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Apple suppliers get independent audits

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The organization auditing Apple’s supply chain in China says it will publicly release the names of the companies that it reviews.

The Fair Labor Association said its labor team will visit Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request, the company said in a statement Monday.

The names of the factories involved will be published with the group’s results, FLA spokesman Aaron Pickering said.

Apple joined the Fair Labor Association last month. The firm announced its membership at the same time it released its annual audit of its supply chain, which found that a majority of its facilities were not complying with Apple’s limits on how many hours employees were required to work per week and that 44 percent did not implement ergonomic risk assessments to prevent injuries from repetitive motions.

The information in that release and in media reports from the New York Times and National Public Radio’s “This American Life,” raised concerns among some Apple users and spawned two online petitions and six demonstrations at Apple stores last week.

Those protesting the conditions that have been reported in plants that manufacture Apple products have called on the Cupertino, Calif., company in the past to release that information. In its own audits of the supply chain, Apple lists violations in aggregate but does not attribute them to particular facilities.

Apple has said it is working to bring factory conditions in line with company standards. The company said it put about 1 million workers through education programs on working hours, wages and labor rights.

“We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told The Washington Post last week. “We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made.”

Pickering said that the FLA has assembled a team of labor experts to conduct the investigation. The assessors will visit the facilities the next few weeks. The first results from the Fair Labor Association’s audits will be made public in March.

Related stories:

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Apple’s Cook responds to criticism over labor violations

Apple report reveals labor, environmental violations

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