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抵制血汗蘋果 美媒掀討論熱潮

 

〔編譯楊芙宜/綜合報導〕蘋果產品iPhone與iPad製造商在中國剝削勞工的現象被紐約時報大幅報導後,美國媒體掀起一波是否該抵制蘋果產品的討論聲浪。對此,蘋果公司執行長庫克回應,「我們在乎每一位員工」,強調將致力改善海外工廠員工的工作條件。

蘋果︰我們在乎每位員工

蘋果公司上週公布最新財報,iPhone、iPad等產品銷售量長紅,公司利潤年比翻升逾一倍,去年第四季淨利達一三○.六億美元。但這一份喜悅並沒有維持太久,隨後紐約時報以「在中國,人權成本內建在iPad之中」文章披露,過去十年蘋果成為全球最成功的富有企業,部分原因就是靠著主導全球製造業;但是組裝iPhone、iPad的勞工,卻處於惡劣的工作條件,包括一週七天的超時工作以及宿舍擁擠等。

新年以來,關於蘋果在中國製造工廠的負面消息一再受到國際媒體矚目。

例如,紐約時報稱美國致力於創造就業機會之際,蘋果產品所創造的工程師、產品組裝等七十萬個工作機會卻外包給海外製造商;著名的美國每日脫口秀節目(The Daily Show)主持人史都爾特(Jon Stewart),譏諷稱蘋果利潤背後的富士康工廠為「恐怖工廠」;美國公共廣播電台(NPR)報導愛用蘋果產品的作家戴西(Mr. Daisey),親赴中國工廠調查,採訪到十三歲少年員工的日常工作情形。

英國衛報、美國華爾街日報皆報導,引領科技流行風潮的蘋果公司,最近因為中國代工廠工作條件不佳,深陷公共關係危機。衛報指出,媒體上開始出現是否抵制(boycott)蘋果產品的討論,例如美國洛杉磯時報專欄明列蘋果近期公關形象受損細節,提問︰「消費者應該抵制蘋果?」

很有影響力的新聞週刊(Newsweek)科技作家里昂斯(Dan Lyons),直接以「真是野蠻」形容這種科技代工產品惡劣製造環境的情形,他說,「最終譴責不是歸咎在蘋果或其他電子公司上,而是我們這些消費者。最終,我們必須要求改變。」

富比士專欄作家加入抵制

富比士雜誌專欄作家寇漢(Peter Cohan)也加入抵制行動,稱︰「若把所有因為製造你的iPhone、iPad而死去的工人加總起來,這個數字高得嚇人。」根據紐約時報報導,蘋果代工廠的員工沒有被視為理所當然的勞動人權,長時間站立致雙腿腫脹、無法行走。去年兩家iPad工廠爆炸,導致四名員工死亡、七十七人受傷;另一供應商的一三七名員工,因使用有毒化學劑清潔iPhone螢幕後受傷。

〈分析〉蘋果罪不至死? 專家:使用廉價勞工是歷史共業

鉅亨網陳律安 綜合外電  2012-01-30  22:00  

蘋果 (AAPL-US) 驚人的成功有其黑暗面,但這真的代表到了該停止購買蘋果商品的時候了嗎?

《cnet》編輯 Brooke Crothers 以為,《紐約時報》將矛頭指向蘋果,稱蘋果使用血汗工廠生產商品的報導,,主要基於以下幾個原因:

名氣:如同那些長期受大眾監視的目標般,蘋果是個吸引記者的大磁鐵。關於蘋果勢必有很多報導,其中當然少不了負面報導。

獲利:當分析師及媒體爭相報導蘋果的驚人獲利時,它達成驚人獲利的方法可能相當醜陋。而蘋果最近這季達130億美元的獲利,將它拉抬到如同埃克森美孚般的層次,而這樣的大企業對於尖銳的批評是無法免疫的。

保密協定:蘋果對於代工廠商滴水不漏的保密協定,自然會惹來許許多多的質疑。

不過,一般消費者真的該杯葛蘋果商品嗎?一如許多評論家在媒體上倡議的那般。這個問題開啟了潘朵拉的盒子,而依循邏輯歸納出來的結果,可能必須杯葛所有產自中國的商品;比方說產於廣州的家具、深圳的內衣等等。

當然上面這些只是冰山一角。將層次拉高一些,會發現人力密集的大量生產,其本質上就相當醜陋,而這樣的醜陋史淵源流長。

先從日本開始談起。日本在 60、70、80 年代是製造業重鎮。當中一知名大廠的員工表示,在某些特定工廠,管理階層與生產線員工有著截然不同的待遇。那邊生產線上的員工被有如畜牲般對待,而管理階層則還像個人。

糟糕的工作環境,在當時的日本可以說是個普遍現象。有些員工可以無預警的就被裁員,資遣費這種事當然沒有。簡而言之,就是爛薪水、爛工作環境、極差的工作保障。而 19 及 20 世紀初葉的美國,工作情況的糟糕也是不遑多讓。

事實上,關於工廠的恐怖故事,其實就像是通往新工業經濟體的必經過程。聽過 1911 年的紐約三角工廠大火嗎?那時由於管理人員將樓梯及出口的門全上鎖,只為了防範工人趁換班開小差抽根菸,造成 146 名工人死亡。這讓生產蘋果商品的工廠看起來像在四季飯店度假般愜意。

所以,消費者真的希望蘋果改善 iPad 生產環境?這如同做白日夢,蘋果是不會這麼做的,因為這有違它低成本的生產模式。此外有多少美國人願意住在宿舍裡,接受如富士康員工般隨時待命的待遇?

最理想的情況,就是蘋果從美國的英特爾採購晶片,或是從三星在德州奧斯汀的廠房訂 A5、A6 的晶片。重點在於美國並不著重勞力密集產業,而擅長不需要用到很多勞工的技術密集產業。

不過最實際的,則是蘋果努力改善富士康的工作環境,也不要對其在中國的供應鏈下一些天量訂單。但也別預期這能夠改善中國的製造業。如果你仍堅持拒買蘋果商品,也請堅持下去。


THE iECONOMY

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws.

Color China Photo, via Associated Press

An explosion last May at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China, killed four people and injured 18. It built iPads.

The iEconomy

A Punishing System

Articles in this series are examining challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries.

Read the previous article >>
 
Multimedia
 
Ym Yik/European Pressphoto Agency

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS After a rash of apparent suicide attempts, a dormitory for Foxconn workers in Shenzhen, China, had safety netting installed last May. Foxconn said it acted quickly and comprehensively to address employee suicides.

Ryan Pyle for The New York Times

A SHRINE FOR A SON Lai Xiaodong was killed in a Foxconn factory explosion. His parents have built a memorial in their village.

Ryan Pyle for The New York Times

A JOB TURNS DEADLY Aluminum dust from polishing iPads caused the blast at Foxconn's plant in Chengdu, left. Lai Xiaodong was among those killed. He had moved to Chengdu, bringing with him his college diploma, six months earlier.

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When workers in the cafeteria ran outside, they saw black smoke pouring from shattered windows. It came from the area where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day.

Two people were killed immediately, and over a dozen others hurt. As the injured were rushed into ambulances, one in particular stood out. His features had been smeared by the blast, scrubbed by heat and violence until a mat of red and black had replaced his mouth and nose.

“Are you Lai Xiaodong’s father?” a caller asked when the phone rang at Mr. Lai’s childhood home. Six months earlier, the 22-year-old had moved to Chengdu, in southwest China, to become one of the millions of human cogs powering the largest, fastest and most sophisticated manufacturing system on earth. That system has made it possible for Apple and hundreds of other companies to build devices almost as quickly as they can be dreamed up.

“He’s in trouble,” the caller told Mr. Lai’s father. “Get to the hospital as soon as possible.”

In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.

However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhonescreens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.

“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”

Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others.

Current and former Apple executives, moreover, say the company has made significant strides in improving factories in recent years. Apple has a supplier code of conduct that details standards on labor issues, safety protections and other topics. The company has mounted a vigorous auditing campaign, and when abuses are discovered, Apple says, corrections are demanded.

And Apple’s annual supplier responsibility reports, in many cases, are the first to report abuses. This month, for the first time, the company released a list identifying many of its suppliers.

But significant problems remain. More than half of the suppliers audited by Apple have violated at least one aspect of the code of conduct every year since 2007, according to Apple’s reports, and in some instances have violated the law. While many violations involve working conditions, rather than safety hazards, troubling patterns persist.

“Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost,” said Li Mingqi, who until April worked in management atFoxconn Technology, one of Apple’s most important manufacturing partners. Mr. Li, who is suing Foxconn over his dismissal, helped manage the Chengdu factory where the explosion occurred.

“Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” he said.

Some former Apple executives say there is an unresolved tension within the company: executives want to improve conditions within factories, but that dedication falters when it conflicts with crucial supplier relationships or the fast delivery of new products. Tuesday, Apple reported one of the most lucrative quarters of any corporation in history, with $13.06 billion in profits on $46.3 billion in sales. Its sales would have been even higher, executives said, if overseas factories had been able to produce more.

Executives at other corporations report similar internal pressures. This system may not be pretty, they argue, but a radical overhaul would slow innovation. Customers want amazing new electronics delivered every year.

“We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on,” said one former Apple executive who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. “Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”

“If half of iPhones were malfunctioning, do you think Apple would let it go on for four years?” the executive asked.

Apple, in its published reports, has said it requires every discovered labor violation to be remedied, and suppliers that refuse are terminated. Privately, however, some former executives concede that finding new suppliers is time-consuming and costly. Foxconn is one of the few manufacturers in the world with the scale to build sufficient numbers of iPhones and iPads. So Apple is “not going to leave Foxconn and they’re not going to leave China,” said Heather White, a research fellow at Harvard and a former member of the Monitoring International Labor Standards committee at the National Academy of Sciences. “There’s a lot of rationalization.”

Apple was provided with extensive summaries of this article, but the company declined to comment. The reporting is based on interviews with more than three dozen current or former employees and contractors, including a half-dozen current or former executives with firsthand knowledge of Apple’s supplier responsibility group, as well as others within the technology industry.

In 2010, Steven P. Jobs discussed the company’s relationships with suppliers at an industry conference.

“I actually think Apple does one of the best jobs of any companies in our industry, and maybe in any industry, of understanding the working conditions in our supply chain,” said Mr. Jobs, who was Apple’s chief executive at the time and who died last October.

“I mean, you go to this place, and, it’s a factory, but, my gosh, I mean, they’ve got restaurants and movie theaters and hospitals and swimming pools, and I mean, for a factory, it’s a pretty nice factory.”

Others, including workers inside such plants, acknowledge the cafeterias and medical facilities, but insist conditions are punishing.

“We’re trying really hard to make things better,” said one former Apple executive. “But most people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from.”

The Road to Chengdu

In the fall of 2010, about six months before the explosion in the iPad factory, Lai Xiaodong carefully wrapped his clothes around his college diploma, so it wouldn’t crease in his suitcase. He told friends he would no longer be around for their weekly poker games, and said goodbye to his teachers. He was leaving for Chengdu, a city of 12 million that was rapidly becoming one of the world’s most important manufacturing hubs.

Though painfully shy, Mr. Lai had surprised everyone by persuading a beautiful nursing student to become his girlfriend. She wanted to marry, she said, and so his goal was to earn enough money to buy an apartment.

Factories in Chengdu manufacture products for hundreds of companies. But Mr. Lai was focused on Foxconn Technology, China’s largest exporter and one of the nation’s biggest employers, with 1.2 million workers. The company has plants throughout China, and assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics, including for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Nintendo, Nokia and Samsung.

Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu, Mr. Lai knew, was special. Inside, workers were building Apple’s latest, potentially greatest product: the iPad.

When Mr. Lai finally landed a job repairing machines at the plant, one of the first things he noticed were the almost blinding lights. Shifts ran 24 hours a day, and the factory was always bright. At any moment, there were thousands of workers standing on assembly lines or sitting in backless chairs, crouching next to large machinery, or jogging between loading bays. Some workers’ legs swelled so much they waddled. “It’s hard to stand all day,” said Zhao Sheng, a plant worker.

