Report: Apple Supplier Employees Treated like 'Animals'

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple is under intense scrutiny this week following a CNN (Cable News Network) report revealing brutal working conditions at a supplier facility in Chengdu, China.

Apple, meanwhile, say it insists it asks suppliers to treat employees with respect.

CNN recently visited the Chengdu-based Foxconn Technology Group plant where it interviewed an 18-year-old factory employee.

Known only as "Miss Chen" to the CNN audience (to protect the identity of the worker), the young employee was astonished when presented with an Apple iPad, the product she helps to make.

Chen, like many workers at Foxconn -- one of Apple's largest manufacturing partners -- never actually see the completed item they work so hard to produce.

"Wow, I want it," Chen said after being shown the tablet.

Workers Treated Like "Animals," Worker Says

Chen's job at Foxconn, which accounts for 60 hours of her week, is to install iPad screens. She says the job's not easy, and that workers are treated very poorly.

"They use women as men, and they use men as machines," Chen told CNN reporter, Stan Grant. "There's another way of saying it... They use women as men and they use men as animals." (Source:

Foxconn is an absolutely massive facility that produces more than half of the world's electronics, including the iPhone and iPad.

Apple isn't the only corporation whose products are made here, however; the plant also produces items for tech industry heavyweights Microsoft and Samsung.

But Apple is attracting much of the negative attention for conditions at Foxconn because of the disparity between the Cupertino, California-based company's profits and what's passed on to workers in Chengdu.

"These companies are making huge profits but workers feel that they are not getting a fair share," said Geoffrey Crothall of the non-governmental agency, China Labor Bulletin.

"But just because Apple is making a profit doesn't mean they are passing that onto Foxconn; the margins are slim." (Source:

Apple: "We Care About Every Worker"

For its part, Apple is doing its best to shift pressure away from itself and onto its supplier, Foxconn.

"We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain," Apple noted in a recent statement.

"We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made."

"Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple." (Source:

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