updated 12:35 pm EDT, Wed September 7, 2011
Asks Obama to challenge 'patriotism' of companies
The president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union, Jim Hoffa, recently singled out Apple as an example of American companies abusing outsourcing, reports note. Speaking in a CNN interview, Hoffa asked President Barack Obama to "challenge the patriotism" of US companies in a speech on jobs, also suggesting a tax plan that might get corporations to "start spending some of that money here in America and put Americans back to work."
"Look at Apple, they have $76 billion dollars in their checking account, and they're not spending it," says Hoffa in one part of the interview, referring to the company's unusually massive cash reserves. "Instead of investing here, everything they do is in China, or in Asia somewhere...There's something wrong with that."
Apple relies heavily on cheap labor in China and Taiwan to maximize profits. The company's main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, has been accused of underpaying workers even relative to Chinese standards, while still forcing employees to work punishing hours to meet deadlines. It has also been accused of violence and abuse in some instances; guards at the company's Shenzhen campus are known to carry machineguns.
Apple is one of several US corporations that has been pushing for a special "tax holiday" on repatriated overseas profits. While a tax exemption could spark an influx of cash, critics have charged that it would also allow companies to dodge tax burdens at a time when the US is suffering from severe budget constraints. Apple might not necessarily invest its cash in new jobs or projects.