sweeping investigation into three Chinese factories that produce Apple Inc. products found "significant issues" with working conditions, including excessive overtime and health and safety risks. An industry-funded labor watchdog group, the Fair Labor Assn., said Thursday that it had conducted a thorough inspection of the factories operated by Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple and other tech companies. The group said it had secured "groundbreaking commitments" that will reduce working hours, improve conditions and establish a voice for workers.