Banners on the walls warned the 120,000 employees: “Work hard on the job today or work hard to find a job tomorrow.” Apple’s supplier code of conduct dictates that, except in unusual circumstances, employees are not supposed to work more than 60 hours a week. But at Foxconn, some worked more, according to interviews, workers’ pay stubs and surveys by outside groups. Mr. Lai was soon spending 12 hours a day, six days a week inside the factory, according to his paychecks. Employees who arrived late were sometimes required to write confession letters and copy quotations. There were “continuous shifts,” when workers were told to work two stretches in a row, according to interviews.

Mr. Lai’s college degree enabled him to earn a salary of around $22 a day, including overtime — more than many others. When his days ended, he would retreat to a small bedroom just big enough for a mattress, wardrobe and a desk where he obsessively played an online game called Fight the Landlord, said his girlfriend, Luo Xiaohong.

Those accommodations were better than many of the company’s dorms, where 70,000 Foxconn workers lived, at times stuffed 20 people to a three-room apartment, employees said. Last year, a dispute over paychecks set off a riot in one of the dormitories, and workers started throwing bottles, trash cans and flaming paper from their windows, according to witnesses. Two hundred police officers wrestled with workers, arresting eight. Afterward, trash cans were removed, and piles of rubbish — and rodents — became a problem. Mr. Lai felt lucky to have a place of his own.

Foxconn, in a statement, disputed workers’ accounts of continuous shifts, extended overtime, crowded living accommodations and the causes of the riot. The company said that its operations adhered to customers’ codes of conduct, industry standards and national laws. “Conditions at Foxconn are anything but harsh,” the company wrote. Foxconn also said that it had never been cited by a customer or government for under-age or overworked employees or toxic exposures.

“All assembly line employees are given regular breaks, including one-hour lunch breaks,” the company wrote, and only 5 percent of assembly line workers are required to stand to carry out their tasks. Work stations have been designed to ergonomic standards, and employees have opportunities for job rotation and promotion, the statement said.

“Foxconn has a very good safety record,” the company wrote. “Foxconn has come a long way in our efforts to lead our industry in China in areas such as workplace conditions and the care and treatment of our employees.”

Apple’s Code of Conduct

In 2005, some of Apple’s top executives gathered inside their Cupertino, Calif., headquarters for a special meeting. Other companies had created codes of conduct to police their suppliers. It was time, Apple decided, to follow suit. The code Apple published that year demands “that working conditions in Apple’s supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible.”

But the next year, a British newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, secretly visited a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China, where iPods were manufactured, and reported on workers’ long hours, push-ups meted out as punishment and crowded dorms. Executives in Cupertino were shocked. “Apple is filled with really good people who had no idea this was going on,” a former employee said. “We wanted it changed, immediately.”

Apple audited that factory, the company’s first such inspection, and ordered improvements. Executives also undertook a series of initiatives that included an annual audit report, first published in 2007. By last year, Apple had inspected 396 facilities — including the company’s direct suppliers, as well as many of those suppliers’ suppliers — one of the largest such programs within the electronics industry.

Those audits have found consistent violations of Apple’s code of conduct, according to summaries published by the company. In 2007, for instance, Apple conducted over three dozen audits, two-thirds of which indicated that employees regularly worked more than 60 hours a week. In addition, there were six “core violations,” the most serious kind, including hiring 15-year-olds as well as falsifying records.

Over the next three years, Apple conducted 312 audits, and every year, about half or more showed evidence of large numbers of employees laboring more than six days a week as well as working extended overtime. Some workers received less than minimum wage or had pay withheld as punishment. Apple found 70 core violations over that period, including cases of involuntary labor, under-age workers, record falsifications, improper disposal of hazardous waste and over a hundred workers injured by toxic chemical exposures.

Last year, the company conducted 229 audits. There were slight improvements in some categories and the detected rate of core violations declined. However, within 93 facilities, at least half of workers exceeded the 60-hours-a-week work limit. At a similar number, employees worked more than six days a week. There were incidents of discrimination, improper safety precautions, failure to pay required overtime rates and other violations. That year, four employees were killed and 77 injured in workplace explosions.

“If you see the same pattern of problems, year after year, that means the company’s ignoring the issue rather than solving it,” said one former Apple executive with firsthand knowledge of the supplier responsibility group. “Noncompliance is tolerated, as long as the suppliers promise to try harder next time. If we meant business, core violations would disappear.”

Apple says that when an audit reveals a violation, the company requires suppliers to address the problem within 90 days and make changes to prevent a recurrence. “If a supplier is unwilling to change, we terminate our relationship,” the company says on its Web site.

The seriousness of that threat, however, is unclear. Apple has found violations in hundreds of audits, but fewer than 15 suppliers have been terminated for transgressions since 2007, according to former Apple executives.

“Once the deal is set and Foxconn becomes an authorized Apple supplier, Apple will no longer give any attention to worker conditions or anything that is irrelevant to its products,” said Mr. Li, the former Foxconn manager. Mr. Li spent seven years with Foxconn in Shenzhen and Chengdu and was forced out in April after he objected to a relocation to Chengdu, he said. Foxconn disputed his comments, and said “both Foxconn and Apple take the welfare of our employees very seriously.”

Apple’s efforts have spurred some changes. Facilities that were reaudited “showed continued performance improvements and better working conditions,” the company wrote in its 2011 supplier responsibility progress report. In addition, the number of audited facilities has grown every year, and some executives say those expanding efforts obscure year-to-year improvements.

Apple also has trained over a million workers about their rights and methods for injury and disease prevention. A few years ago, after auditors insisted on interviewing low-level factory employees, they discovered that some had been forced to pay onerous “recruitment fees” — which Apple classifies as involuntary labor. As of last year, the company had forced suppliers to reimburse more than $6.7 million in such charges.

“Apple is a leader in preventing under-age labor,” said Dionne Harrison of Impactt, a firm paid by Apple to help prevent and respond to child labor among its suppliers. “They’re doing as much as they possibly can.”

Other consultants disagree.

“We’ve spent years telling Apple there are serious problems and recommending changes,” said a consultant at BSR — also known as Business for Social Responsibility — which has been twice retained by Apple to provide advice on labor issues. “They don’t want to pre-empt problems, they just want to avoid embarrassments.”

‘We Could Have Saved Lives’

In 2006, BSR, along with a division of the World Bank and other groups, initiated a project to improve working conditions in factories building cellphones and other devices in China and elsewhere. The groups and companies pledged to test various ideas. Foxconn agreed to participate.

For four months, BSR and another group negotiated with Foxconn regarding a pilot program to create worker “hotlines,” so that employees could report abusive conditions, seek mental counseling and discuss workplace problems. Apple was not a participant in the project, but was briefed on it, according to the BSR consultant, who had detailed knowledge.

As negotiations proceeded, Foxconn’s requirements for participation kept changing. First Foxconn asked to shift from installing new hotlines to evaluating existing hotlines. Then Foxconn insisted that mental health counseling be excluded. Foxconn asked participants to sign agreements saying they would not disclose what they observed, and then rewrote those agreements multiple times. Finally, an agreement was struck, and the project was scheduled to begin in January 2008. A day before the start, Foxconn demanded more changes, until it was clear the project would not proceed, according to the consultant and a 2008 summary by BSR that did not name Foxconn.

The next year, a Foxconn employee fell or jumped from an apartment building after losing an iPhone prototype. Over the next two years, at least 18 other Foxconn workers attempted suicide or fell from buildings in manners that suggested suicide attempts. In 2010, two years after the pilot program fell apart and after multiple suicide attempts, Foxconn created a dedicated mental health hotline and began offering free psychological counseling.

“We could have saved lives, and we asked Apple to pressure Foxconn, but they wouldn’t do it,” said the BSR consultant, who asked not to be identified because of confidentiality agreements. “Companies like H.P. and Intel and Nike push their suppliers. But Apple wants to keep an arm’s length, and Foxconn is their most important manufacturer, so they refuse to push.”

BSR, in a written statement, said the views of that consultant were not those of the company.

“My BSR colleagues and I view Apple as a company that is making a highly serious effort to ensure that labor conditions in its supply chain meet the expectations of applicable laws, the company’s standards and the expectations of consumers,” wrote Aron Cramer, BSR’s president. Mr. Cramer added that asking Apple to pressure Foxconn would have been inconsistent with the purpose of the pilot program, and there were multiple reasons the pilot program did not proceed.

Foxconn, in a statement, said it acted quickly and comprehensively to address suicides, and “the record has shown that those measures have been successful.”

A Demanding Client

Every month, officials at companies from around the world trek to Cupertino or invite Apple executives to visit their foreign factories, all in pursuit of a goal: becoming a supplier.

When news arrives that Apple is interested in a particular product or service, small celebrations often erupt. Whiskey is drunk. Karaoke is sung.

Then, Apple’s requests start.

Apple typically asks suppliers to specify how much every part costs, how many workers are needed and the size of their salaries. Executives want to know every financial detail. Afterward, Apple calculates how much it will pay for a part. Most suppliers are allowed only the slimmest of profits.

So suppliers often try to cut corners, replace expensive chemicals with less costly alternatives, or push their employees to work faster and longer, according to people at those companies.

“The only way you make money working for Apple is figuring out how to do things more efficiently or cheaper,” said an executive at one company that helped bring the iPad to market. “And then they’ll come back the next year, and force a 10 percent price cut.”

In January 2010, workers at a Chinese factory owned by Wintek, an Apple manufacturing partner, went on strike over a variety of issues, including widespread rumors that workers were being exposed to toxins. Investigations by news organizations revealed that over a hundred employees had been injured by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause nerve damage and paralysis.

Employees said they had been ordered to use n-hexane to clean iPhone screens because it evaporated almost three times as fast as rubbing alcohol. Faster evaporation meant workers could clean more screens each minute.

Apple commented on the Wintek injuries a year later. In its supplier responsibility report, Apple said it had “required Wintek to stop using n-hexane” and that “Apple has verified that all affected workers have been treated successfully, and we continue to monitor their medical reports until full recuperation.” Apple also said it required Wintek to fix the ventilation system.

That same month, a New York Times reporter interviewed a dozen injured Wintek workers who said they had never been contacted by Apple or its intermediaries, and that Wintek had pressured them to resign and take cash settlements that would absolve the company of liability. After those interviews, Wintek pledged to provide more compensation to the injured workers and Apple sent a representative to speak with some of them.

Six months later, trade publications reported that Apple significantly cut prices paid to Wintek.

“You can set all the rules you want, but they’re meaningless if you don’t give suppliers enough profit to treat workers well,” said one former Apple executive with firsthand knowledge of the supplier responsibility group. “If you squeeze margins, you’re forcing them to cut safety.”

Wintek is still one of Apple’s most important suppliers. Wintek, in a statement, declined to comment except to say that after the episode, the company took “ample measures” to address the situation and “is committed to ensuring employee welfare and creating a safe and healthy work environment.”

Many major technology companies have worked with factories where conditions are troubling. However, independent monitors and suppliers say some act differently. Executives at multiple suppliers, in interviews, said that Hewlett-Packard and others allowed them slightly more profits and other allowances if they were used to improve worker conditions.

“Our suppliers are very open with us,” said Zoe McMahon, an executive in Hewlett-Packard’s supply chain social and environmental responsibility program. “They let us know when they are struggling to meet our expectations, and that influences our decisions.”

The Explosion

On the afternoon of the blast at the iPad plant, Lai Xiaodong telephoned his girlfriend, as he did every day. They had hoped to see each other that evening, but Mr. Lai’s manager said he had to work overtime, he told her.

He had been promoted quickly at Foxconn, and after just a few months was in charge of a team that maintained the machines that polished iPad cases. The sanding area was loud and hazy with aluminum dust. Workers wore masks and earplugs, but no matter how many times they showered, they were recognizable by the slight aluminum sparkle in their hair and at the corners of their eyes.

