"Serious and pressing" problems of overtime, health and safety, low pay, worker rights
Labor rights activists feared the worst when Fair Labor Association president Auret van Heerden, inspecting a Chinese factory at Apple's (AAPL) request, remarked how clean and tranquil he found it -- as if a factory floor where workers are required to wear clean suits would look like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
"The facilities are first-class," he told a Reuters reporter after his first day, "the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm."
The activists need not have worried. The FLA issued its initial findings Thursday, and while it's quite possible that there were problems it missed in its month-long investigation of three Foxconn factories -- including interviews with 35,500 workers -- it's clear that the report is no whitewash. The FLA found more than four dozen violations of either its own codes or Chinese labor laws. Among the issues highlighted in the report:
"We appreciate the work the FLA has done to assess conditions at Foxconn and we fully support their recommendations," Apple said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
"Talk is cheap," said an otherwise supportive press release from Human Rights First, a member of the FLA Board of Directors. "The steps needed to protect workers in Apple's supply chain may not be."
A full copy of the FLA' report is available here.
Two weeks after a fatal explosion, it's business as usual at Foxconn's factory in Chengdu.
After an explosion in a Chinese factory that makes iPads for Apple (AAPL) killed three workers and injured 15 more, one analyst estimated that Apple's quarterly iPad production numbers might fall by as much as 2.8 million units -- speculation that helped drive the company's shares down more than 1.5% that day.
Two weeks later, it's clear MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 2, 2011 11:10 AM ET
A case study in how the options market reacts to breaking news
We've written a lot lately about how traders buying and selling options seem to be driving Apple's (AAPL) share price (see here, here and here.) So we thought it might be instructive to look at what happened on a day when Apple's share price took over and drove the options market -- specifically, the so-called Max Pain price point MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 23, 2011 9:00 AM ET
The explosion that killed three in Chengdu on Friday has been traced to a dust-collecting duct
There were several developments over the weekend following the explosion that killed three and injured 15 in a factory in southwest China that builds iPads for Apple (AAPL). (See Inside the Apple iPad factory.)
The third death was confirmed. Six of the injured have been sent home. The rest are still hospitalized.
The blast was traced to MORE
Fortune's curated selection of the weekend's most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you every day.
A note to readers: Apologies for the lack of updates over the last week -- yours truly was making preparations for a move out West. Effective end of June, I'll report from Fortune's San Francisco offices to better bring readers the latest tech scoops as they break. Thanks MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 23, 2011 6:30 AM ET
The site of Friday's explosion was massive 8-building complex thrown together in a record 70 days
When a polishing workshop blew up in Foxconn's new factory complex in Chengdu, China, it was an English-language website operating, as they put it, "outside the Great Firewall of China, temporarily," that broke the news and provided U.S. media outlets with videos, photos and regular updates.
On Saturday, the website -- M.I.C. Gadget -- posted a background MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 21, 2011 11:05 AM ET
An analyst sketches out the economic implications in two scenarios: One serious, one less so
RBC capital's Mike Abramsky was the first analyst out of the gate Friday with a note to clients assessing the effect on Apple (AAPL) of the explosion at Foxconn's Chengdu plant.
According to Abramsky, the plant is one of two primary manufacturing sites where the iPad 2 is produced, the other being Foxconn's original Shenzhen facility. His MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 20, 2011 2:55 PM ET
Much smoke and confusion in Chengdu, China. Apple shares take a hit
At 7:20 p.m. local time Friday, according to preliminary reports out of China, an explosion struck a Foxconn plant in Chengdu that produces iPad 2s for Apple (AAPL).
The Chinese website M.I.C. Gadget passed along this first-hand report:
Ji Qing Ling's weibo said: "the explosion occurred in the A05, at 7 pm, the explosion caused many materials casted out from the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 20, 2011 11:52 AM ET
Its Asian supplier is said to be opening 50 new productions lines to meet demand
DigiTimes, the Taipei-based daily that covers the Far Eastern electronics markets like the Sporting News covers baseball, reported Tuesday that Apple (AAPL) has stepped up production of the iPad in China.
The item is unsourced and like all supply-chain reporting should be treated as a rumor. But according to unnamed "sources from upstream component makers" Foxconn has MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 23, 2010 1:10 PM ET
|5 people you might not tip (but should)|
|Oklahoma bans local minimum wage increases|
|Premarkets: Stocks get a boost from earnings, China GDP|
|Fears grow over China property flameout|
|Review: Samsung Galaxy S5|