Apple has joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA) as a participating company,
effective immediately, which comes on the heels of news reports from China
of deaths of employees where its products are being manufactured.
Membership in FLA
allows outside monitors
into factories of suppliers such as Foxconn Technology Group following the
reported deaths of at least 15 employees at its Chinese parts makers.
According to a report on
least 12 workers have committed suicide at plants in China
owned by Taiwan's
Foxconn, Apple's biggest supplier, while three died last year and more than 70
were hurt in blasts at two iPad facilities, one of which was also owned by
Foxconn. In response to pressure from Apple and the media, Foxconn more than
doubled wages in 2010 for some workers in China
and employed counselors, the website reported.
will independently assess facilities in Apple's supply chain and report
detailed findings on the FLA website.
Apple becomes the first technology company to join the Association as a
FLA Participating Companies agree
to uphold the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct throughout their supply chains and
commit to the FLA's Principles of
Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing. In 2011, the FLA
worked with Apple to assess the impact of Apple's training programs which help
raise awareness of labor rights and standards among workers in its supply
chain. Like all new affiliates, Apple will align its compliance program with FLA
obligations within the next two years.
"We found that Apple takes
supplier responsibility seriously and we look forward to their participation in
the Fair Labor Association," said Auret van Heerden,
FLA's president/CEO. "We welcome Apple's
commitment to greater transparency and independent oversight, and we hope its
participation will set a new standard for the electronics industry."
In addition to conducting
independent assessments of participating companies' supplier facilities, FLA
works with civil society organizations, universities and companies to develop
and improve social responsibility programs and provide training and capacity
building at the facility and brand level.
"We're extremely proud to be
the first technology company admitted to the FLA,"
said Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of Operations. "Last
year we performed more than 200 audits at our supplier's facilities around the
world. With the benefit of the FLA's
experience and expertise, we will continue to drive improvements for workers
and provide even greater transparency into our supply chain."
In other Apple news from the Far
East, according to various media reports Apple had a bad introduction of its
iPhone 4S in China and suspended sales as consumers pelted the Beijing store
with raw eggs since it failed to open. All five stores in the country were
reportedly closed, according to Apple.