Just two weeks before the explosion, an advocacy group in Hong Kong published a report warning of unsafe conditions at the Chengdu plant, including problems with aluminum dust. The group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, or Sacom, had videotaped workers covered with tiny aluminum particles. “Occupational health and safety issues in Chengdu are alarming,” the report read. “Workers also highlight the problem of poor ventilation and inadequate personal protective equipment.”

A copy of that report was sent to Apple. “There was no response,” said Debby Chan Sze Wan of the group. “A few months later I went to Cupertino, and went into the Apple lobby, but no one would meet with me. I’ve never heard from anyone from Apple at all.”

The morning of the explosion, Mr. Lai rode his bicycle to work. The iPad had gone on sale just weeks earlier, and workers were told thousands of cases needed to be polished each day. The factory was frantic, employees said. Rows of machines buffed cases as masked employees pushed buttons. Large air ducts hovered over each station, but they could not keep up with the three lines of machines polishing nonstop. Aluminum dust was everywhere.

Dust is a known safety hazard. In 2003, an aluminum dust explosion in Indiana destroyed a wheel factory and killed a worker. In 2008, agricultural dust inside a sugar factory in Georgia caused an explosion that killed 14.

Two hours into Mr. Lai’s second shift, the building started to shake, as if an earthquake was under way. There was a series of blasts, plant workers said.

Then the screams began.

When Mr. Lai’s colleagues ran outside, dark smoke was mixing with a light rain, according to cellphone videos. The toll would eventually count four dead, 18 injured.

At the hospital, Mr. Lai’s girlfriend saw that his skin was almost completely burned away. “I recognized him from his legs, otherwise I wouldn’t know who that person was,” she said.

Eventually, his family arrived. Over 90 percent of his body had been seared. “My mom ran away from the room at the first sight of him. I cried. Nobody could stand it,” his brother said. When his mother eventually returned, she tried to avoid touching her son, for fear that it would cause pain.

“If I had known,” she said, “I would have grabbed his arm, I would have touched him.”

“He was very tough,” she said. “He held on for two days.”

After Mr. Lai died, Foxconn workers drove to Mr. Lai’s hometown and delivered a box of ashes. The company later wired a check for about $150,000.

Foxconn, in a statement, said that at the time of the explosion the Chengdu plant was in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, and “after ensuring that the families of the deceased employees were given the support they required, we ensured that all of the injured employees were given the highest quality medical care.” After the explosion, the company added, Foxconn immediately halted work in all polishing workshops, and later improved ventilation and dust disposal, and adopted technologies to enhance worker safety.

In its most recent supplier responsibility report, Apple wrote that after the explosion, the company contacted “the foremost experts in process safety” and assembled a team to investigate and make recommendations to prevent future accidents.

In December, however, seven months after the blast that killed Mr. Lai, another iPad factory exploded, this one in Shanghai. Once again, aluminum dust was the cause, according to interviews and Apple’s most recent supplier responsibility report. That blast injured 59 workers, with 23 hospitalized.

“It is gross negligence, after an explosion occurs, not to realize that every factory should be inspected,” said Nicholas Ashford, the occupational safety expert, who is now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “If it were terribly difficult to deal with aluminum dust, I would understand. But do you know how easy dust is to control? It’s called ventilation. We solved this problem over a century ago.”

In its most recent supplier responsibility report, Apple wrote that while the explosions both involved combustible aluminum dust, the causes were different. The company declined, however, to provide details. The report added that Apple had now audited all suppliers polishing aluminum products and had put stronger precautions in place. All suppliers have initiated required countermeasures, except one, which remains shut down, the report said.

For Mr. Lai’s family, questions remain. “We’re really not sure why he died,” said Mr. Lai’s mother, standing beside a shrine she built near their home. “We don’t understand what happened.”

Hitting the Apple Lottery

Every year, as rumors about Apple’s forthcoming products start to emerge, trade publications and Web sites begin speculating about which suppliers are likely to win the Apple lottery. Getting a contract from Apple can lift a company’s value by millions because of the implied endorsement of manufacturing quality. But few companies openly brag about the work: Apple generally requires suppliers to sign contracts promising they will not divulge anything, including the partnership.

That lack of transparency gives Apple an edge at keeping its plans secret. But it also has been a barrier to improving working conditions, according to advocates and former Apple executives.

This month, after numerous requests by advocacy and news organizations, including The New York Times, Apple released the names of 156 of its suppliers. In the report accompanying that list, Apple said they “account for more than 97 percent of what we pay to suppliers to manufacture our products.”

However, the company has not revealed the names of hundreds of other companies that do not directly contract with Apple, but supply the suppliers. The company’s supplier list does not disclose where factories are, and many are hard to find. And independent monitoring organizations say when they have tried to inspect Apple’s suppliers, they have been barred from entry — on Apple’s orders, they have been told.

“We’ve had this conversation hundreds of times,” said a former executive in Apple’s supplier responsibility group. “There is a genuine, companywide commitment to the code of conduct. But taking it to the next level and creating real change conflicts with secrecy and business goals, and so there’s only so far we can go.” Former Apple employees say they were generally prohibited from engaging with most outside groups.

“There’s a real culture of secrecy here that influences everything,” the former executive said.

Some other technology companies operate differently.

“We talk to a lot of outsiders,” said Gary Niekerk, director of corporate citizenship at Intel. “The world’s complex, and unless we’re dialoguing with outside groups, we miss a lot.”

Given Apple’s prominence and leadership in global manufacturing, if the company were to radically change its ways, it could overhaul how business is done. “Every company wants to be Apple,” said Sasha Lezhnev at the Enough Project, a group focused on corporate accountability. “If they committed to building a conflict-free iPhone, it would transform technology.”

But ultimately, say former Apple executives, there are few real outside pressures for change. Apple is one of the most admired brands. In a national survey conducted by The New York Times in November, 56 percent of respondents said they couldn’t think of anything negative about Apple. Fourteen percent said the worst thing about the company was that its products were too expensive. Just 2 percent mentioned overseas labor practices.

People like Ms. White of Harvard say that until consumers demand better conditions in overseas factories — as they did for companies like Nike and Gap, which today have overhauled conditions among suppliers — or regulators act, there is little impetus for radical change. Some Apple insiders agree.

“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.

“And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”

 

Gu Huini contributed research.

 
THE iECONOMY

How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

Donald Chan/Reuters

People flooded Foxconn Technology with résumés at a 2010 job fair in Henan Province, China.

When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.

The iEconomy

An Empire Built Abroad

Articles in this series are examining challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries.

Read the second article >>
 
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Thomas Lee/Bloomberg News

A production line in Foxconn City in Shenzhen, China. The iPhone is assembled in this vast facility, which has 230,000 employees, many at the plant up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Thomas Lee for The New York Times

In China, Lina Lin is a project manager at PCH International, which contracts with Apple. “There are lots of jobs,” she said. “Especially in Shenzhen.”

Readers’ Comments

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But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke,President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.

Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.

The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

Apple has become one of the best-known, most admired and most imitated companies on earth, in part through an unrelenting mastery of global operations. Last year, it earned over $400,000 in profit per employee, more than Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil or Google.

However, what has vexed Mr. Obama as well as economists and policy makers is that Apple — and many of its high-technology peers — are not nearly as avid in creating American jobs as other famous companies were in their heydays.

Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas, a small fraction of the over 400,000 American workers at General Motors in the 1950s, or the hundreds of thousands at General Electric in the 1980s. Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares.

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.

“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”

Similar stories could be told about almost any electronics company — and outsourcing has also become common in hundreds of industries, including accounting, legal services, banking, auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

But while Apple is far from alone, it offers a window into why the success of some prominent companies has not translated into large numbers of domestic jobs. What’s more, the company’s decisions pose broader questions about what corporate America owes Americans as the global and national economies are increasingly intertwined.

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”

Companies and other economists say that notion is naïve. Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need, executives say.

To thrive, companies argue they need to move work where it can generate enough profits to keep paying for innovation. Doing otherwise risks losing even more American jobs over time, as evidenced by the legions of once-proud domestic manufacturers — including G.M. and others — that have shrunk as nimble competitors have emerged.

Apple was provided with extensive summaries of The New York Times’s reporting for this article, but the company, which has a reputation for secrecy, declined to comment.

This article is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former Apple employees and contractors — many of whom requested anonymity to protect their jobs — as well as economists, manufacturing experts, international trade specialists, technology analysts, academic researchers, employees at Apple’s suppliers, competitors and corporate partners, and government officials.

Privately, Apple executives say the world is now such a changed place that it is a mistake to measure a company’s contribution simply by tallying its employees — though they note that Apple employs more workers in the United States than ever before.

They say Apple’s success has benefited the economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products. And, ultimately, they say curing unemployment is not their job.

“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”

‘I Want a Glass Screen’

In 2007, a little over a month before the iPhone was scheduled to appear in stores, Mr. Jobs beckoned a handful of lieutenants into an office. For weeks, he had been carrying a prototype of the device in his pocket.

Mr. Jobs angrily held up his iPhone, angling it so everyone could see the dozens of tiny scratches marring its plastic screen, according to someone who attended the meeting. He then pulled his keys from his jeans.

People will carry this phone in their pocket, he said. People also carry their keys in their pocket. “I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”

After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen, China. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.

For over two years, the company had been working on a project — code-named Purple 2 — that presented the same questions at every turn: how do you completely reimagine the cellphone? And how do you design it at the highest quality — with an unscratchable screen, for instance — while also ensuring that millions can be manufactured quickly and inexpensively enough to earn a significant profit?

The answers, almost every time, were found outside the United States. Though components differ between versions, all iPhones contain hundreds of parts, an estimated 90 percent of which are manufactured abroad. Advanced semiconductors have come from Germany and Taiwan, memory from Korea and Japan, display panels and circuitry from Korea and Taiwan, chipsets from Europe and rare metals from Africa and Asia. And all of it is put together in China.

In its early days, Apple usually didn’t look beyond its own backyard for manufacturing solutions. A few years after Apple began building the Macintosh in 1983, for instance, Mr. Jobs bragged that it was “a machine that is made in America.” In 1990, while Mr. Jobs was running NeXT, which was eventually bought by Apple, the executive told a reporter that “I’m as proud of the factory as I am of the computer.” As late as 2002, top Apple executives occasionally drove two hours northeast of their headquarters to visit the company’s iMac plant in Elk Grove, Calif.

But by 2004, Apple had largely turned to foreign manufacturing. Guiding that decision was Apple’s operations expert, Timothy D. Cook, who replaced Mr. Jobs as chief executive last August, six weeks before Mr. Jobs’s death. Most other American electronics companies had already gone abroad, and Apple, which at the time was struggling, felt it had to grasp every advantage.

In part, Asia was attractive because the semiskilled workers there were cheaper. But that wasn’t driving Apple. For technology companies, the cost of labor is minimal compared with the expense of buying parts and managing supply chains that bring together components and services from hundreds of companies.

For Mr. Cook, the focus on Asia “came down to two things,” said one former high-ranking Apple executive. Factories in Asia “can scale up and down faster” and “Asian supply chains have surpassed what’s in the U.S.” The result is that “we can’t compete at this point,” the executive said.

The impact of such advantages became obvious as soon as Mr. Jobs demanded glass screens in 2007.

For years, cellphone makers had avoided using glass because it required precision in cutting and grinding that was extremely difficult to achieve. Apple had already selected an American company, Corning Inc., to manufacture large panes of strengthened glass. But figuring out how to cut those panes into millions of iPhone screens required finding an empty cutting plant, hundreds of pieces of glass to use in experiments and an army of midlevel engineers. It would cost a fortune simply to prepare.

Then a bid for the work arrived from a Chinese factory.

When an Apple team visited, the Chinese plant’s owners were already constructing a new wing. “This is in case you give us the contract,” the manager said, according to a former Apple executive. The Chinese government had agreed to underwrite costs for numerous industries, and those subsidies had trickled down to the glass-cutting factory. It had a warehouse filled with glass samples available to Apple, free of charge. The owners made engineers available at almost no cost. They had built on-site dormitories so employees would be available 24 hours a day.

The Chinese plant got the job.

“The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”

In Foxconn City

An eight-hour drive from that glass factory is a complex, known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.

