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Foxconn iPad worker documents poor labor conditions

updated 12:05 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012

Company uses 'men as machines,' person complains

Foxconn treats "men as machines," according to a worker newly interviewed by CNN. The woman is identified an 18-year-old student from a village near the southern city of Chongqing, using the pseudonym "Chen" because she says Foxconn tells workers not to talk to reporters or else "criminal liability shall be investigated according to law." Because she was a college student with no work experience, Chen says she was eager to take a one-month position at Foxconn during the Spring Festival, having been promised things like good benefits and little overtime.

On arriving at a Foxconn factory, though, she discovered that only senior workers get benefits and sick leaves, and she complains that she's also regularly forced to work overtime. "During my first day of work, an older worker said to me, 'Why did you come to Foxconn? Don't ever think about it again and leave right now'," she tells CNN. "Foxconn employees have a saying, 'they use women as men and men as machines.'"

Chen notes that for about three weeks, at 60 hours each, she has been hand-applying over 4,000 stickers per day onto iPads. She says that she's ready to return to college and study hard to avoid going back to Foxconn. "It's so boring, I can't bear it anymore. Everyday is like: I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It is my daily routine and I almost feel like an animal," she comments. She suggests that Foxconn uses people instead of machines because "humans are cheaper."

CNN inquires to Foxconn have yielded only an email statement. "Foxconn takes our responsibility to our employees very seriously and we work hard to give our 1.2 million employees in China a safe and positive working environment and compensation and benefits that are competitive with all of our industry peers in that location," the message reads. Apple has also been pressed for a response, but has issued only a similar statement in return. "We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made. Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple."

Apple is a major Foxconn customer, and both firms have come under heavy fire in recent weeks after a New York Times report returned the spotlight on poor conditions at Foxconn plants. Both businesses have adopted a defensive stance, with Apple CEO Tim Cook going as far to claim it was "offensive" to suggest Apple didn't care about the suffering of workers. The company recently joined the Fair Labor Association, which may subject suppliers to more regular scrutiny.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SillyPooh

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Are there stickers on iPads??

  1. JDCov

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    I agree. What Apple product comes with stickers on it? None of mine have. Maybe she was assembling a Samsung, Acer, Sony, Asus or Lenovo tablet.

  1. Grendelmon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Crack one open, morons

    There are stickers and tape inside the iPads. You know, Foxconn si where they put them together and everything.

  1. facebook_Dana

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012



    Nice to know that China has it's share of teenage slackers too. Let's face it, working at FoxConn is the equivalent of McDonald's here in the states. If she wants to go back to college, well that's awesome. But there's a ton of people from the country who don't even have running water that will take that job in a second.

  1. RodTunnels

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Whoa - stop the presses!

    Manufacturing jobs are boring and may include long hours! Seriously? I know there are issues with worker rights in China (and other countries) - but this particular story makes the worker being interviewed just sound like a whiny teenager. But then this is a CNN story - I shouln't expect much, I guess.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No way!

    Forget you Grendelmon, she said stickers ON an ipad. Since iPads don't have stickers, she's just making c*** up so she can get on TV in blurry face. This is all part of a Dell or Google conspiracy to attack apple, and SillyPooh caught her red-handed!

    Nice try Michael Dell, but you'll need to do a better job!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Slackers

    Yeah, she's such a slacker for not wanting to be forced to work 60 hours a week. What a loser. We all in the US work that much or more, and we love it!

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    plenty of stickers

    The boxes and packaging contains many double-sided stickers.
    All the portable devices other than the iPad has stickers over the screen (screen protector).
    All the cables has a ring of plastic that has double-sided glue/sticker strips.

  1. slboett

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What's with this fascination on Foxconn? Who in China gives a s*** about conditions for workers here for c*** they buy from us? Why is it OUR job to fix China's labor woes? This whole thing smacks of money being spent by MS/Samsung, etc. to tarnish Apple - even though those same idiots use the same damn factories. What a crock of #occupy horsepucky.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Where are...

    ... The reports on exploitative conditions in Samsung factories? In Sony factories? In Dell, Acer, Asus, and HP factories?


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