ABC report shows Foxconn's iPad assembly line


— 4:50 PM on February 23, 2012

Ever wanted a peek into the factories where Apple products are made? Well, you're in luck. ABC's Bill Weir has posted an 18-minute report with footage of a Foxconn factory in China where iPads are manufactured. If you don't live in the United States, the ABC report has snuck its way onto YouTube, as well, though I suspect it may not stay there long.

Apple (whose board members, incidentally, include ABC's CEO) authorized the report, and ABC got a surprising amount of access. It even interviewed real, live factory workers. I found that quite surprising, considering the factory tours we've done in the past have usually had strict "no talking to employees" policies. Foxconn workers—if they were indeed real workers—complained to ABC openly about low wages, which start under $2 an hour, and cramped dorms, where employees sleep seven to a room during the work week.

This report comes on the heels of Apple's so-called Nike moment, where concerns over working conditions in its supply chain have spurred extensive media coverage, audits, and a new Supplier Responsibility initiative.

According to the Associated Press, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at a shareholder meeting today that Apple "has more money than it needs." The company's coffers are currently filled with about $100 billion in cash. The AP quotes Cook as saying Apple's board is "thinking 'very deeply' about how to spend the money."

I'm going out on a limb here, but perhaps arranging to pay assembly line workers more than $2 an hour might be a start. According to The Economist, $2 is less than the price of a Big Mac at McDonald's in China.

   
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