Apple Cofounder Steve Wozniak Cried At Mike Daisey’s Play About Apple

Apple Cofounder Steve Wozniak Cried At Mike Daisey’s Play About Apple

Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder, was moved to tears by a play about the working conditions of Apple’s factories in China.

Woz went to see “The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs” by Mike Daisey on Tuesday night at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. The one -man show, which describes the working conditions in the massive factories that make gadgets for Apple, Hewlett-Packard and others, made Wozniak cry.

The Apple cofounder told the New York Times’ Bay Citizen website:

“The shocking things that Mike said which brought me to tears were so because they came as a first-person story,” Wozniak said. “Mike was living the pain of what he was describing as he told it.”

The monologue describes Daisey’s trip to Shenzhen last year, where he met workers at Foxconn’s plant as young as 12 and 13, and heard tales of the long, repetitive work. As many as 17 workers have committed suicide at the Foxconn plant.

Wozniak also said: “I will never be the same after seeing that show.”

It appears that Steve Jobs has hasn’t seen the show, but Tim Cook, Apple’s COO acting chief executive in Jobs’ absence was asked about it at Apple annual shareholders’ meeting last week. Cook at first said unless it was on ESPN on CNBC, he hadn’t seen it. He then gave “a fervent defense” of Apple’s supply chain, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cook said Apple is doing a lot more about working conditions than any other company.

Cook said in everything from worker safety to making processes environmentally friendly “we have the highest standards,” adding that Apple is the most transparent in its auditing and reporting than any other company, reporting actual problems and taking real action.

Cook also noted that Apple’s policies apply not just to the more reputable companies it does direct business with, but that its auditing is “going deep into the supply chain” where the real problems are. He described problems such as workers from countries like Indonesia who are recruited by layers of companies that each charge fees that add up to be a large amount of the workers’ wages, or fake young workers’ birth certificates to skirt employment laws.

Apple has terminated relationships with suppliers who “just don’t get it,” Cook said, while working to resolve problems with others who appear to have made honest mistakes. Cook noted that Apple’s actions “will help more than Apple,” because the company is pushing to change how business is done.

It had forced reimbursements of $300 million to workers and has involved governments to get involved and understand the issues. “We are doing the heavy lifting,” Cook said. “I am really proud of the changes we have forced in.”

  • dave

    Lets have the HP and the Dell stories, no, wait, they don’t get cult of mac advertising this bait trap.

  • dboy

    yes, a mac blog reporting on a mac story – who would have guessed.

  • Berek

    For God’s sake lets stop the Apple/Foxconn is hell on earth. What about the 99% of other companies that rely on 2nd/3rd world factories for their extortionistic retail prices. Apple are top of the tree (pun intended) when trying to deal with these problems. What about Android phone? What about Nike clothes? What about YumCha TV’s? Blame corporate America if anyone.

  • Joy Overstreet

    Mike Daisey acknowledges that Dell, Nike et al are also involved, however his point is that Apple, by virtue of its position as the coolest company with the coolest products ever is a trend-setter. Daisey suggests that if Apple made conspicuous steps to change their practices overseas, other companies would be forced to follow suit.

    I think he has a valid point.

  • Sean

    People are uncomfortable to learn where their cheap <insert here=”” item=””> comes from. How is this news? What next? Woz crying over dead cows?

    “They have to kill them to make the hamburgers?”</insert>

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Learn to read it says right in the article in black and white “Apple, Hewlett-Packard and others” HEWLETT-PACKARD AND OTHERS. What part of that don’t you understand?

  • iHate_Is_Back

    I’m trying to be a nice guy on here but I find I’m repeating myself. The article says in black and white “Apple, Hewlett-Packard and others” HEWLETT-PACKARD AND OTHERS. The sentence is quite straight forward what part of it could you possibly not understand?

  • iHate_Is_Back

    I agree with you Joy if Apple used its head admitted they screwed up and tried being proactive instead of reactive they could put this issue to bed and turn it around and make themselves look like the human rights poster boys. Years ago they were one of the worst offenders when it came to environmentally unfriendly products but they realized by offering environmentally conscious products it became a huge selling feature for some consumers. To bad Apple hasn’t seen the light yet. If what Kahney reported is true at least Wozniak may have seen the light. I’ve always liked the Woz. Considering hes so amiable its hard to develop a dislike for him.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    You just took the award for the crudest and most asinine comment ever posted on COM. Congratulations dipshit considering there’s been quite a few on here that’s quite a feat. People aren’t cows you fucking dumb moron now shut the fuck up.

  • Paul

    Nice justification Cook. “I am really proud of the changes we have forced in.” Exactly, there was and obviously still are problems. “Force” is the operative word!!