That’s because nothing like Foxconn City exists in the United States.

The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day. When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. “The scale is unimaginable,” he said.

Foxconn employs nearly 300 guards to direct foot traffic so workers are not crushed in doorway bottlenecks. The facility’s central kitchen cooks an average of three tons of pork and 13 tons of rice a day. While factories are spotless, the air inside nearby teahouses is hazy with the smoke and stench of cigarettes.

Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.

“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

In mid-2007, after a month of experimentation, Apple’s engineers finally perfected a method for cutting strengthened glass so it could be used in the iPhone’s screen. The first truckloads of cut glass arrived at Foxconn City in the dead of night, according to the former Apple executive. That’s when managers woke thousands of workers, who crawled into their uniforms — white and black shirts for men, red for women — and quickly lined up to assemble, by hand, the phones. Within three months, Apple had sold one million iPhones. Since then, Foxconn has assembled over 200 million more.

Foxconn, in statements, declined to speak about specific clients.

“Any worker recruited by our firm is covered by a clear contract outlining terms and conditions and by Chinese government law that protects their rights,” the company wrote. Foxconn “takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our more than one million employees a safe and positive environment.”

The company disputed some details of the former Apple executive’s account, and wrote that a midnight shift, such as the one described, was impossible “because we have strict regulations regarding the working hours of our employees based on their designated shifts, and every employee has computerized timecards that would bar them from working at any facility at a time outside of their approved shift.” The company said that all shifts began at either 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., and that employees receive at least 12 hours’ notice of any schedule changes.

Foxconn employees, in interviews, have challenged those assertions.

Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

In China, it took 15 days.

Companies like Apple “say the challenge in setting up U.S. plants is finding a technical work force,” said Martin Schmidt, associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In particular, companies say they need engineers with more than high school, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Americans at that skill level are hard to find, executives contend. “They’re good jobs, but the country doesn’t have enough to feed the demand,” Mr. Schmidt said.

Some aspects of the iPhone are uniquely American. The device’s software, for instance, and its innovative marketing campaigns were largely created in the United States. Apple recently built a $500 million data center in North Carolina. Crucial semiconductors inside the iPhone 4 and 4S are manufactured in an Austin, Tex., factory by Samsung, of South Korea.

But even those facilities are not enormous sources of jobs. Apple’s North Carolina center, for instance, has only 100 full-time employees. The Samsung plant has an estimated 2,400 workers.

“If you scale up from selling one million phones to 30 million phones, you don’t really need more programmers,” said Jean-Louis Gassée, who oversaw product development and marketing for Apple until he left in 1990. “All these new companies — Facebook, Google, Twitter — benefit from this. They grow, but they don’t really need to hire much.”

It is hard to estimate how much more it would cost to build iPhones in the United States. However, various academics and manufacturing analysts estimate that because labor is such a small part of technology manufacturing, paying American wages would add up to $65 to each iPhone’s expense. Since Apple’s profits are often hundreds of dollars per phone, building domestically, in theory, would still give the company a healthy reward.

But such calculations are, in many respects, meaningless because building the iPhone in the United States would demand much more than hiring Americans — it would require transforming the national and global economies. Apple executives believe there simply aren’t enough American workers with the skills the company needs or factories with sufficient speed and flexibility. Other companies that work with Apple, like Corning, also say they must go abroad.

Manufacturing glass for the iPhone revived a Corning factory in Kentucky, and today, much of the glass in iPhones is still made there. After the iPhone became a success, Corning received a flood of orders from other companies hoping to imitate Apple’s designs. Its strengthened glass sales have grown to more than $700 million a year, and it has hired or continued employing about 1,000 Americans to support the emerging market.

But as that market has expanded, the bulk of Corning’s strengthened glass manufacturing has occurred at plants in Japan and Taiwan.

“Our customers are in Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China,” said James B. Flaws, Corning’s vice chairman and chief financial officer. “We could make the glass here, and then ship it by boat, but that takes 35 days. Or, we could ship it by air, but that’s 10 times as expensive. So we build our glass factories next door to assembly factories, and those are overseas.”

Corning was founded in America 161 years ago and its headquarters are still in upstate New York. Theoretically, the company could manufacture all its glass domestically. But it would “require a total overhaul in how the industry is structured,” Mr. Flaws said. “The consumer electronics business has become an Asian business. As an American, I worry about that, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Asia has become what the U.S. was for the last 40 years.”

Middle-Class Jobs Fade

The first time Eric Saragoza stepped into Apple’s manufacturing plant in Elk Grove, Calif., he felt as if he were entering an engineering wonderland.

It was 1995, and the facility near Sacramento employed more than 1,500 workers. It was a kaleidoscope of robotic arms, conveyor belts ferrying circuit boards and, eventually, candy-colored iMacs in various stages of assembly. Mr. Saragoza, an engineer, quickly moved up the plant’s ranks and joined an elite diagnostic team. His salary climbed to $50,000. He and his wife had three children. They bought a home with a pool.

“It felt like, finally, school was paying off,” he said. “I knew the world needed people who can build things.”

At the same time, however, the electronics industry was changing, and Apple — with products that were declining in popularity — was struggling to remake itself. One focus was improving manufacturing. A few years after Mr. Saragoza started his job, his bosses explained how the California plant stacked up against overseas factories: the cost, excluding the materials, of building a $1,500 computer in Elk Grove was $22 a machine. In Singapore, it was $6. In Taiwan, $4.85. Wages weren’t the major reason for the disparities. Rather it was costs like inventory and how long it took workers to finish a task.

“We were told we would have to do 12-hour days, and come in on Saturdays,” Mr. Saragoza said. “I had a family. I wanted to see my kids play soccer.”

Modernization has always caused some kinds of jobs to change or disappear. As the American economy transitioned from agriculture to manufacturing and then to other industries, farmers became steelworkers, and then salesmen and middle managers. These shifts have carried many economic benefits, and in general, with each progression, even unskilled workers received better wages and greater chances at upward mobility.

But in the last two decades, something more fundamental has changed, economists say. Midwage jobs started disappearing. Particularly among Americans without college degrees, today’s new jobs are disproportionately in service occupations — at restaurants or call centers, or as hospital attendants or temporary workers — that offer fewer opportunities for reaching the middle class.

Even Mr. Saragoza, with his college degree, was vulnerable to these trends. First, some of Elk Grove’s routine tasks were sent overseas. Mr. Saragoza didn’t mind. Then the robotics that made Apple a futuristic playground allowed executives to replace workers with machines. Some diagnostic engineering went to Singapore. Middle managers who oversaw the plant’s inventory were laid off because, suddenly, a few people with Internet connections were all that were needed.

Mr. Saragoza was too expensive for an unskilled position. He was also insufficiently credentialed for upper management. He was called into a small office in 2002 after a night shift, laid off and then escorted from the plant. He taught high school for a while, and then tried a return to technology. But Apple, which had helped anoint the region as “Silicon Valley North,” had by then converted much of the Elk Grove plant into an AppleCare call center, where new employees often earn $12 an hour.

There were employment prospects in Silicon Valley, but none of them panned out. “What they really want are 30-year-olds without children,” said Mr. Saragoza, who today is 48, and whose family now includes five of his own.

After a few months of looking for work, he started feeling desperate. Even teaching jobs had dried up. So he took a position with an electronics temp agency that had been hired by Apple to check returned iPhones and iPads before they were sent back to customers. Every day, Mr. Saragoza would drive to the building where he had once worked as an engineer, and for $10 an hour with no benefits, wipe thousands of glass screens and test audio ports by plugging in headphones.

Paydays for Apple

As Apple’s overseas operations and sales have expanded, its top employees have thrived. Last fiscal year, Apple’s revenue topped $108 billion, a sum larger than the combined state budgets of Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Since 2005, when the company’s stock split, share prices have risen from about $45 to more than $427.

Some of that wealth has gone to shareholders. Apple is among the most widely held stocks, and the rising share price has benefited millions of individual investors, 401(k)’sand pension plans. The bounty has also enriched Apple workers. Last fiscal year, in addition to their salaries, Apple’s employees and directors received stock worth $2 billion and exercised or vested stock and options worth an added $1.4 billion.

The biggest rewards, however, have often gone to Apple’s top employees. Mr. Cook, Apple’s chief, last year received stock grants — which vest over a 10-year period — that, at today’s share price, would be worth $427 million, and his salary was raised to $1.4 million. In 2010, Mr. Cook’s compensation package was valued at $59 million, according to Apple’s security filings.

A person close to Apple argued that the compensation received by Apple’s employees was fair, in part because the company had brought so much value to the nation and world. As the company has grown, it has expanded its domestic work force, including manufacturing jobs. Last year, Apple’s American work force grew by 8,000 people.

While other companies have sent call centers abroad, Apple has kept its centers in the United States. One source estimated that sales of Apple’s products have caused other companies to hire tens of thousands of Americans. FedEx and United Parcel Service, for instance, both say they have created American jobs because of the volume of Apple’s shipments, though neither would provide specific figures without permission from Apple, which the company declined to provide.

“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers,” a current Apple executive said. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”

What’s more, Apple sources say the company has created plenty of good American jobs inside its retail stores and among entrepreneurs selling iPhone and iPad applications.

After two months of testing iPads, Mr. Saragoza quit. The pay was so low that he was better off, he figured, spending those hours applying for other jobs. On a recent October evening, while Mr. Saragoza sat at his MacBook and submitted another round of résumés online, halfway around the world a woman arrived at her office. The worker, Lina Lin, is a project manager in Shenzhen, China, at PCH International, which contracts with Apple and other electronics companies to coordinate production of accessories, like the cases that protect the iPad’s glass screens. She is not an Apple employee. But Mrs. Lin is integral to Apple’s ability to deliver its products.

Mrs. Lin earns a bit less than what Mr. Saragoza was paid by Apple. She speaks fluent English, learned from watching television and in a Chinese university. She and her husband put a quarter of their salaries in the bank every month. They live in a 1,080-square-foot apartment, which they share with their in-laws and son.

“There are lots of jobs,” Mrs. Lin said. “Especially in Shenzhen.”

Innovation’s Losers

Toward the end of Mr. Obama’s dinner last year with Mr. Jobs and other Silicon Valley executives, as everyone stood to leave, a crowd of photo seekers formed around the president. A slightly smaller scrum gathered around Mr. Jobs. Rumors had spread that his illness had worsened, and some hoped for a photograph with him, perhaps for the last time.

Eventually, the orbits of the men overlapped. “I’m not worried about the country’s long-term future,” Mr. Jobs told Mr. Obama, according to one observer. “This country is insanely great. What I’m worried about is that we don’t talk enough about solutions.”

At dinner, for instance, the executives had suggested that the government should reform visa programs to help companies hire foreign engineers. Some had urged the president to give companies a “tax holiday” so they could bring back overseas profits which, they argued, would be used to create work. Mr. Jobs even suggested it might be possible, someday, to locate some of Apple’s skilled manufacturing in the United States if the government helped train more American engineers.

Economists debate the usefulness of those and other efforts, and note that a struggling economy is sometimes transformed by unexpected developments. The last time analysts wrung their hands about prolonged American unemployment, for instance, in the early 1980s, the Internet hardly existed. Few at the time would have guessed that a degree in graphic design was rapidly becoming a smart bet, while studying telephone repair a dead end.

What remains unknown, however, is whether the United States will be able to leverage tomorrow’s innovations into millions of jobs.

In the last decade, technological leaps in solar and wind energy, semiconductor fabrication and display technologies have created thousands of jobs. But while many of those industries started in America, much of the employment has occurred abroad. Companies have closed major facilities in the United States to reopen in China. By way of explanation, executives say they are competing with Apple for shareholders. If they cannot rival Apple’s growth and profit margins, they won’t survive.

“New middle-class jobs will eventually emerge,” said Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist. “But will someone in his 40s have the skills for them? Or will he be bypassed for a new graduate and never find his way back into the middle class?”

The pace of innovation, say executives from a variety of industries, has been quickened by businessmen like Mr. Jobs. G.M. went as long as half a decade between major automobile redesigns. Apple, by comparison, has released five iPhones in four years, doubling the devices’ speed and memory while dropping the price that some consumers pay.

