Apple announced Monday that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) will conduct special audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China.
Apple has been at the focus of controversy in the past several weeks following a New York Times article outlining labor issues at Foxconn facilities. Foxconn does not build products exclusively for Apple, but Apple is one of their largest and most prominent customers. The Times’ article ran shortly after Apple posted record quarterly profits. The controversy has caused some Apple customers to put their names to petitions demanding change in Apple supplier facilities.
“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”
The FLA “will interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management,” according to Apple, and it will also inspect manufacturing facilities, the dormitories where workers are housed, and other facilities.