Victory for Bangladesh Garment Workers

Rana Plaza

While no court ruling or monetary sum could undo the hardships faced by thousands of garment workers and their families after the 2013 building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, two recent events help to bring some justice to victims. First, on June 1, 2015, Police in Bangladesh charged 41 people with murder over the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory complex, […]

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Enough is Enough: It’s time we knew the True Cost of our clothes

Will 2015 be the year when we say enough is enough? The year we hit the tipping point and start to see change in the global garment industry? The makers of the film The True Cost certainly hopes so. And so do I. The film, screening in cities around the world starting May 29, exposes the problems that exist, and still too often remain hidden, in the world of fast fashion. 2014, the year after Rana Plaza collapsed taking the lives of 1,134 garment workers, was the most profitable year on record for the fashion industry, estimated at roughly $3 trillion USD. And why is this so? Consumers around the world are fed messages that if only they purchase a certain garment to look a certain way, their lives will be better. And why not? It’s so cheap. If your life isn’t remarkably better after you buy said-garment, you can just buy another one. This trend is confirmed by the fact that we are consuming 500% more clothing than we were 2 decades ago. (Two decades ago was only 1995!) And we are throwing out more clothing too—on average 68 pounds of clothes per US consumer per year. This vicious cycle needs to stop, because it is workers and communities at the start of the supply chain that are paying the price for ever-more and ever-cheaper clothing. The price on the hangtag of a Zara blazer or Gap dress is […]

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For just $12.38 per iPhone, Apple could pay its workers a livable wage. 

Apple Wages Infographic

Today Apple’s shareowners will vote to approve the compensation packages of its top executives at its Annual Shareowner meeting in Cupertino, CA. The company broke records last quarter selling 74.5 million iPhones and earning $18 billion in profits. Executives will be rewarded lavishly: Tim Cook, CEO: $1.7 million salary, $9.2 million total compensation Other senior VPs: $947,596 salary, $28 million […]

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Two Years of Broken Promises

iPad Announcement Facebook

Green America and China Labor Watch (CLW) today released the findings of an undercover investigation we conducted in August 2014 at one of Apple’s 2nd tier supplier factories: Catcher Technology in Suqian. This factory manufactures metal casings for a number of consumer electronics companies including Apple, Inc. While at the factory, the investigator worked on parts for the iPad. This factory’s sister factories, […]

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Health and Safety Findings at Quanta, Mac and iPod Manufacturer

FLA Report

Last August the Fair Labor Association (FLA) conducted audits in two of Apple’s final assembly plants in China. These factories are both owned by Quanta–Tech-Com in Shanghai manufactures Mac computers and employs roughly 32,000 people and Tech-Full in Changshu manufactures iPods and employs nearly 5,000 people. The findings from these audits were released today, one day after Apple’s announcement to ban […]

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Apple: the Walmart of the High-Tech Industry

Co-authored by Joey Friedman Of late, most of Apple’s labor scandals have stemmed from supplier factories in China. Today’s Wall Street Journal, however, points to a labor problem much closer to home. On Monday July 21, 20,000 hourly workers in California filed suit against Apple for workplace violations. The case, originally filed back in 2011 by four Apple employees, now voices the position of 20,000 employees claiming Apple’s violation of wage and hour laws. Reports have been made that these employees were denied lunch breaks, rest breaks, and final paychecks while working for Apple. Other claims broadly illustrate mistreatment within the workplace. Multiple reports reflect that if certain labor policies were discussed among employees they became at risk for being “fired, sued or disciplined.” The claims made by the thousands of California-based staff members exhibits behaviors of a hostile and threatening work environment. It is possible that such a harsh relationship between staff members and management is what has kept these employees fearfully quiet for any length of time. It’s clear that while Apple offers admiral benefits packages for its corporate employees, its hourly retail workers (and the workers on the other end of its supply chain, assembling its prized iGadgets) are not treated as well. Apple is the second most profitable company in the world and recently announced second quarter profits of $7.75 billion dollars, up 12% since the same time last year. The company touts itself as a […]

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Lisa Jackson: Take a stand for the workers that make iPhones!

Today Green America and more than 80 allies, including environmental and human rights organizations, socially responsible investment firms, and occupational health professionals, sent a letter to Lisa Jackson, VP of Environmental Affairs at Apple. Jackson is the former administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. At the EPA, Jackson monitored benzene levels in the water and air to ensure no one was exposed to dangerous levels of this known human carcinogen and championed toxins-reduction in the environment. Our letter calls on Jackson to use her expertise and influence within Apple to make worker health and safety a priority in her second year at Apple. You can read the full text of our letter and view all signers here>>  To send your own message to Apple executives, use our new mock “app”: Want to end smartphone sweatshops? Here’s the App for that!

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The Problem with Benzene and Apple’s Off-Shore Solution

Benzene Graph

Chinese electronics workers are likely exposed to three times as much Benzene as US workers Since launching our Bad Apple: End Smartphone Sweatshops campaign we’ve received a number of questions about benzene, one of the chemicals known to be causing worker illness, including leukemia, in electronics factories. Benzene is both dangerous and ubiquitous.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies benzene as […]

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