Before Mr. Obama and Mr. Jobs said goodbye, the Apple executive pulled an iPhone from his pocket to show off a new application — a driving game — with incredibly detailed graphics. The device reflected the soft glow of the room’s lights. The other executives, whose combined worth exceeded $69 billion, jostled for position to glance over his shoulder. The game, everyone agreed, was wonderful.

There wasn’t even a tiny scratch on the screen.

 

David Barboza, Peter Lattman and Catherine Rampell contributed reporting.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 24, 2012

 

An article on Sunday about the reasons iPhones are largely produced overseas omitted a passage immediately after the second continuation, from Page A22 to Page A23, in one edition. The full passage should have read: “Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.”

 

 

紐約時報:蘋果生產線向海外轉移 美國製造一去不返

鉅亨網新聞中心 (來源:北美新浪) 2012-01-28  13:30 

導語:《紐約時報》網絡版發表評論文章稱,蘋果等美國科技企業正在將工作機會轉移至海外,引起美國政府和經濟學家的不滿。然而,海外企業除勞動力成本低廉外,還具有工作時間靈活、工人技術水平高等優勢,“美國製造”將一去不復返。

以下為文章全文:

去年2月,美國總統奧巴馬在硅谷舉行宴會,邀請眾多科技界大佬共商國是。每位客人都需要準備一個問題,供總統解答。

然而,當蘋果創始人史蒂夫﹒賈伯斯(Steve Jobs)發言時,奧巴馬總統卻打斷了他,反問道:要付出何種代價,才能在美國生產iPhone?

就在不久前,蘋果還在誇耀其產品“產自美國”。如今,乾坤逆轉。蘋果去年售出7000萬部iPhone,3000萬台iPad,以及5900萬台其他產品──其中絕大多數都是在美國之外的地方生產的。

奧巴馬問道,為什么不能在“家”完成這些工作呢?

賈伯斯的答復非常明確。據一名與會者透露,他的原話是:“這些工作機會是回不來的。”

奧巴馬的問題触及了蘋果的一個核心理念。將生產線轉移至其他國家,不僅僅是由於那裡的勞動力成本更低﹔蘋果管理層認為,海外工廠規模龐大,工人更加靈活、勤勉,工作技能也更加出色,這些優點遠遠超過了美國本土的工廠和工人,以至於蘋果的大多數產品已經不再适宜“產自美國”。

蘋果業已成為世界上最著名、最受人尊敬的企業之一,其發展模式被廣為效仿。蘋果的成功,部分源於精益求精的全球化運營。去年,蘋果的每名雇員創造了超過40萬美元的利潤,這一數字超過了高盛、埃克森美孚和谷歌。

然而,讓奧巴馬總統以及經濟學家和決策層感到不滿的是,蘋果──以及其他許多科技公司──對於“為美國創造工作機會”這件事的熱情,遠不如其他那些亦曾站在浪潮之巔的著名企業。

目前,蘋果在美國擁有43000名雇員,在海外則有20000人﹔相比之下,1950年代的通用汽車曾擁有超過40萬名美國雇員,而1980年代的通用電氣也曾雇傭成千上萬美國公民。蘋果供應商體系規模龐大,有70萬人負責設計、製造和組裝iPad、iPhone及其他蘋果產品﹔然而,他們几乎全都在其他國家工作。他們為亞洲、歐洲及其他地方的外國公司打工,在代工廠里工作──几乎所有電子產品設計廠商都需要依賴這些工廠進行生產。

前白宮經濟顧問杰瑞德﹒伯恩斯坦(Jared Bernstein)說:“蘋果的案例解釋了為什么如今很難在美國創造能夠培育中產階級的工作機會。”

“如果這就是資本主義的極致體現,那么我們應當感到憂慮。”他說。

蘋果管理層則表示,此時向海外遷移,實屬不得已而為之。一位前高管講述了這樣一個故事:有一次,距離iPhone上市僅有數周時間,蘋果卻需要修改設計方案,而他們的全部希望都寄托在中國的一家工廠身上。蘋果重新設計了iPhone的顯示屏,組裝生產線不得不大幅調整。臨近午夜,新的顯示屏運到了工廠。

一個工頭立即從工廠宿舍里叫醒了8000名工人,並給每個人發放一袋餅干和一盃茶水。所有人在半小時內走上工位,開始安裝這些玻璃顯示屏,每個班次長達12小時。在96小時內,這家工廠每天生產超過10000部iPhone。

“他們的速度和靈活性令人惊嘆。”這名前高管說,“美國沒有任何一家工廠能夠與之媲美。”几乎所有電子產品廠商都能夠講述類似的故事。外包模式已經席捲各行各業,包括會計、法務、金融、汽車製造和制藥領域。

儘管蘋果並未“特立獨行”,但是我們能夠從這家公司管窺為何某些優秀企業取得的成功,並未轉化為大量的國內工作機會。更重要的是,蘋果向海外遷移的決策向我們提出了一個更加寬泛的問題:隨著全球經濟和國內經濟的日益交融,美國企業虧欠美國人民哪些東西?

前美國勞工部首席經濟學家貝奇﹒史蒂文森(Betsey Stevenson)說:“企業曾經認為自己有義務扶助美國工人──即使從財務角度考慮,這並非最佳方案,他們仍會做出這樣的抉擇。然而,這種情況已經不復存在。利潤和效率壓倒了慷慨和慈善。”

企業和其他經濟學家認為,史蒂文森的想法太過天真。公司高管們表示,儘管美國人是全世界受教育程度最高的群體之一,政府卻已不在大量培訓具備中等技能水平的人才,難以滿足工廠的需要。

企業還表示,為了繁榮發展,他們需要向能夠帶來足夠利潤的國家轉移,以確保企業擁有充足的資金支持創新。否則美國將面臨失去更多就業崗位的風險,這早已被一些著名國內製造商所證明──如通用汽車和其他公司──由於對市場反應敏捷的新競爭對手的出現,這些製造商的規模明顯縮減。

蘋果已閱讀過這篇報導的摘要,但一向以神祕著稱的蘋果並未對此發表評論。

這篇文章基於對30多名蘋果前員工、當前員工、代工廠商──許多要求匿名以確保不被蘋果開除──及經濟學家、製造業專家、國際貿易專家、科技分析師、學術研究者、蘋果供應商員工、競爭對手、企業合作伙伴和政府官員的采訪。

蘋果高管曾私下表示,世界變化如此之快,僅通過員工數量衡量企業的貢獻是不充分的──儘管蘋果在美國雇傭的員工數量多於以往。此外,蘋果的成功為企業家提供了方便,為移動運營商和運輸蘋果產品的企業創造了就業機會,從而推動了經濟發展。

一位蘋果高管稱:“我們在全球100多個國家銷售iPhone,我們沒有義務來解決美國面臨的各種問題,我們唯一的義務就是儘可能地生產出最高質量的產品。”

我需要一款玻璃屏幕

2007年,在iPhone上市前的1個多月,賈伯斯召集公司几名高管到辦公室開會。几個星期以來,賈伯斯的口袋裡一直揣著一部iPhone原型機。

據出席會議的高管稱,賈伯斯憤怒的舉起iPhone,讓在場的每個人都能看到塑料屏幕上的十几道細細的刮痕。然後,他又從牛仔褲兜里取出了一串鑰匙。

他說:“人們會把手機放在口袋裡,也會把鑰匙放在口袋裡,我不想銷售一款輕易被划傷的產品。唯一的解決方案是使用不怕刮划的玻璃屏幕。我需要一款玻璃屏幕,並希望在6周內拿出完美的解決方案。”

會議結束後,一名高管立即定機票飛往深圳,要得到一款完美的產品,除了中國,別無他處。

在兩年多的時間里,蘋果的一個項目──代號為Purple 2──也經常會出現同樣的問題:如何重新定義手機?如何設計出最高質量的產品──如使用抗刮划屏幕──同時又確保可迅速量產數百萬部,價格要充分合理以確保足夠利潤。

几乎每一次,最終的答案都在美國以外。儘管各版本iPhone使用的零部件有所不同,但所有型號iPhone都包含上百個零部件,其中約90%在美國以外生產。先進的半導體來自德國和中國台灣,內存來自韓國和日本,顯示面板和電路板來自韓國和中國台灣,芯片組來自歐洲,稀有金屬來自非洲和亞洲,所有這些零部件最終都在中國組裝。創立初期,蘋果並未考慮在公司外部尋去製造解決方案。例如,蘋果1983年開始生產Macintosh計算機,賈伯斯在隨後的几年中曾誇耀“這是一台產自美國的計算機。”1990年,賈伯斯創建了NeXT公司,後來被蘋果收購。賈伯斯向記者表示“我為工廠而引以為豪,如同我為計算機而自豪。”2002年末,蘋果高管偶爾還驅車兩個小時,訪問位於總部東部的埃爾克格羅夫(Elk Grove)iMac工廠。

2004年,蘋果開始大規模轉向國外製造。做出該決定的是蘋果運營專家蒂姆﹒庫克(Tim Cook),庫克去年8月取代賈伯斯出任公司CEO,即賈伯斯逝世前的6周。大部分美國電子公司已經走向海外,而正處在艱難期的蘋果,已經意識到必須抓住每一個機會。

亞洲市場具有吸引力的部分原因是半熟練工人的薪水較低,但這並不是蘋果選擇亞洲的主要原因。對於科技公司而言,與購買零部件和管理供應鏈成本相比,勞動力成本顯得微不足道。

一位蘋果前高管稱,庫克選擇亞洲市場基於兩點考慮。首先,亞洲工廠可以迅速根據需求調整規模,其次是亞洲供應鏈優于美國。這位高管稱:“結果就是我們在這方面無法匹敵亞洲。”這些優勢在2007年賈伯斯需要玻璃屏幕時顯露無遺。

多年來手機廠商避開使用玻璃屏幕,主要是因為切割和打磨工藝要求苛刻,很難達到預期效果。蘋果已經選定美國公司康寧(Corning)生產大尺寸強化玻璃面板,但將這些面板切割成數百萬塊iPhone屏幕就需要尋找一家大型切割工廠,需要用大量的玻璃進行測試,還需要大量的中級水平工程師,僅僅準備這些就需要大量成本。

中國工廠拿到了合同

當蘋果的考察團抵達時,中國工廠的老板已經開始建設新的廠房。 “萬一妳們跟我們簽合同呢?”該工廠的經理如是說。

此外,中國政府決定扶持大量企業,因此切割工廠可享受政府的補貼。車間內擺滿了可兼容蘋果產品的大量免費玻璃樣品。工廠老板几乎可以使工程師隨時待命,且不需要支付任何額外費用。他們在車間旁邊建設職工宿舍,以保證24小時都有工人上班。

一位蘋果前高管說,現在整個產業鏈就在中國。如果妳需要一千個橡膠密封圈,在隔壁的工廠就能買到。如果妳需要一百萬個螺絲,過一條街就能買到。如果妳需要特制螺絲的話,衹需要三小時就能實現。

“富士康城”

從那家玻璃工廠驅車大約八個小時,就來到了所謂的“富士康城”,大量的iPhone就在這裡組裝。對蘋果管理層而言,“富士康城”是中國工人比美國工人優秀勤奮的有力證明,因為在美國根本就不存在類似“富士康城”的地方。

這裡有23萬名工人,其中很多人每周工作六天,而且通常在車間里一呆就是12個小時。四分之一的富士康工人生活在工廠的廠區內,很多人每天的收入低於17美元。當蘋果的一位管理者在換班期間進入富士康廠區時,他的車被人流堵在了馬路中間。對此他衹能說,這樣的場面令人難以想像。

富士康雇傭了近300名保安維持秩序,以免人流高峰期出現踩踏。工廠的中心食堂平均每天消耗3吨豬肉和13吨大米。工廠里一塵不染,但是附近的茶室彌漫著嗆人的煙霧。

富士康在亞洲、東歐、墨西哥和巴西均設有分廠,組裝全球大約40%的消費電子產品,客戶包括亞馬遜、戴爾、惠普、摩托羅拉、任天堂、諾基亞、三星和索尼。

2010年前擔任蘋果全球供應總經理的珍妮弗﹒瑞格尼(Jennifer Rigoni)說,富士康能夠在一夜之間招聘到3000人,但在美國,沒有哪家工廠能在一夜間招聘到這么多人,並說服他們去住職工宿舍。