    Apple has to take responsibility as they “force” and squeeze suppliers very hard on pricing!! This clearly has a chain reaction. Do business with Apple and find a way to reduce your costs!!!

  • estragon_nyc

    “Cook at first said unless it was on ESPN on CNBC, he hadn’t seen it.”

    I hope Woz persuades Cook to see the show. And then I hope Cook remembers this bit of flippancy and that it sticks in his throat. Sports and finance can be a lot of fun, but neither one substitutes for having a soul.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Excellent post estragon_nyc. If more people remembered that this would be a far better world.

  • haineux

    Cook was saying that Apple “forced” Chinese factories to treat workers better. It seems likely that that is true. On the other hand, labor conditions in China, to be blunt, suck, even with Apple “forcing” improvements.

  • haineux

    Apple has been “forcing” Chinese companies to improve the way they treat workers. That’s what Tim Cook was saying, and Apple publishes enough information to be rather convincing.

    That being said, working conditions in China just plain suck. Workers get paid very little, work very long hours, and live in barracks that could be mistaken for prisons.

    I believe that workers who sign up for this job often have no other prospects, and so rather than be a burden to their families, they send home a teeny amount of money building iPods and sneakers. Which makes the whole thing even sadder, in my opinion.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    ————–
    That being said, working conditions in China just plain suck. Workers get paid very little, work very long hours, and live in barracks that could be mistaken for prisons.

    I believe that workers who sign up for this job often have no other prospects, and so rather than be a burden to their families, they send home a teeny amount of money building iPods and sneakers. Which makes the whole thing even sadder, in my opinion.
    —————-
    It’s downright criminal in my opinion and you’re right the vast majority of people who sign up don’t have many prospects. it’s either work at Foxxconn or others like it or you starve. Something I’d like to add, a lot of people don’t realize that the govt in China doesn’t care about these people and in many ways they are to blame. To them these people are just cheap labor that attracts foreign investment into the country. Many of these people come from agricultural areas that have been depressed for decades. Most of the youth leave these areas and if they don’t go to the huge factories they go to the cities looking for work. The real insane thing about their plight is these rural folk have very little rights in the cities. Its almost as if they’re second class citizens in their own country and many businesses who hire them take advantage of them because they know they can get away with it.

    Nice to see you and some of the other posters on here are showing a human side. Do I dare to think this thread might actually develop into a thread that’s informative?

  • Nevermark

    @estragon_nyc,
    Right, because Apple doing something about the problem and reporting every year on actual problems and solutions doesn’t mean anything, unless Tim Cook also shelves his sense of humor and sees a play, the bastard! (Does anybody else get sick of the rampant ill informed negativity in these comment threads?)

  • Nevermark

    Whoa Nelly! No sense of humor, huh? Do you need someone to explain to you what he meant? Or did your last brain cell just implode because you actually think he was comparing people to cows? (Hint: He was pointing out that the problems in China are as well known as the cost to cows of making burgers, and it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. But by all means have a cow!)

  • Dfgfdg
  • steffen_jobs

    woz is a nutcase.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Nevermark do a quick search on COM using Foxxconn as the search term and take the time to read some of the comments made on the threads. Trust me you’d lose your sense of humor too if you’ve read what I’ve read. That being said I guess you have a point. It’s hard to not to fly off the handle when you see some peoples crappy attitudes considering the subject matter.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Yep that’s why you gotta love the dude.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Nevermark you do realize that Job’s himself in the beginning denied the problem? Do a search on youtube for the Jobs D8 interview he denies it completely.

  • Nevermark

    No worries. You are right that there a lousy conditions there. And it is better to care too much than too little about it.

    It is good companies are auditing and pressuring suppliers to treat workers better, protect the environment, etc. That will be the only way things change until China and other countries with cheap labor develop the wealth that enables them to define better norms for themselves.

    On the other hand, it is easy to assume the problem is just greed and short sightedness when more is going on. China has millions of people living at substandard levels in rural areas. City jobs that to us look appalling are often an opportunity to escape or alleviate poverty and hunger. Big changes in economies and culture take time and are going to look messy and inhumane to citizens of countries beyond that stage.

    Not that long ago the entire country was literally being starved to death by its leader to support pet projects and his international image. Now for decades the quality of life in China has moved forward much faster than it has here.

    (Everyone agrees spending $trillions of our future generations money and leaving them with the debt is criminally insane and isn’t going to make the US stronger, yet even the politicians that bark the most about it avoid the balanced budget amendment that would fix the problem. Rant for another day…)

  • Libertyfive3000
  • Peter Jackson

    Let’s all demand that Apple build their gadgets here in the USA. That way we can pay twice as much for them.

