Before this summer, the thought of manufacturing companies never crossed my mind. I always believed that there was a plant manager and a bunch of robotic arms that completed tasks. It wasn’t until I had an internship with a manufacturer of rubber flooring that I realized how many different working parts human resources complete in this setting. During my orientation, I spoke with a safety consultant that they have on the premises. He spoke to me about the operations of the plant and his long terms goals for the company in order to create safe working conditions and motivate the plant workers. This plant has improved significantly over the last five years and complies/exceeds the labor laws. Even with the improvements I still had a difficult time understanding how some of the actions performed are safe for the workers in the heat of the summer.
One of the words the safety consultant continuously stressed was prevention. After listening to the podcast, I couldn’t believe the countless situations that could have easily been prevented. One that stands out to me is the worker who died after working a 34-hour shift. While listening to the podcast, I looked around my room at all the “stuff” and probably everything was made in China in plants similar to what Daisey described. Companies that send their labor overseas typically stress corporate social responsibility in the United States. Instead of putting their effort into “hiding” what is happening overseas, they should put it into making a change. If companies take the initiative to send the necessary protections with the jobs they export they can prevent future negative press and promote a more ethical industry.
At the end of the podcast, they spoke about Apple having a code of conduct for suppliers. Though they perform many audits and monitor their suppliers working conditions, it still does not make large changes in the life of the employees of these mega-factories. In the report, the names of the companies audited are not presented making it impossible for a third party to verify these facts. Industry leading companies, such as Apple, should have a transparent supply chain encouraging other companies to do the same.