2007年年中,蘋果工程師在經過一個多月的試驗後,終於研發出一種切割強化玻璃的完美方法,而這種玻璃將用做iPhone的顯示屏。據一位蘋果前高管介紹,切割好的第一批玻璃在一個夜深人靜的晚上運到了“富士康城”。富士康的經理叫醒了上千名員工,他們趕緊穿好了工作服,男人穿的衣服黑白相間,女人則是紅色。他們立即回到車間,開始手工組裝。在三個月內,蘋果賣出了100萬部iPhone。自那時起,富士康已經組裝了2億多部iPhone。

而富士康則在一份聲明中表示,拒絕透露關於客戶的任何信息。

富士康表示,公司雇傭的任何員工都簽訂了明確的勞動合同,而且公司會依照中國相關法律保護他們的權益。富士康對員工有高度的責任感,公司將努力為一百萬名員工提供安全和積極的工作環境。

富士康對蘋果前高管披露的細節進行反駁。富士康表示,對於某人所說的夜裡加班的現象,根本不可能存在,因為公司對員工的上班時間都進行嚴格的管理,每一位工人都有電子打卡牌,如果換班未經批准,員工就無法進入工廠工作。富士康稱,任何換班時間不是早上7點就是晚上7點,如果有任何變化,員工將在12小時之前接到通知。

不過,富士康員工在接受采訪時的表態與公司聲明有出入。

蘋果在中國發展的另外一個關鍵因素是:中國擁有美國無法比擬的工程師隊伍。蘋果高管曾估算,指導參與iPhone生產的20萬裝配線工人需要8700名工程師。分析師估計,在美國招聘到這么多合格的工程師需要將近9個月的時間。而在中國,衹需要15天。

在中國僅需要15天

麻省理工學院副院長馬丁﹒施密特(Martin Schmidt)稱:“蘋果等企業抱怨,在美國建立工廠面臨著技術工人短缺的挑戰。”企業稱,他們衹需要高中以上學歷的工程師即可,而不必擁有學士學位。但在美國,很難找到這樣的人。施密特說:“就業機會確實有,但美國沒法滿足這個需求。”

誠然,iPhone的某些相關業務衹能在美國開展,如軟件和創新性營銷活動。蘋果最近斥資5億美元在北卡羅來納州建立數據中心。此外,iPhone 4和iPhone 4S的內部芯片在三星的德州工廠製造。

儘管如此,這些設施並未帶來足夠多的就業機會。例如,蘋果北卡羅來納州數據中心衹有100名全職員工,三星工廠也衹有約2400名員工。

曾負責蘋果產品開發和市場營銷工作的吉恩-路易斯﹒卡西(Jean-Louis Gass e)稱:“如果將手機銷量從100萬部提高到3000萬部,其實不必增加很多程序員。所有新公司──Facebook、谷歌和Twitter──均受益於此。它們在增長,但並不需要聘請太多人。”

很難估算在美國製造iPhone的成本几何,但一些專家和製造業分析師稱,由於勞動力在技術製造中僅占很少一部分成本,如果在美國生產,每部iPhone衹會增加65美元的費用。而每部iPhone的利潤約為數百美元,如果在美國生產,理論上而言蘋果仍將有不錯的回報。但在許多方面,這種估算毫無意義,因為在美國生產iPhone需要的不僅僅是聘用美國工人──還要改變整個美國,乃至全球的經濟。蘋果高管們認為,僅擁有充足的美國員工,以及高效、極具靈活性的工廠還遠遠不夠。康寧等與蘋果合作的企業也表示,它們必須走出國門。

為蘋果生產iPhone玻璃屏讓康寧的肯塔基州工廠重獲新生,時至今日,大量的iPhone玻璃屏仍在這裡生產。在iPhone大獲成功之後,康寧還贏得了其它希望效仿蘋果的企業的大量訂單。如今,康寧強化玻璃的年銷售額增至7億多美元,已聘用約1000名美國工人支持這一新興業務。

但隨著市場規模的擴張,康寧大部分強化玻璃製造業務已轉移到日本和中國台灣的工廠。

康寧副董事長兼CFO詹姆斯﹒佛勞斯(James B. Flaws)稱:“我們的客戶遍及中國台灣和內地,以及韓國和日本。我們可以在美國製造強化玻璃並裝船發貨,但需要35天時間。當然可以選擇空運,但成本相當於前者的10倍。因此,我們選擇在組裝工廠附近建造玻璃工廠,也就是在海外。”

康寧成立於161年前,總部仍位於紐約州。理論上而言,康寧可以在美國製造全部玻璃。佛勞斯說:“但需要對整個產業結構進行徹底調整。消費電子業務已經成為了一項亞洲業務。作為一名美國人,我對此感到擔憂,但卻無法阻止。亞洲成為了四十年前的美國。”

中等職位消失

當埃里克﹒薩拉格扎(Eric Saragoza)第一次走進蘋果加州Elk Grove製造工廠時,他感覺像是進入了工程仙境。

那是1995年,這座位於薩克拉曼多(Sacramento,加州首府)的工廠雇用了1500多名員工。工廠里到處是機器人手臂,傳送帶上全是電路板,iMac分散在不同的組裝階段。薩拉格扎是一位工程師,很快晉升為管理人員,後來加入到一個精英診斷團隊。他的薪水提升至5萬美元。他與妻子有三個孩子,後來買了一個帶泳池的住宅。

薩拉格扎說:“最終,我感覺到學有所用,並獲得了回報。我知道,世界需要會製造產品的人。”

與此同時,電子產業發生轉變,蘋果──產品普及度開始下降──在重塑自我時遭遇挑戰。其中一個重要挑戰是改進製造,在薩拉格扎投入工廠工作後的几年,他的主管解釋加州工廠如何與國外工廠競爭:不包括原材料,在Elk Grove工廠建造一台1500美元計算機的成本是22美元。而在新加坡衹需6美元,在中國台灣衹需4.85美元。薪水上並沒有太大差距,但庫存成本和員工完成一項任務所需時間則有顯著差距。

薩拉格扎說:“我們被告知,每天必須工作12個小時,周六也要工作。但我有家庭,還要看孩子踢足球。”

現代化經常會導致某些工作出現轉變或徹底消失。正如美國經濟由農業向製造業轉型,然後再向其它工業轉型時期,農民變成了煉鋼工人,銷售員和中層管理者。這些轉型帶來了許多經濟利益,通常,在每一個階段,即使非技術工人也能獲得更高的薪水,以及更多的晉升機會。

但經濟學家稱,最近20年有了一些根本性的改變。中等職位開始消失,尤其是在沒有大學文憑的美國人群中。今天,新的就業機會嚴重偏向服務業──在飯店或呼叫中心,或作為醫院護理或臨時工──該行業提供的中等職位很少。即使擁有大學文憑的薩拉格扎也未能擺脫這種趨勢的挑戰。首先,Elk Grove工廠的一些日常工作已被轉移到海外。薩拉格扎並不介意。其次,機器人技術可以讓管理人員用機器人替代工人。一些診斷工程師被派往新加坡。負責工廠庫存的中層管理者被裁員,因為衹需少數一些人配上互聯網就可以滿足需求了。

如果將薩拉格扎放在一個非技術職位上,那就顯得成本過高了。同時,他又無法勝任更高層的管理職位。2002年在上完夜班後他被叫到一個小辦公室,結果被裁員,離開了工廠。薩拉格扎後來曾在高中教書,然後試圖重返科技界。但蘋果已經將Elk Grove工廠的大部分變成了AppleCare呼叫中心,新員工每小時的薪水是12美元。

硅谷確實擁有就業潛力,但薩拉格扎卻沒有遇上。他說:“他們需要的是30多歲又沒有孩子的人。”薩拉格扎今年48歲,加上自己家裡共有5口人。

在尋找工作几個月後,他開始絕望,甚至連教書工作也少了。最後,他衹能在一家電子代理機構工作。這家機構被蘋果雇用,負責在返回給用戶前檢查返修的iPhone和iPad。每天,薩拉格扎都要驅車到當年曾擔任工程師的大樓,擦洗成千上萬的玻璃屏幕,通過耳機測試音段接口。每小時薪水10美元,沒有福利。

豐厚薪酬

隨著蘋果海外業務和銷售額的增長,蘋果高管的薪酬水平也水漲船高。上一財年,蘋果的營收達到1080億美元,超過了密歇根州、新澤西州和馬薩諸塞州預算的總和,而蘋果股價也從2005年拆股後的45美元左右一路升至427美元以上。

蘋果股東分享了該公司創造的部分財富。蘋果是持股人數最多的公司之一,股價的上漲澤被了大量散戶投資者、401(k)帳戶和退休基金。與此同時,蘋果員工也分享了這場盛宴。上個財年,除工資收入以外,蘋果員工和董事總共收獲了價值20億美元的股票,行使的股票及期權價值也達到14億美元。

而蘋果高管是這場盛宴的最大受益者。CEO庫克去年獲得了期限為10年的股票獎勵,按當前股價計算,這筆股票價值4.27億美元。同時他的年薪也上調至140萬美元。蘋果遞交證券監管機構的報告顯示,庫克2010年的薪酬總額達到5900萬美元。

一位接近蘋果的人士表示,蘋果為整個美國和全世界創造了巨大價值,從這個角度來看,蘋果員工獲得的報酬水平是合理的。隨著公司業務的增長,蘋果包括製造崗位的國內員工規模也在擴大,僅去年蘋果美國員工人數就增加了8000人。

當其他公司紛紛將呼叫中心遷往海外時,蘋果仍將呼叫中心留在美國境內。一位消息人士估計,蘋果產品銷售的增長為其他公司創造了數以萬計的美國工作崗位。例如,聯邦快遞和UPS均已表示,由於蘋果產品快遞數量的增加,公司在美國境內都增招了員工。但這兩家公司在未獲得蘋果批准的情況下都不願透露具體數字,而蘋果則拒絕提供這些數據。

蘋果一位高管表示,公司不該為使用中國勞工資源而受到外界指責,因為美國本土已經無法提供這樣的人才。

此外,蘋果消息人士表示,公司在美國境內已經創造了大量好的工作崗位,這些崗位來自蘋果零售店以及銷售iPhone和iPad應用的初創企業中。在度過兩個月測試iPad的時間後,薩拉格扎選擇退出。他認為公司提供的薪酬太低,還不如把這些時間花在尋找其他工作上。在去年10月的一個晚上,當薩拉格扎坐在MacBook前開始新一輪在線簡歷提交之際,在地球另一端的林麗娜(音譯,Lina Lin)已經抵達了位於中國深圳的辦公室。林麗娜是PCH International的項目經理,而PCH是蘋果和其他電子產品公司的合作伙伴,負責協調配件的生產,如保護iPad玻璃屏幕的外殼等。林麗娜並不是蘋果員工,但她是蘋果產品交付鏈條上的有機組成部分。

林麗娜的收入水平略低於蘋果支付給薩拉格扎的工資。林麗娜說一口流利的英語,這是她在上大學期間和通過電視自學而達到的水平。她和丈夫每月將四分之一的收入存入銀行,他們與父母和兒子居住在一套面積為100平方米的公寓里。

她說,市場上有大量的工作崗位,深圳更是如此。

創新失意者

去年,當奧巴馬總統與賈伯斯和其他硅谷高管的晚宴即將結束時,每個人都站起來準備離開。這時,有很多人圍攏在總統身旁希望合影,而希望與賈伯斯合影的人數也不少。當時坊間已有傳聞,稱賈伯斯的病情在惡化,一些人希望能夠抓住機會與其合影,唯恐這是最後一次與他留影的機會。

最終,合影人群擠到了一起。當時在場的一位人士表示,賈伯斯對奧巴馬說:“我並不擔心美國的長期前景,這是一個相當偉大的國家。我擔心的是,我們沒有充分考慮解決方案。”

例如,硅谷高管在晚宴上建議,政府應該改革簽證制度,讓美國公司雇傭外國工程師。一些高管敦促總統為公司提供“免稅窗口期”,使得公司不用為匯回海外利潤而繳納重稅,這樣公司就可以將這些資金用於創造國內崗位。賈伯斯甚至建議,如果政府幫助培養更多的美國工程師,也許有一天蘋果會將部分熟練技術工種崗位留在美國境內。

經濟學家對上述種種措施的效果持懷疑態度。他們指出,有時候經濟的轉變是由於意想不到的社會發展。例如,上一次美國社會出現嚴重而漫長的失業是在1980年代初期,當時互聯網几乎不存在。那時很少有人會預計到圖形設計學位會很快變得炙手可熱,而電話修理學科則前途渺茫。

目前尚無法確定的是,面向未來的創新是否能為美國創造數以百萬計的工作崗位。

在過去十年間,太陽能、風能、半導體製造和顯示技術的革新已創造了大量工作崗位。雖然上述許多行業先在美國興起,但多數就業崗位惠及的卻是海外。企業紛紛關閉了美國境內的工廠,將製造業務遷往中國。企業高管為此給出的解釋是,他們在與蘋果競爭,希望獲得投資者的認可。如果他們不能追趕蘋果的增長速度和利潤率水平,那么生存前景堪憂。

哈佛大學經濟學家勞倫斯﹒卡茨(Lawrence Katz)表示,新的中等崗位最終將會產生,但一個年屆四十的人是否具備相應技能?他是否會被新的大學畢業生超越,再也無法回歸中產階層呢?