  • Maxwell

    Maybe as Americans we need to boycott companies that ship jobs overseas for there cheap labor, but this will not happen because we care more about our iPhone and iPad then we do people. We are becoming more self absorbed and less in tune with nature and humanity.

  • DavidWMartin

    Interesting story…

  • Ryan Thompson

    This blog, like your understanding of it, is very niche. This I believe is by design. If not the name and the url were poorly chosen. I suspect you’re looking for CultOfAllComputerMakers .com

  • Micktink

    Get off your “hate-Apple” horse, or should I say donkey, or ass!

  • Ryan Thompson

    People have no more natural right to exist than a cow does. I’m offended by your crappy attitude towards all the other creatures you share the Earth with.

    Seriously though, back off. It’s not your responsibility to fix the world. It’s actually quite unwelcome. Americans seem to think that they’re somehow responsible for the world, well you’re not. And if you choose to help, you’re horribly ignorant to where you should be helping. China has money and nukes, let them take care of their own people. If their people are unsatisfied with their government, then they can always topple it and install one they like. This is exactly what happened in every western nation at some point, think of it as a cultural coming of age.

    If you want to help people, then start looking at humanitarian aid to the children (and I mean children under 13) in Africa who are forced to sell their bodies or allow themselves to be raped. Sleeping in clusters of dozens and dozens of other children for warmth at night. Starving, diseased, likely infected with HIV and with a life expectancy that’s less than a third of your own?

    You want me to get excited about some jackass who has a job, a roof over his head, meals, nutrition, physical activity program and some money and still decided to kill himself? Someone took a big steaming dump in the middle of your living room, and you’re ignoring that and dusting the coffee table complaining about the mess.

  • Sade

    I’m sick and tired of blaming those suicides on Apple. Blame Foxconn you idiots! Foxconn doesn’t belong to Apple, just learn it already!

  • Maxwell

    This is false, more dis-information

  • Maxwell

    Hear no evil, see no evil

  • Maxwell

    China and the globalist will be enslaving your children very soon.

  • Sid

    Can Apple lovers help me with my dissertation questionnaire! I’m researching why people prefer specific brand of smartphone (Android/iPhone/RIM/Nokia)? I just need 40 more response. Here is the link http://bit.ly/flmLq6 I thank you for your time and effort!

  • ms linda

    “People have no more natural right to exist than a cow does.” are you implying that it should be OK to kill others? let’s not be 1984’ish folks…

  • Ryan Thompson

    You read my whole comment, and that was your take away? WTF Really?

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    That is ART.

    Apple survival is a miracle, if you think of the cartels ( PC and mobilePhones ) Apple is competing with.

    Apple doesn’t compete with Microsoft, it competes with ALL PC vendors, who invest NOt much as Apple on the hardware or OS.

    About China, it is replicating all that the Western countries did to their countrymen and those they colonize, even those who got no colonies DID gain with the savage exploitation, rubber industry and gold mines, BP in the West, USA companies in the South America until late XX century, the barbaric colonialism in Africa are examples.

    People in the WEST now decries unions, they forgot WHY they now enjoy good working conditions.

    Sad.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Makes you understand why Steve Wozniak is not able to make decisions at Apple anymore….cried at a play regarding an Apple supplier?

  • schist

    My Prediction is that these things are cyclical. China is taking advantage of it’s cheap labour. People are becoming more wealthy in China and will consume more. This leads to higher expectations of work and income. Then the labour becomes less cheap. Apple, Dell, Nike et al, do this because it’s cheaper to ship products in from Chinese factories than make them at home. When this becomes too expensive they may then invest in Automated production and manufacturing will come home.

  • TheSmurff

    Tset

  • estragon_nyc

    Wow. I’ve used only Macs since 1990. I’ve personally owned about twelve of them in that time, and I’ve bought them for other people. I’ve worked as a Mac developer, as an Apple-certified Mac repair tech, and as a salesman for an Apple retailer. I’ve met and spoken with Steve Jobs. Been there, done that, got the commemorative t-shirt and matching bumper sticker. And yet, because I criticize one member of the board for a callous and insensitive remark, I must be a hater. Well, Apple would be delighted to have more haters like me. And I guess Woz is a hater too.

    For the record, I think Apple is ultimately going to do right here. My complaint was that when someone is asking you about people who are suffering and dying, laughing it off a wisecrack about “I only watch sports and financial news” is just cold.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    No, blame the market-share mentality in the West.

