Skip to content
Subscriber Only

What's Behind the Foxconn Worker Riots?

Forty people were injured late Sunday in a fight that broke out among workers at a Foxconn plant in north Chinas Shanxi Province, government officials said
Forty people were injured late Sunday in a fight that broke out among workers at a Foxconn plant in north Chinas Shanxi Province, government officials saidPhotograph by Imaginechina/Corbis

What’s up with Foxconn? It was only earlier this year that they turned to a prominent labor-monitoring organization to carry out a review of factory conditions, in what seemed a real effort to clean up their troubled Chinese production facilities, which make Apple’s iPhone and iPad as well as electronics products for such other companies as Sony and Nintendo. That followed several years of bad publicity related to a rash of worker suicides, factory accidents, and allegations of poor working conditions.

And in late August the Fair Labor Association in Washington, D.C., which has been inspecting three of Foxconn’s Chinese factories, announced some progress. “The verification confirmed that Apple and Foxconn are ahead of schedule in improving the conditions under which some of the world’s most popular electronics are being made,” said the association’s president and chief executive, Auret van Heerden, according to an Aug. 21 press release.