Although Apple has been taking unprecedented measures in the industry to remedy the problem, the truth is that working on an assembly line mass-producing iPhones just sucks. But how bad a job is building iPhones in the grand scheme of things?
The Worst Jobs in the World Matrix, from Lapham’s Quarterly, tries to put the craptitude of working at Foxconn in a broader historical perspective. As you can see, slaving away in an electronics factory for 300 hours per month for $0.76 an hour is a difficult job, but it’s far less disgusting than being a Roman vomitorium attendant, less tedious than being a World of Warcraft gold farmer, less treacherous than being a Japanese subway pusher, and less fatal than being the court food taster for a 16th-century emperor. Perspective, people!
Last year, Apple launched its Labor and Human Rights page to give some transparency to the human rights controversy’s it’s been having with supply chain workers. Along with numerous explanations on what Apple is doing to make sure its supply chain workers are treated fairly, the company releases the percentage of supplier work-hour compliance every month.
For the first time since Apple started tracking its supplier work-hour compliance metric, they just hit 99% compliance in January 2013.
Back from the holidays, Apple has just filed a preliminary proxy statement with the SEC today in preparation for its annual shareholder meeting in 2013. It’s filled with a lot of insight into the inner workings of our favorite company, and while the biggest news is probably Tim Cook’s remuneration for 2012, there are also other interesting tidbits, including Apple’s resistance to the idea of the appointment of a Board Committe on Human Rights, and the fact that Scott Forstall’s departure lead to a pay raise for the rest of Apple’s executive team.
While we all know that most consumer electronics are manufactured in places like China, Apple has become the public face of the current practice. While the company continues to rake in huge profits from their iPhone and iPad devices, there has been much finger-pointing in Apple’s direction when unfair and degrading labor practices in manufacturing plants in China, like Foxconn, are brought to the forefront in Western media.
Apple seems pretty aware that it’s fighting this public relations battle on their own. The company’s Labor and Human Rights webpage has just been updated to include data on how many hours per week the 800,000 production workers in their supply chain have to work.