    Wonder WHY German’s manufacture industry makes more than 30 % of its GDP.
    Whereas UK and USA are lagging behind in adding jobs?

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Perhaps he is just MORE human.
    He can actually connect, feel empathy.

    NO?

  • iHate_Is_Back

    The problem with your theory is China is a communist state that allows only limited free markets and limited freedoms for its own population. China learned from its earlier Maoist blunders and the mistakes of the USSR and realized they couldn’t be an island onto themselves when it came to economics. The rulers of China allow big business to operate in their territories so as to create foreign investment and bring from outside their borders much needed hard capitol. The only way they know how to do that is to provide an environment conducive for dirt cheap labor. Where am I going with all this? The point I want people to understand is the Chinese communist state isn’t interested in creating a healthy middle class in certain areas of China. China’s rulers have intentionally kept certain segments of its population impoverished and only passingly educated so that there’s a healthy number of people willing to work dirt cheap at any given time. That’s what attracts Apple, Dell, Samsung, Acer, as well as other sectors of business to China. Its the opportunity for companies to trim their manufacturing costs down from say 35% to only 15 or 10% that brings in all this foreign investment into China. That’s the complete problem, albeit put into simple terms, that people don’t seem to get. The Foxxconn suicides are only one page of the problem in a book that is the size of the NYC phone book.

    People seem to think I’m on a I hate Apple rant when I talk Foxxconn when truthfully I’m not. Its true I think Apple has plenty of blame in the matter as well as their competitors but if truth be known Apple and others wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Western economic, governmental and organized labor incompetence. Add in the fact that the West has traditionally taken a see no evil speak no evil attitude towards human rights issues in the East and its not shocking to me that China over the last two or three decades has become the sweatshop poster boy for big business. The results are China has become a breadbasket for individuals (the communist state) who in my mind hold the same characteristics no better then street thugs and murderers. The most reprehensible problem in this mess is the country of China never had to be used the way it has been. The only reason the thugs (communist state) was able to survive in its early days was because the outside world didn’t care and in some instances even quietly supported the thugs who quietly marched off all their political opponents into jails if not into the front of a firing squad. Because the communist state has now been in power for so long the problem has become 1000 times more complicated and removing the thugs from power is that much harder for the simple reason they’ve anchored themselves into every facet of everyday life. In short Chinese society has become so reliant on the communist state because they’ve been in power for so long society has begun to forget how any semblance of democracy could ever exist in China. You only have to research some of the problems the Russians had/still have trying to function as a quasi democracy since the USSR fell apart to see what I mean. As much as I hate to say it China is slowly becoming the modern day Metropolis from Fritz Lang’s film.

    Do any of you understand now why I get so pissed off when I read certain comments on this thread.

  • freerange

    Oh no, not you again. Seriously, seek some medical help! Your moronic rants pretend to show some knowledge of china when in fact you haven’t a clue. You really need to start taking your meds again.

    Once again it needs to be pointed out that the foxcon facility in question is a mid-size city of 100’s of thousands of employees with a suicide rate far lower than that of the US. This is not to diminish the loss of life as every loss is tragic. Its just that you need to put it in perspective and none of us have any clue why this happened to each individual.

  • Uncle Smith

    Make them here in California there are a ton of people looking for good work.

  • Your Name

    I saw the show last night. I love my Mac but Daisey is right: we don’t want to see how the sausage is made because then we’d have to look at what kind of person we are who’d support that kind of human — child — abuse because nothing should stp us from having what we want. Berek is also right: it’s not just Apple. But like Daisey says in the show, Apple is the one company that at least makes an effort (or at least makes a PR show) at social responsibility. If we could persuade Apple to become what they say they are, we’d not only feel better about what we’re buying, but we’d have even more reason for NOT buying from the others who aren’t even pretending they give a damn.

  • schist

    Repression of the population can only take you so far. The difference is only a matter of time. The regime in China has been incredibly successful in improving individual wealth in recent years. With increased wealth comes higher expectations, there will be pressure on costs.
    Whether or not China will overcome the repressive regime quickly or slowly is irrelevant. It’s inevitable.
    The real response should be to begin making investments now in automation back home. It’s what I’d be doing if in Apple’s (or Dell’s or HP’s) position.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    Oh wonderful its freerange the turd Steve Jobs crapped out after having a bad burrito. Hey freerange fuck off and die already. It’s slimy assholes like you who give Apple enthusiasts a bad name. Go crawl back in your hole you egomaniac money hungry bitch.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    We’ll see maybe you’re right. What worries me is whats going to happen if the West does start going heavy automation thereby eliminating some of those jobs in China? Whats China going to do then with all those people with limited to no job prospects? Right now China’s thriving but all good things eventually come to an end.

