While millions of people across the planet love their iPhone’s and other Apple Inc. products, some of the factory workers who build them are so unhappy with their working conditions, they commit suicide. And there was another one last week.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Early one day last week, a 31-year-old man finished his night shift on an iPhone assembly line, climbed to the top floor of Foxconn Technology Group’s L03 production building and leapt to his death.
Suicide among Apple Inc. factory workers is not new. In fact, it has been such a long-standing problem, back in 2011, Apple contractor Foxconn installed suicide nets around the buildings that house their workers to try to cut down on the deaths.
However, simply catching bodies does not address the problems that drive Apple factory employees to believe that committing suicide is better than going to work.
A BBC undercover investigation revealed the horrendous working conditions employees assembling Apple Inc. products must endure, and it’s not pretty.
Overtime is supposed to be voluntary, but none of the reporters were offered any choice. In addition to the excessive hours, one reporter had to attend unpaid meetings before and after work. Another reporter was housed in a dormitory where 12 workers shared a cramped room.
…Standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.
Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.
One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off.
In addition to being worked to the point of physical exhaustion, the report also found that small children were forced to work in mines, under extremely dangerous conditions, in order to secure the materials needed to build Apple products.
Apple responded to the claims of slave-like working conditions in its foreign manufacturing facilities with a ‘progress report’ in 2015. However, attempts to find that report return, ‘The page you are looking for can’t be found.’
Over the years there have been protests over working conditions at Apple factories, but they have not led to substantial enough improvements to take the suicide nets down.
While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation may have ended slavery in the US, the practice of using human beings as disposable machines is thriving around the globe. And American corporations are leading the charge.
Exploiting cheap labor and destroying the environment for profit has become the ultimate goal of American capitalism. It is also a huge part of the reason good paying US jobs are moving to countries that see protecting the environment and human life as irrelevant to the bottom line.
So, the next time you hear the word ‘deregulation’ coming out of the mouth of a politician, remember that they’re leaving out the word ‘corporate’ in front of it. Without the regulations that keep our water clean, air breathable, and working conditions bearable, corporate America would be free to prove just how much misery they can inflict on the world in the name of greed.
While Apple Inc. grabs headlines for apparent sweatshop and slave labor working conditions, this is not an issue exclusive to the Cupertino giant. This is what happens when corrupt politicians turn a blind eye to the horrors of unbridled capitalism.
*** Maryann Tobin is the author of “Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit”
This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destinies are more connected to the powers of the Spirit World than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. Afterlife: The Journey of a Dog’s Spirit is available now on Amazon.com.