Tag Archive for ‘Labor’
“We live not just in a global economy but in a global supply chain,” says international labor expert Richard Locke. “The most important thing is to educate consumers, especially in large markets, so they understand that the choices they make have implications for issues of living standards, working conditions and justice in the factories that produce most of the things we buy every day.”
While sustainability is increasingly “appearing on the radars and agendas of companies around the world,” a clear gap exists between corporate “words” and “action,” according to the newly-released Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013 from the United Nations Global Compact.
A new study by researchers at MIT and Harvard concludes that product labels highlighting fair labor practices had a “substantial positive effect” on the purchasing behavior of women shopping for higher-priced items. But the study found fair trade had no effect on men or shoppers with lower price points.
The Fair Labor Association said a nearly month-long investigation of three factories operated by Apple’s major Chinese supplier “revealed serious and pressing noncompliances” with FLA standards as well as Chinese labor law. The findings called for a detailed set of remedial measures to protect employee health and safety, reduce worker hours to legal limits while protecting worker pay, and establish “genuine avenues” for workers to provide input on company decisions.
Warehouse workers in the Inland Empire — as well as in the next two biggest distribution hubs, the Chicago area and central New Jersey — are cogs in a system that stocks the shelves of stores such as Walmart, Target and Foot Locker. Even so, the big retailers are separated from the workers, and shielded from legal exposure, by layers of intermediary companies.
Apple Inc.’s announcement Feb. 13 that it has asked the Fair Labor Association to conduct “special voluntary audits” of working conditions at the plants of Chinese suppliers follows a growing wave of unaccustomed adverse publicity toward the consumer electronics giant.
Apple Inc., facing criticism over working conditions at Chinese plants of its major assembly suppliers, particularly Foxconn, said the Fair Labor Association will conduct “special voluntary audits” at Apple’s request. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Recent media reports have put the spotlight on abusive working conditions at Foxconn, the Taiwanese company whose massive Chinese factories manufacture some of the world’s most popular consumer electronics. As well as working with companies like Dell, Motorola, Nokia and Hewlett-Packard, Foxconn assembles popular Apple products like the iPhone and iPad.
One of the U.S.’s largest manufacturers, Boeing, has been sued by the government for allegedly punishing union workers by shifting a proposed new plant to another state. Republicans and other critics have charged that the government is overstepping its authority and creating a dangerous precedent.
The company says it conducted on-site audits at 102 facilities in 2009, up from 83 in 2008, and trained 133,000 workers, supervisors and managers, a sharp increase from 27,000 a year earlier.