Apple has announced that the Free Labor Association (FLA) has started to conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers—including Foxconn facilities in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China—at Apple’s request. According to a press release issued by the company, a team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City. As part of the inspections, the FLA will interview “thousands” of employees, seeking information on working and living conditions, inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories, and other facilities, and conduct an extensive review of documents related to employment procedures, all with the full cooperation of Apple. The release claims that the FLA’s findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted in early March on its website, with similar inspections of Quanta and Pegatron facilities to be conducted later this Spring. When completed, the FLA’s assessment will cover facilities where more than 90 percent of Apple products are assembled.

“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 Apple CEO Tim Cook. “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.”

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.