updated 05:15 am EST, Sat February 18, 2012
ABC's Nightline gets special access to Apple ops
The ABC TV network has announced that it will be screening a special edition of Nightline next week focusing on working conditions in Apple's supply chain. The network received special permission from Apple, giving it rare media access to the inner workings of where Apple's products are made. Network anchor Bill Weir took a film crew with him into factories on Shenzhen China, claiming that he is the first journalist to ever get a look inside.
'For years, Apple and Foxconn have been synonymous with monster profits and total secrecy so it was fascinating to wander the iPhone and iPod production lines, meet the people who build them and see how they live," Weir says in the preview.
'Our cameras were rolling when thousands of hopeful applicants rushed the Foxconn gates,' Weir added. 'I spoke with dozens of line workers and a top executive about everything from hours and pay to the controversies over suicides at the plant and the infamous 'jumper nets' that line the factories in Shenzhen. After this trip, I'll never see an Apple product the same way again.'
A side effect of Apple's status as the poster boy for the technology industry is that the media glare has been firmly placed on the company and its Chinese manufacturing operations. This is despite Foxconn manufacturing for other high profile clients including Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Cisco, Nintendo, Dell, HP, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Toshiba and Vizio -- yet none of these company's have faced anywhere near the same level scrutiny as Apple.
Apple has also taken more steps than any other company to address the working conditions of all the employees in its supply chains. It has invited the Fair Labor Association to audit its Chinese operations and has also moved to have laborers receive pay rises. However, it is likely that the Cupertino giant will be bracing itself for additional negative press that may emerge from the Fair Labor Association report and the upcoming ABC Nightline investigation. As part of its aim to ensure greater transparency of its supply chain operations, Apple has also created a special webpage devoted to what it calls 'Supplier Responsibility at Apple,' an industry first.