Apple, still reeling from all the negative press from the NY Times piece on practices at their subcontrators plants in China, has hired a new watchdog to ensure that the plants are run in a safe manner. The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending sweatshop conditions in factories worldwide. It is made up of universities and nonprofit groups, along American companies that have offshored parts of their global supply chains to countries like China, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Not everyone is so enamoured of the FLA’s work. In the Times article, Jeff Ballinger, the director of the labor rights group Press for Change said, “The Fair Labor Association is largely a fig leaf. There’s all this rhetoric from corporate social responsibility people and the big companies that they want to improve labor standards, but all the pressure seems to be going the other direction — they’re trying to force prices down.” And if you can believe it, there is an organization designed to watch the work of the FLA, which is an organization designed to watch the work of manufacturers. My brain hurts.
As I have said before, Apple should avoid this whole mess by just moving iProduct manufacturing and assembly back to this country. Given their dominant position in the product area that is their bread and butter, they could probably keep their prices relative close to what they are now by dropping their profit margins from 50% to 40%. But what do I know?
A few other tidbits. I found a wonderful new Made in America blog/website yesterday. It’s called obviousamerica, and it is fantastic. The fellas at obviousamerica have been blogging for about 13 months and in that time have assembled a very impressive list of Made in America products. Way to go obviousamerica!
Finally, I found a great little U.S. made tool kit for you. Chapman Tools makes a very cool Master Tool kit that has tons of hex, slotted and Phillips bits and the famous Chapman mini racket in a great tough as nails case.
Jay Leno is a big fan of Chapman and if you go to the Chapman site you can watch a great video of Leno talking about Chapman.
At $89.00, the 5575 Chapman Master Kit is a steal.