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Apple’s Tim Cook Responds to Reports of Worker Abuse

January 27, 2012

Despite a phenomenal earnings report this week, Apple has taken a few rather brutal hits in the media related to the treatment of workers who assemble the iPhone and the iPad. In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly sent out a long letter to his staff refuting claims that Apple might be insensitive to worker mistreatment at its factories.

A recent New York Times report called Apple's success into question by offering a dark perspective on Apple factory worker treatment at Foxconn facilities in China.

Cook's response letter was obtained by 9to5Mac and goes into great detail regarding Cook's thoughts on the matter. Cook starts off by flatly denying any assertions that indicate a lack of concern on Apple's part.

"As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple's values today, and I'd like to address this with you directly," Cook wrote. "We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It's not who we are."

Cook goes on to cite specific actions being taken to address the matter.

"Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain," he said. "As we reported earlier this month, we've made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people."

And, on the matter of leadership, Cook says Apple is "attacking problems aggressively with the help of the world's foremost authorities on safety, the environment, and fair labor. It would be easy to look for problems in fewer places and report prettier results, but those would not be the actions of a leader."

Finally, in what seems more like a message to the public rather than his internal team, Cook mentions a company website devoted to the issue.

"We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do – and never have done – is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word," he concluded. "You can follow our progress at apple.com/supplierresponsibility."




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