A little less than a week before
it's supposed to be unveiled
to the public, the iPhone 5C is attracting attention from human rights groups for possible labor violations. While it feels like deja vu after
the many Foxconn scandals
, there's an important difference this time. The factory is American-owned.
On Thursday, China Labor Watch
spoke up about a number of ethical and labor violations
by U.S. electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit who is reportedly building the iPhone 5C. Among other things, the human rights group accused the company of owing workers millions in unpaid overtime wages, forcing workers to stand for 11 hours a day with only a 30 minute lunch break and failing to provide adequate training. The list goes on: discriminating against applicants for being too old or having tattoos, forcing up eight workers to live together in a cramped dorm room and making overtime mandatory. The situation at Jabil Circuit's factories hasn't quite escalated to the level of
Foxconn and its suicide pact scandal
, but it's certainly not a good way to kick off a new Apple product.
It's also pretty sad that we've come to expect labor violations from the manufacturing partners that supply Apple as well as its competitors with cheap labor. You would think that the situation would improve after
The New York Times
summed up Apple's labor woes in frightening detail with
its Pulitzer Prize-winning "iEconomy" series
, but building iPhones and iPads in China sounds as miserable as ever. Apple's made an effort to address the problems through
the decision to move Mac manufacturing to the U.S.
cut ties with a manufacturing partner
after there were allegations about underage labor. But the complaints keep rolling in. This is
the second situation
at factories producing goods for Apple and its competitors that's been flagged in as many months.
Time will whether or not Apple will address this latest outrage. And if you think Apple moving iPhone manufacturing back to the U.S. is the answer, don't hold your breath. That's just
not going to happen
China Labor Watch