Consumer Watchdog Protests Apple's Labor Practices. Will Apple REALLY Change?

Author: Carole Di Tosti.
Published: February 21, 2012 at 5:33 am


Recognize the line: "I'm shocked there's gambling going on!" It's from iconic film Casablanca. Rick's place is a gambling joint; everyone, especially the Nazis frequent it and most of all the French police captain (Claude Rains) who is friends with Rick (Bogart). But the Nazis ordered the police chief, so he closes Rick's, to please the Nazis who are doing an investigation and search for someone. Hence the line.

Apple, Foxconn, FLA. (The labor standards group Apple partnered with to monitor its Chinese factory standards.) Unfair to draw ANY comparison between and among these three entities (FoxConn has been cited as the worst of Apple's suppliers.) and the three in the film? Perhaps. Well, in both circumstances don't the entities all know that "there's gambling going on?" In the egregious labor practices that Apple had been warned about in its own monitoring of FoxConn, Apple higher ups knew they were "gambling" with people's lives, "gambling" with the danger of another explosion, "gambling" with the percentages to successfully fill rush orders before disaster.They knew the possibility of something happening increased, the longer they put off doing anything to correct it.They gambled.

Both in the film and in the Apple situation all the "important" parties knew what was going on, except the expendable FoxConn factory workers who were not a part of the charade. The investigation (closing Rick's) was/is done for spurious reasons and certainly not to stop the gambling which will start right up again once the real reason is achieved. And at the film's conclusion everything resumes, just like it was before. In fact, the relationship between Rick (Bogart) and the police captain (Rains) is even better because they shared a secret and were conspiratorial and complicit in pulling off a gambit (gamble).

In the past this appeared to be what happened between Apple and FoxConn/others; their complicit relationships grew stronger as they gambled for higher stakes, despite investigations and citations of abusive labor practices since 2007. With this current investigation in 2012, it remains to be seen whether Apple will finally do something about the "gambling," or whether it will just resume with Foxconn and others in a business as usual approach; and six months later, after another explosion-deaths or suicides, Apple will pretend to be shocked that "gambling is going on." And only the insiders will understand that the hazards occurred because Apple kept  up the frenetic pace of its production schedule, selectively forgetting FoxConn's/others' abusive historical records, instead of actively working to change them.

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Article Author: Carole Di Tosti.

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is a published writer, novelist and poet. She writes for Blogcritics. She authors three blogs: 1) 2) 3) …

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