Apple’s Manufacturing Conditions Under Scrutiny After Record Profits

Apple’s Manufacturing Conditions Under Scrutiny After Record Profits

Apple’s Manufacturing Conditions Under Scrutiny After Record Profits

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Jan. 26 2012 5:16 PM

Apple’s Manufacturing Conditions Under More Scrutiny After Record Profits

Apple posted record-breaking profits for its last quarter this week. Their secret to success? A mastery of cheap global manufacturing combined with a huge markup that consumers will pay for.

But there’s a darker narrative emerging for the tech giant, as dangerous conditions at massive plants in places like Chengdu, China are being scrutinized. The New York Times reports that the workers who put together iPads and iPhones are laboring in harsh and even deadly conditions—from ridiculous overtime expectations to chemical explosions.

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A growing chorus of workers advocacy groups charge that not only do Apple’s Chinese partnering companies have a disregard for safety, but that Apple itself may be complicit in letting them continue. The tech giant does offer a supplier code of conduct, and delivers responsibility reports. But the Times reports [[the last sentence ended with “reports” maybe another word here]] that over half of Apples suppliers violated the code of conduct every year since 2007.

Everybody knows iPads cost a lot … but some are now wondering if they cost too much.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.