許多行業的高管表示,賈伯斯等商界人士的出現加快了創新的步伐。通用汽車要花5年的時間才會對汽車設計進行重大修改,相比之下,蘋果在四年時間內就推出了5款iPhone,讓iPhone的運行速度和存儲容量增加了一倍,售價則大幅下降。

去年的那場宴會上,賈伯斯在與奧巴馬告別之前,從口袋裡拿出了iPhone,展示了一款高清圖像的賽車遊戲應用。房間內的輕柔燈光在他手上的iPhone折射,在場的高管們紛紛聚攏在他身邊,希望從他肩頭上一睹這款應用的精彩。這些高管的身家總計超過690億美元。他們看過後都認為,這款遊戲太棒了。

此時,賈伯斯手上的iPhone顯示屏晶瑩剔透,沒有絲毫瑕疵。(彥飛 彪赫 有亞 悠然)

蘋果血汗陸工廠 紐時揭內幕

2012/01/27 09:57:00

紐約時報26日大篇幅揭發在中國大陸為蘋果製造、生產的代工廠如何壓榨員工,也揭開蘋果如何視而不見的內幕。(中央社檔案照片)

(中央社記者江今葉紐約26日專電)蘋果在中國大陸供應商的工作環境惡劣時有所聞。紐約時報今天大篇幅揭發為蘋果製造、生產的代工廠如何壓榨員工,也揭開蘋果是如何視而不見的內幕。

「紐約時報」(The New York Times)今天以頭版轉內文,以兩個整版的大篇幅報導大陸血汗工廠內幕。

報導指出,過去10年,蘋果成為全球最具影響力、規模最大、最成功的企業之一,但這樣的成功卻是許多勞工的血汗辛苦得來,他們在惡劣的環境中工作,其中部分工作環境具有致命風險。

許多員工超時工作,有時一週7天都在工作,還被迫住在擁擠的員工宿舍中。有些人透露,他們被迫長時間站立工作,導致他們兩腿腫脹,幾乎無法行走。

美國勞工部所屬的國家職業安全衛生諮詢委員會(National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health)前主席艾希佛德(Nicholas Ashford)表示,如果蘋果被警告卻沒有作為,應該予以譴責。但在一個將道德瑕疵視為企業經營慣例的國家裡,企業會利用這樣的「優勢」。

儘管蘋果高層多次表示已經改善工作環境,甚至制訂勞工安全維護標準化流程,但情況並未真的獲得改善。根據蘋果公布的報告指出,自2007年以來,超過一半的蘋果供應鏈廠商每年至少發生一起嚴重的勞工事件。

協助處理四川爆炸案的前鴻海富士康四川分公司管理人員李明齊(Li Mingqi,音譯)表示,蘋果從來不在乎除了改善產品品質、降低生產成本以外的事,勞工權益從來不是他們關切的重點。

報導說,惡劣的工作環境在去年引爆富士康員工的大規模抗議,但富士康發表聲明表示,完全依照標準工業流程與法令運作,富士康的工作環境絕非惡劣,也從未雇用童工、要求員工超時工作,或是將員工暴露在毒物危險中。

為了避免壓榨勞工的事件再度發生,蘋果加州總公司規劃一套標準作業流程,要求各供應商配合,並威脅如果廠商無法配合,被發現有類似事件發生,並且未能在90天內妥善解決,蘋果將終止雙方合作關係。

根據蘋果前高層的說法,從2007年開始,已經有15家供應鏈廠商因此遭到撤換。

報導表示, 蘋果給予供應商的毛利相當低廉,供應商只得減少不必要的開支,使用低廉卻品質不佳的化學藥品,或是要求員工增加工時、增加效率,而蘋果會回頭要求供應商繼續降價。

報導並指出,獲得蘋果訂單對許多供應商來說,等於是取得產品品質良好的保證,公司價值也會大為增加,但也由於蘋果嚴格要求供應商保密,許多廠商對工廠內部運作三緘其口,不透明的政策也讓工作環境的改善出現障礙,難窺真實現況。1010126

 

環保組織不滿蘋果供應商報告:責任全推給供應商

2011年02月16日 11:12 來源: 21世紀經濟報道 【字體:   網友評論

  2月15日,蘋果公司正式發佈了2011年度的“供應商責任進展報告”(Supplier Responsibility Progress Report)。

  在過去的一年當中,供應鏈結二連三爆出的醜聞曾讓蘋果公司顏面掃地,包括代工廠商富士康的員工連續跳樓事件,以及生產觸摸屏的台資企業勝華科技上百名員工中毒事件等。

  北京公眾與環境研究中心主任馬軍向本報記者表示,蘋果今年的報告已經較往年有了一定的進步,報告首次提到了富士康和勝華科技兩家蘋果供應商的名字,並披露了這些供應商對存在問題的整改。不久前馬軍曾牽頭髮布一份名為《蘋果的另一面》的獨立調研報告,披露蘋果公司在用工和環境方面存在的問題。

  蘋果在報告中提供了對127家廠商的審查結果,其中包括供應商嚴重違反蘋果供應商行為準則的行為以及蘋果對這些行為的回應,這些回應包括強制升級設施和與違規者終止業務關係等。報告顯示,2010年蘋果發現37家廠商存在嚴重違規行為,遠多於2009年的17家。

  蘋果的生產規模在過去幾年當中成倍的增長,但一些中國環保人士在調研後得出結論,蘋果在對其供應商在勞工、污染等問題上,並沒有同步進步。

  富士康自殺事件調查過程

  這份25頁的報告有個兩頁的章節詳細披露2010年蘋果對富士康自殺事件的調查過程。2010年初,富士康連續的工人自殺事件,已經在全球對蘋果的聲譽造成嚴重影響。

  2010年6月,蘋果分管供應鏈的首席運營官庫克(Tim Cook)帶著一批蘋果高管以及兩名資深防自殺專家抵達深圳,開始對富士康自殺事件展開調查。

  多年以前,正是在庫克的主導下,蘋果決定關閉自己所有的工廠。庫克在那時給老朋友郭臺銘打去電話,並將蘋果產品逐步交由富士康這樣的代工廠生產,以減輕蘋果龐大的財務負擔,同時也將管理數十萬人巨型工廠的負擔轉手扔給了富士康們。

  庫克隨即在深圳和郭臺銘進行了會談,在這份報告中蘋果提到,當時蘋果要求富士康立即採取措施,防止更多的工人自殺。

  報告同時指出,蘋果公司隨即組成了一個由防自殺專家組成的獨立調查小組,對富士康展開調查。這個小組調查了超過1000名富士康工人,和他們展開面對面的交談,並詳細詢問他們的生活品質、焦慮的原因、心理健康狀況。這個小組是在沒有富士康干預的情況下發放的調查問卷。

  調查小組在2010年8月時出具了調查報告。不過,蘋果並沒有在《2011年蘋果供應商責任報告》中過多透露此項調查對富士康存在問題的結論,只是表示在蘋果的建議下,富士康立即採取了措施,例如開通了24小時心理疏導熱線等。

  蘋果公司的年度供應商責任報告中寫道:“專家組對富士康的反應速度表示讚賞。富士康在處理這次危機的過程中,毫不隱瞞地和很多外部專家和政府官員合作。更重要的是,調查發現,富士康的對策明顯地產生了挽救了生命的效果。”

責任全推給供應商?

2011年02月16日 11:12 來源: 21世紀經濟報道 【字體:   網友評論

 

  責任全推給供應商?

  馬軍評價道,今年蘋果的報告顯示出蘋果公司對其供應商社會責任的管理上有了一定的進展,例如提到一些供應商整改的具體事例。

  在此前不久,馬軍等NGO人士一起發佈了自己的調研報告《蘋果的另一面》。

  中國的民間環保人士曾多次聯繫蘋果美國總部,就聯建科技等蘋果供應商員工中毒事件要求蘋果回應,但屢次遭到蘋果的拒絕。“蘋果此前一直不肯承認聯建科技是其供應商,因此表示不能採取更多的行動。”馬軍告訴記者,這讓他們感到非常意外。

  在本次蘋果的供應商責任報告第20頁,有較大篇幅提到蘇州聯建科技中毒事件,報告中寫道:“在2010年,我們得知蘋果供應商勝華科技(聯建科技的台灣母公司)在蘇州的工廠有137名工人接觸正己烷後出現不良反應……”

  而聯建科技正己烷中毒事件發生在2009年下半年,且有多家中國媒體對其進行過報道。

  馬軍認為,對如此重大的事件,蘋果一直到很晚時才了解到,說明瞭蘋果對自己的供應鏈缺乏有效管理。

  近年來,蘋果產品在全世界飛速擴張,蘋果供應商的隊伍也成倍增長。但遺憾的是,蘋果公司在對其供應體系管理上所表現出來的水準,並沒有隨著蘋果產品的增長一起發展。

  蘋果採購的零部件通常要求世界最精密的工藝。同樣一塊觸摸屏,如果有一點輕微劃痕,在其他消費電子廠商那裏可以過關,但在蘋果嚴密的檢測標準下,往往會被退貨。這往往把蘋果的供應商逼上一個兩難的境地:儘管蘋果的訂單利潤高,但是如果生產良率上不去,同樣賺不到錢,並且拿不到蘋果更多的額外訂單。

  一些蘋果供應商不惜鋌而走險,使用非法的工藝流程,勝華科技在蘇州的工廠中毒事件就是最典型的代表。2008年9月起,勝華科技的子公司蘇州聯建科技“突然要求使用正己烷代替酒精,讓員工擦拭蘋果手機顯示屏”。理由是使用酒精擦拭顯示屏出廠的產品良率較低,使用正己烷能夠獲得更好的效果,但因為在密閉的車間內,導致多名員工中毒住院。

  雖然蘋果制訂了《蘋果供應商行為準則》,要求供應商必須遵守諸如禁止雇傭童工、嚴禁使用有害物質等要求。但馬軍認為,蘋果不能簡單地將全部責任都推給供應商,而其報告正有這樣的傾向,這樣會導致蘋果的採購人員只看產品的品質,而忽視蘋果對生產這些產品過程中對勞工及環境的損害,也無益於將來類似情況的防止發生。

  馬軍談到,在蘇州聯建科技的中毒事件調查中發現,在同一個工廠裏生產其他公司產品時就沒有出現中毒現象。一些工人們向環保組織反映,蘋果要求聯建科技用大的塑膠片把整個工作臺全部包起來,以保證iPhone的觸摸屏在無塵的環境下進行生產,這樣密閉的環境導致了工人們的中毒。

