- December 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Interesting…here’s the short article from tuaw and it has a link to the full story:
- December 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm
And in possibly not unrelated news:
“Reasoning for the potential move to the US reportedly centers around the rising labor costs in the Asian market, although the move may give some reason for pause to boosters for the American manufacturing, considering the famously low wages and poor working conditions that Foxconn has been strongly criticized for in the past …”
- December 11, 2012 at 1:40 am
We won’t know until it happens but I was under the impression that it may be Foxconn opening the plant in the USA.
I can’t imagine another company in the USA assembling Big Macs at low wages.
Given Tim Cook is a supply chain master I wouldn’t doubt that there’s a worthwhile reason beyond labor image to move assembly to the USA for a given Mac.
- December 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm
Fran’s, I’ve never read digitaltrends.com and after reading that diatribe, I won’t bother reading it again. I have no first hand experience in those factories, but I have read that the suicide rate in the campus factories is less than in the general population. Even one suicide is regrettable, but blogs still need to keep some perspective. All about someone’s agenda and not a well reasoned article at all. For one thing, in the USA, at a minimum employers must meet various standards such as OSHA that would preclude many of the problems that appeared in mainland China. I understand China have standards too but the practise of enforcement is questionable.
There has been conjecture that the number of people employed may be quite small which hardly will compare with the campus conditions in Foxconn’s enormous manufacturing sites in China. And it may be if Foxconn and Apple use this as an opportunity to introduce higher levels of robotics than currently used in much of Asia, the people employed may be spared those mind-numbing suicide-inducing assembly tasks. On a more positive note, given the enormous US manufacturing jobs lost since the Great Economic Downturn, it can only be the start of more good news to come. Tim Cook’s comments on Brian Williams’ Rock Centre were very telling: the problem isn’t the labour cost of manufacturing in the US, it’s the supply of an appropriately well-educated and trained workforce.
Hope my comments didn’t sound too much like the tone of the digitaltrends.com article but the article begs for a response.
iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
- December 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm
Sorry for not catching the auto-correction typo: “Fran’s” when I meant to direct the comment to Franz.
iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
- December 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm
I’ve been called much worse.
I’m not sure which part you think is diatribey – the first paragraph is pretty snide, I suppose.
You may be interested in FLA’s report from the beginning of the year; Apple agreed (invited?) them to audit the Foxconn plants.
“FLA found excessive overtime and problems with overtime compensation; several health and safety risks; and crucial communication gaps that have led to a widespread sense of unsafe working conditions among workers.”
The reports of child labour at Foxconn were confirmed by Foxconn’s own parent company just a few weeks ago.
Anyway, I posted because it’s hard not to see irony in Apple announcing U.S. production and Foxconn announcing U.S. plants. But the Digitimes report isn’t much more than rumour (and no mention of Macs).
[Rick Lang] “Reportedly, both Detroit and Los Angeles are being looked at as potential host cities for Foxconn plants in America, with the aim of manufacturing Apple’s much-rumored iTV product, making it the first Apple product to be domestically constructed in some time.”
I find it hard to reconcile “any job is a good job” optimism with Foxconn’s history.
- December 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm
Franz, I am aware of the extensive problems in Foxconn’s factories. I wasn’t trying to focus on that as much as the assumption that in America, it would be ‘ business as usual’ for Foxconn. Agencies like OSHA are tasked to ensure that doesn’t happen in America. And with Apple’s high profile, it won’t. No problem with your healthy scepticism though. The typical job in a Foxconn plant in the US in which Apple invests allegedly $100,000,000 to get it started will not be comparable to the typical job in Asia (sadly for the Asians).
Stepping back and looking at the many decades of labour markets in my lifetime, from my perspective in Canada which is similar to the US, manufacturing jobs have steadily eroded since the post-war boom into the 60s while different Asian countries have boomed in that regard, When I was young, we knew Japanese made goods were cheap and unreliable but their labour was cheap and over time the products became even superior to what we made in North America (automobiles for example, I drive Japanese cars after giving up on The Big Three car makers in the 70s). But as Japan excelled, them labour moved to South Korea and followed a similar development as Japan, cheap and inferior to begin with but not now. And the latest movement has been to China. Talk about cheap and unreliable, I once bought an vice made in China and the threads stripped about the second time I used it! China was copying everything but the quality. But that’s not true anymore as all countries (Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan) abound in innovation and research today. So much so that we are the ones who can travel to Asia to learn from them.
So I’m not trying to denigrate these Asian giants of industry. Just welcoming some manufacturing jobs to return to North America… It’s a start but we are so far behind now as Tim Cook implied in his interview with Brian Williams. I hope our young people have more opportunities than flipping burgers in a fast food joint as that’s no career. When I was young, opportunity was around every corner, and I’m so grateful for that. Manufacturing is a solid base that can lead to more opportunities of all kinds over time. It’s almost non-existent here in many sectors!
iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
- December 11, 2012 at 11:59 pm
[Rick Lang] ” Manufacturing is a solid base that can lead to more opportunities of all kinds over time.”
Maybe. But I think your own post raises questions about how solid the base is when manufacturing simply follows cheap labour. Surely this is part of the story too:
“Employees in right-to-work states have lower wages, on average, than their counterparts elsewhere, according to Richard Hurd, professor of labor studies at the ILR School at Cornell University. … The average full-time, full-year worker in a right-to-work state makes about $1,500 less annually, according to the Economic Policy Institute … The rate of workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance is 2.6 percentage points lower, while pension coverage is 4.8 percentage points lower.”
- December 12, 2012 at 2:47 am
“I think your own post raises questions about how solid the base is when manufacturing simply follows cheap labour. ”
I completely agree with you on that point. I don’t think Foxconn and/or Apple assembling iMac BTO computers this year (in Freemont, California) or manufacturing Mac Pro computers next year can be categorized as chasing cheap labour. If that was true, them these new jobs would be very ephemeral and would not be any stimulus to American manufacturing as you correctly point out. I understand Freemont was one of the locales where Apple used to make computers. California has been hard hit particularly in the aerospace sector as well as other areas. I hope they get a few jobs out of this. I used to live in LA.
iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
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