Name: Lee Dong Yu
Student ID: 15963774
Individual Assignment: Apple’s Labor Issues and PR Miseries
Public opinion can be characterized as the thought of the society at a particular time towards any circumstantial incidents. The effectiveness of public opinion is amplified when people are assembled, united, massed and in mutual consent of the attitudes that is being publicized, popularized or due to societal pressure to conform. Public opinion can be manipulated and was stated by Adolf Hitler (1940) “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.” Public opinion is subjected to multitudinous influences that arises from every phases of life and according to Bernays (1928, 958), religion, science, art, commerce, industry are directly or indirectly influencing the societies, institution and communities opinions with strong convictions and desires. Looking at public opinion at a broadcasting standpoint, public opinion can be interpreted as the authority to sway the society towards ideas. In the interest of this appalling revelation of Apple and partners, Foxconn and in addition to the explosion of a factory on January 25, 2012 that manufactures iPads in Chengdu, China, which killed four and injured eighteen. This horrifying incident called forth the China Labor Watch to investigate factories of Foxconn in China. China Labor Watch helped a journalist organize a visit to Foxconn to report about working conditions in Foxconn (China Labor Watch 2012). As the crisis escalates, Apple executives came into the scene by emphasizing that the company and its partners have made significant improvements to the working and living conditions of its factories in recent years, claiming that Apple do has a supplier code of conduct that highlights the detailed standards on labor issues, safety protection and other welfare issues (Apple 2012) and in addition, improvements, amendments and the betterment of its system would be initiated and implemented through vigorous auditing campaigns undertaken by Apple furthermore Apple has been admitted to the Fair Labor Association as it represents a level of transparency and additionally a independent body regulating the company (Apple 2012). And according to CEO, Tim Cooks (2012) “Apple takes working conditions very, very seriously…We care about every worker…No one in our industry is doing more to improve working conditions than Apple.” And in addition, Apple did not shrink from the responsibilities, which initially belongs to the supplier. In more recent times, Apple has acquired the influence either economically or otherwise to impact society therefore society anticipates so much more from them, furthermore labor problem does not belong to Apple exclusively but Apple’s decision to leave the auditing to the Fair Labor Association for audits has already drawn much criticisms and according to Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman (2012), “The FLA has a long track record of being a mouthpiece for corporations.” The FLA public relations is to guard Apple from public criticism and did not pay die attention to the most fundamental problems such as labor intensity, student labor, safety and living conditions (China Labor Watch 2012). But in years 2007 to 2012, Apple has conducted over 500 audits (New York Times 2012) and serious violations have surfaced. This is a cause for concern for Apple executives and this has a caused a knee jerk reaction for Apple to react upon this violations. Apple has also clarified on their website stating that if any of their suppliers are identified with a violation, the respective companies have to address the problem within 90 days and make changes to their policies otherwise risking a termination of association from Apple. This ultimatum announced by Apple has shown that Apple and its suppliers do take the welfare of their employees very seriously. Facilities are re-audited and have shown continuous improvements and better working conditions and...
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