  從現有披露出來的資訊可以看出,蘋果公司對供應鏈的各個環節有著很深的干預,“這家工廠的良率在短期內大幅提升,很難相信蘋果對此毫不知情。”馬軍表示。

  在對包括惠普、戴爾等多家IT企業進行調研後,中國的環保組織們得出結論,蘋果對其供應商社會責任的管控要落後於惠普、GE等企業,這和蘋果在IT業界日益攀升的地位不符合。



蘋果發布供應商審計報告披露156家供應商名單

imeigu.com 2012-01-14 06:22:13 來源: 新浪科技

蘋果發布供應商審計報告,稱該公司發現這些供應商中存在大量違規行為,如中國工廠在薪酬、福利和環境問題上的違規行為等披;並首次披露了156家供應商的名單。

蘋果週五發布了針對主要供應商的審計報告

蘋果首次發布針對供應商的審計報告

蘋果披露其主要供應商名錄(一)

蘋果披露其主要供應商名錄(二)

新浪科技訊北京時間1月14日凌晨消息,蘋果週五發布了針對主要供應商的審計報告(報告原文下載),稱該公司發現這些供應商中存在大量違規行為,如中國工廠在薪酬、福利和環境問題上的違規行為等。

此外,蘋果還第一次發布了主要供應商的名單(附英文版名錄PDF文件)。蘋果表示,該公司在去年進行了229次審計活動,比2010年多出80%。蘋果稱,該公司對供應鏈的所有級別都進行了調查,其中包括總裝和部件提供商等。蘋果將授權來自於公平勞動協會(Fair Labor Association)的一個獨立審計團隊展開審計活動,目的是消除有關該公司供應鏈中工廠工作環境的批評。

此外,蘋果還第一次發布了主要供應商的名單,這份名單列出了156家公司的名稱,並披露了該公司最近對供應商工廠進行檢查的結果。

蘋果在這份審計報告中稱:“在我們所處行業中,這種程度的透明度和獨立審查是絕無僅有的。”蘋果稱其發現,某些部件提供商曾有過13例使用童工的事件,當前仍在使用童工的還有6例。

報告還稱,蘋果發現有67家工廠以扣除工人薪酬的方式來作為紀律措施,並稱其已要求供應商向工人作出償還。蘋果終止了與一家供應商之間的合作關係,同時還在糾正另一家供應商的行為,這兩家供應商都曾屢次違規。

報告指出,在工作時長和福利不足等問題上,蘋果發現了很多持續存在的問題。舉例來說,對於蘋果有關每週工作時長最多為60小時的規定,供應商僅在38%的時間裡遵循這項規定。報告同時指出,在公平待遇等領域,這些工廠的表現則要好一些。

報告稱,蘋果已經採取了新措施來更好地監控和改善工廠的工作環境,其中包括加強在馬來西亞和新加坡的審計活動,以及擴大其工人教育計劃等。

以下是蘋果官方發布的2012年審計報告的要點:

* 在2011年中,我們對整個供應鏈進行了229次審計,比2010年多出80%,其中包括100多次首次審計。我們繼續擴大自己深入檢查供應基地的計劃,今年我們已增加了更多詳盡而專業的審計,重點放在安全性和環境問題上。

* 蘋果設計的培訓項目已對100多萬名供應鏈僱員進行了教育,內容包括當地法律、工人權利、職業健康和安全性、以及蘋果的供應商行為準則等。

* 我們的審計人員一直都在對供應商遵循環境標準的問題進行審查。在2011年中,除了標準化審計以外,我們還啟動了一個專門的審計項目,以解決有關中國特定供應商的環境問題。第三方環境工程專家與我們自己的團隊通力合作,對14家工廠進行了詳盡的審計。我們公佈了一些違規行為,並與供公司協力糾正這些問題。我們將在未來一年中擴大環境審計項目。

* 我們對使用童工的行為採取“零容忍”的政策,而且我們相信,蘋果的系統是電子行業中最嚴厲的。在2011年中,我們拓寬了自己的年齡認證程序,並觀察到供應商的員工聘用活動取得了重大的改善。使用童工的例子已經大幅減少,審計表明總裝供應商不存在使用童工的問題。

* 我們在供應商的工廠中免費提供繼續教育機會。6萬多名員工已申請這種課程,學習商業和企業知識,提高自身的電腦技能,或是學習英語。而且,這種課程還在繼續擴展。我們還與一些地方大學進行合作,提供員工能申請獲得大專文憑的課程。(唐風)

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蘋果公布供應鏈 邀勞團監督

〔編譯俞智敏/綜合13日外電報導〕蘋果公司13日首度公布全球供應商名單,並且矢言改善勞工待遇問題,希望平息外界對於蘋果公司對亞洲供應商,尤其是中國工廠的勞工工作環境惡劣視而不見的批評。

提供內部稽查資料 一改賈伯斯政策

蘋果公司13日在2012年「供應商責任進步報告」中,一舉公布了156家供應商名單,相當於該公司供應鏈中97%的廠商,其中包括英特爾、博通、安費諾與三洋電子等。這項戲劇性且史無前例的動作,在大量仰賴外國零件供應商以提高利潤的電腦產業相當罕見,尤其蘋果在前執行長賈伯斯任內素以保密政策嚴格著稱,更凸顯出新執行長庫克上任後,開啟了提高公司透明化的新時代,但也讓業界與華爾街大吃一驚,專家表示蘋果的對手與投資人不惜花大錢請顧問,就是想挖到這種寶貴情報。

蘋果公司公布供應商名單,是該公司針對產品供應鏈廠商進行內部稽查的結果,這項稽查歷時數年,調查對象包括富士康與鴻海,以及南韓的三星電子等高知名度公司。富士康近年來員工自殺事件頻傳,正是讓蘋果公司捲入勞資糾紛頭條新聞的主因,各界紛紛質疑蘋果的中國供應廠商工作環境惡劣。

證實部分中國廠商工時過長、毒害環境

蘋果公司在報告中指出,內部稽查中發現了6起仍在僱用童工個案,以及13起曾經僱用童工個案,但最後組裝廠則未發現童工問題。調查中還發現部份中國廠商確有違規行為,包括未遵守勞工工資、福利及環保等規範,只有38%的供應商遵守蘋果公司每週工時最多60小時、每週至少休假一天的規定。

未公開違規廠商名單

其他被披露的違規事項還包括把廢水倒進鄰近農地,在未使用安全護具情況下操作機器,對求職者進行B型肝炎篩檢、對員工驗孕及竄改薪資紀錄等,有109家廠商未按規定支付加班費。蘋果公司並未公布違規的工廠名單。

此外,蘋果也跟隨耐吉、雀巢等跨國集團腳步加入公平勞動協會(Fair Labor Association ),該協會是於1999年在美國前總統柯林頓敦促下成立,目的為監督全球工作場所環境,蘋果公司為首家加入協會的科技公司。

蘋果也同意讓公平勞動協會進入如鴻海集團等供應廠商工廠內進行調查,以努力解決供應廠商工作環境屢遭批評的問題,公平勞動協會將針對會員旗下工廠進行隨機性的突擊式稽查。蘋果也已終止和一家未被指名的廠商合作,並正在「糾正」另一家供應商的做法,這兩家廠商都是累犯。

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蘋果公布供應商名單 列出英特爾等156家

 

為了因應勞工和環保問題的批評,蘋果首度公布iPhone和iPad等暢銷產品的供應商名單。圖為蘋果供應商鴻海公司龍華科技園區員工的工作情況。
(路透)
後賈伯斯時代的蘋果公司出現與先前不同的作風:為了因應勞工和環保問題的批評,蘋果13日首度公布iPhone、iPad等暢銷產品的供應商名單。

 

 

蘋果多年來對供應商名單嚴格保密。iPhone尚未推出前,只要有人聲稱瞄到這款產品或其零組件,就搞得陰謀論和爭議滿天飛。投資人也經常玩猜謎遊戲,哪個包商即將登上蘋果名單,哪個可能被剔除。

蘋果公布〈2012年供應商責任進展報告〉,此舉提升蘋果的資訊透明度,顯示現任執行長庫克有些地方不全是「賈」規「庫」隨。蘋果從2007年開始公布這項報告,但今年首度揭露供應商名單。

今年的報告列出了156家公司的名單,涵蓋蘋果全球供應商的97%,例如英特爾、博通(Broadcom)、三星電子、Sony、高通(Qualcomm)等等。

報告並顯示,蘋果總公司2011年對其供應商實施229次稽核,比2010年多80%。

稽核結果發現在勞工、衛生、環保方面的違規情況,包括雇用未成年勞工、歧視懷孕員工。報告也大略說明總公司對每一項弊端的處理情形,包括終止與累犯包商的合作關係,以及要求相關供應商提出預防舊事重演的措施。

蘋果公布報告前一天,為微軟Xbox遊戲機代工的富士康武漢廠一批員工爬到六層宿舍頂上,揚言跳樓自殺。結果無人真跳,但事件仍然突顯中國大陸的勞工問題。

富士康也為蘋果製造iPad和iPhone。2010年,富士康的深圳廠頻傳員工自殺事件。

蘋果的報告說,78%供應商遵守蘋果對他們要求的反歧視標準,但只有61%實施預防歧視發生的制度。97%供應商依照規定不雇用未成年勞工,但只72%有預防雇到未成年勞工的政策。

只有38%供應商遵守蘋果規定每周工作時數以60小時為限的政策,69%遵守工資和福利規定。

違規內容包括徵人時檢測B型肝炎、驗孕,以及每周工時超過60小時的上限。有109家代工廠沒有依照規定計算加班費。其他問題包括代工廠將污水排入農田、使用的機器沒有安全措施,以及偽造薪資紀錄。

蘋果的另一進展是開始同意接受外界檢查,跟隨耐吉、雀巢等大企業的腳步,參加「公平勞動協會」,成為第一個加入該協會的科技公司。公平勞動協會在1999年由前美國總統柯林頓促成,宗旨是檢查全球工作場所的環境,每年突擊檢查5%的會員供應商。

 

【2012/01/14 經濟日報】


蘋果供應商名單 首度公開

2012-01-15 01:44

工商時報

【記者蕭美惠、陳泳丞、顏嘉南/綜合外電報導】
 蘋果周五公布年度供應商審查報告,首度公開iPhone和iPad等產品的供應商名單,總數達156家,其中台灣面板、電池、被動元件、機殼和系統組裝等供應商約計39家。

 蘋果發布2012年「供應商責任進展報告」(Supplier Responsibility Progress Report),首次公布156家供應商名單,占該公司全球採購支出的97%,在國外部份包括英特爾、博通、三星、索尼和三洋電機等大廠。

 台灣部份則多達39家,包括系統組裝的鴻海、廣達、和碩、英華達和正崴精密;電源供應器的康舒和台達電;電池供應商順達、新普和新能源;被動元件包括達方和國巨;周邊零組件包括環隆電氣、順德工業、台灣晶技;觸控與面板包括TPK宸鴻、勝華、友達光、奇美電、蘇州佳值電;機殼包括可成及日騰;PCB包括嘉聯益、華通、台郡、南亞電路板、健鼎、欣興電子;LED包括光寶;印刷包裝包括華彩、正隆紙業、正美和太乙精密。

 面對外界猛烈批評蘋果代工廠的勞工問題,蘋果首次揭露供應商名單,並表示將讓外部勞工權利組織─公平勞動協會(FLA)獨立調查監督,並回報供應商狀況。

 據蘋果的報告顯示,只有38%的供應商遵守蘋果每周最多工作60小時,每周至少休息1天的標準。有三分之一的供應商疏於管理風險狀況,另有三分之一的代工廠傷害預防措施低於標準。

 蘋果發現,78%的供應商遵守蘋果的反歧視標準,但只有61%設有預防歧視措施。幾乎所有的供應商(97%)未雇用未成年勞工,但只有72%設有預防措施。

蘋果供應鏈利潤 韓、美廠吃肉,台廠僅喝湯

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