Steve Jobs and the Problem of Worker Mistreatment

Amidst the multitude of effusive profiles and stories that have followed Steve Jobs’ resignation as CEO of Apple, In These Times reporter Mike Elk argues that little attention–and by that we mean none–is being paid to Jobs’ legacy of worker mistreatment.

Writes Elk:

The labor practices in most of those countries manufacturing Apple products would shock most liberal appraisers of Jobs’ legacy. Apple has continued to use a Chinese contractor, Foxconn, to produce its iPads and iPhones, despite allegations of the company’s horrific workers’ rights abuses. Foxconn routinely forces it workers to work two to three times the legal Chinese limit and to work in brutal and often unsafe conditions that have led to many accidents, as Michelle Chen reported for Working In These Times. These working conditions led to 10 Foxconn worker suicides at the company’s Shenzhen facility in 2010 alone.

The suicide problem at Foxconn’s Chinese factories became so bad that the company put up steel wire to prevent workers from jumping and killing themselves.

Elk also points out that Apple Store employees are often forcibly kept part-time so as to avoid paying them health insurance, and that Apple may have broken anti-trust laws to keep computer engineer wages artificially low.

Anyone out there perpetuating the myth of Jobs as capitalism’s liberal paragon of virtue would be wise to read the rest of Elk’s piece.

H/T The eXile