  • Nevermark

    @iHate_Is_Back,
    Your comment puts yourself in a bad light and sheds no light whatsoever on freerange. Perhaps you are having a bad day, but seriously, take a chill pill, calm down, and keep the posts rational.

    With regard to China, living conditions there have improved faster for decades than anywhere in the world. Obviously they have a ways to go, but within living memory its economy, social structures and respect for human life were flattened by Mao Tse Tung to a degree that is unimaginable in the West.

    If they were as limited as you describe, they would be nowhere near as advanced and free as they are now. Despite our impatience for them to catch up with our level of freedom and wealth the trend is extremely positive.

  • Sean

    I get an award? Does it come with a trophy?

    I hope the trophy wasn’t made in China.

    As for the cows to people leap. You should enter the Olympics with jumping skills like that. You’d definitely take home the gold.

    However, you won’t be winning any Oscars for your faux and ignorant outrage. Good try though. :)

  • Mootilda

    At least Apple is trying hard to ADDRESS all these Foxconn/Chinese work conditions.

    You never hear about Dell or HP or Google or Motorola doing anything to improve the slave-labor conditions on their Chinese factories. They probably just cover up, and no one hears about the problems.

    The Media only reports the Apple factory problems because…. well…. AAPL is the only company that’s newsworthy these days.

  • TheBrew

    Maybe he just meant that if it wasn’t on television, he wouldn’t have had time to see it? Besides that, I’m on your side ;)

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  • Ihateisafaggot

    you have always liked getting fucked up the ass. what’s new

  • Ihateisafaggot

    i think that a chink should slit your fucking throat and you should die in a fucking spic factory you useless twat cunt

  • Ihateisafaggot

    I don’t think that you could possibly understand that you are a dickless douchebag dumbass

  • Ihateisafaggot

    this would be a far better world if you died tomorrow

  • Ihateisafaggot

    learn to read you ignorant dipshit retard. go back to kindergarten

  • Ihateisafaggot

    you are a retarded twat. go fuck a cow. oh, i forgot, you can’t because you have no dick. oopps

  • Ihateisafaggot

    i think that you should “fly off the handle” and go back to federal prison where you belong. then you can visit your fellow nigger friends. have a fun life you scumbag

  • Ihateisafaggot

    wow, you know a lot about china for a chink. you built our railroads you immigrant filth. go die in a nuclear factory you worthless scum

  • Ihateisafaggot

    faggot

  • Ihateisafaggot

    wow, you really have no “life.” i’m guessing that you are a basement dwelling twink. go to your mommy and watch more faggot furry porn. did mommy not suck you off last night? oh sorry, mommy busy. go suck daddy little boy

  • Jean-Marc Desperrier

    It’s a bit simple to say the China government doesn’t care about these people. Actually I believe it’s true they don’t care, but they are *seriously* worried about social miscontentment getting to the level where the uprisings will threaten their power.

    So regularly the governement will act, even if just to enhance their image, if just to make sure the situation doesn’t get to the point of uprisings.

    The most recent striking example of that is them sending an armada of buses to evacuate the chinese workers that were stucked in northern Japan after the earthcake/tsunami (officially trainees, in fact cheap labor for fish factories). Not too expensive, ensures they will be thankful the situation has been handled this way for many years, no way the Chinese government misses that one !

    Likewise several managers of the company responsable for the baby milk poisonning were quickly sentenced to death. Serves them good, but also helps ensure people don’t spend too much time thinking if there isn’t a governement responsability when such a thing happens.

  • Your Name

    Gosh, Bob.  Sounds like you don’t care what happens to anyone else as long as you get what you want.  You’re a Republican, right?

  • Matthew

    I have read some of the comments and I would say to people, it doesn’t matter if it is Apple, HP, Samsung or Dell at the centre of the allegations. It doesn’t matter what brand you are aligned with or why, what product you believe in and why or whether or not you think this is all just a beat up. Put all of that to one side and look at the treatment of those people in those factories that quite frankly manufacture for a multitude of brands. Ask yourself what responsibility the CEO’s of all those companies have for what has happened and continues to happen. The Media doesn’t only report Apple factory problems as the issue is about the supply chain and these reports on brands come out constantly: Nestle and Indonesia, Kimberley Clarke and Forests in Orego, Sealord and Tuna sticks in the Pacific. Irrespective of the brand involved, the issues remains with the treatment of human beings in China, our fellow human beings and not some laptop brand over someone elses.

  • Stephvs

    Wrong, read this:
    http://www.ipe.org.cn/Upload/R

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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