Apple has been in the news recently, but not for a new product or software launch. Instead, Apple has been criticized for not being strict enough with monitoring the companies that make its various hardware devices like the iPad and iPhone. The main focus has been on the treatment of workers at Foxconn plants in China. Last week, groups organized a protest at Apple's Grand Central Station store in New York City and presented a petition asking Apple to do more to protect the workers at these factories.
Today, Apple announced that it would be working with the Fair Labor Association to conduct "special" inspections of a number of plants that assemble Apple's products. Those plants include Foxconn factories located in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. Apple claimed that the first inspections started earlier today at Foxconn's Shenzhen facilities, which are known as Foxconn City.
The Fair Trade Organization is supposed to interview "thousands" of these factory workers to find out more about their working and living conditions. The group plans to release its preliminary findings sometime in early March. Ultimately, the special inspections will cover over 90 percent of the factories where Apple products are made.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is quoted in the press release as saying:
We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers. The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.