Apple Asks Labor Group to Audit Foxconn

Tim Cook furthers the company's resolve to change its image.

By Sajid Farooq
|  Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012  |  Updated 6:19 AM PDT
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Images from MacWorld

Workers assemble and perform quality control checks on MacBook Pro display enclosures at an Apple supplier facility in Shanghai.

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Apple is showing some love to workers in foreign factories building its products -- just in time for Valentine's day.

The Cupertino company announced Monday that the Fair Labor Association will conduct voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including its controversial contract factory Foxconn. Audits will be conducted at both the Shenzhen and Chengdu, China locations.

Apple said the audits are being done per its request, which is in line with CEO Tim Cook's statement two weeks ago to employees that said the company cares about all its employees and their well-being.

Cook has a long history with Foxconn. Late Apple CEO Steve Jobs sent Cook to the factory to conduct his own safety audits and to examine reports of employee suicides at the plant.

"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," Cook said in a statement Monday. "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."

Apple says it has conducted more than 40 audits since 2006 of its factories, including Foxconn. The company also puts out an annual report of what it fines, which is available online.

The labor association will interview thousands of factory employees and do an assessment of the work environment.

The team will also investigate living conditions and ask factory workers about them. A full report is expected to be posted online once the audits are completed at www.fairlabor.org.
 

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