China Labor Watch alleges that Pegatron, a Chinese electronics manufacturer whose lengthy client list includes Apple, has been abusing its employees with poor working and living conditions. Predictably, the mainstream and tech media alike has linked these allegations to Apple. Now Apple has responded with a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
[China Labor Watch's] latest report contains claims that are new to us and we will investigate them immediately. Our audit teams will return to Pegatron, RiTeng and AVY for special inspections this week. If our audits find that workers have been underpaid or denied compensation for any time they’ve worked, we will require that Pegatron reimburse them in full.
Apple also noted that it has been in close contact with China Labor Watch and that it conducts regular audits at Pegatron and other supplier facilities. It also underscored its enrollment in the Fair Labor Association - the only technology company that has been admitted.
Pegatron is a supplier to a large number of companies. Products manufactured in its facilities include television sets, set-top boxes, cable modems, game consoles, video cards, and any number of products that Apple has no involvement in, like Google's Nexus tablet. Very few of the mainstream media or tech media reports linking this story have mentioned that Pegatron has any other customers.
Apple is considerably more transparent than most electronics manufacturers are about the standards they impose on their suppliers and their role in making sure their suppliers work up to local code. That and Apple's high profile may explain why China Labor Watch and other organizations have done their best to conflate Pegatron and other Chinese manufacturers like Foxconn with Apple at every opportunity - it makes for better coverage and easier headlines.