Apple Hoards Cash Offshore; Makes Products Abroad in Abusive Conditions

9:51 am in Uncategorized by Adele M. Stan

Stash That International Cash, Baby! (Photo: blatant world, flickr)

Stash That International Cash, Baby! (Photo: blatant world, flickr)

Go to any gathering, and you’ll find nearly every person carrying an iPhone or an iPad, despite the Apple Computer’s dismal record on labor practices. Apple executives must be laughing all the way to the bank — their Swiss bank, that is.

In its fourth quarter earnings report released last week, Apple Computer revealed that 2/3 of its on-hand cash – some $54 billion — is squirreled away outside the boundaries of the United States, presumably to avoid paying its fair share of taxes. In the meantime, reports Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a Hong Kong-based group, Apple’s major manufacturing contractors routinely subject employees to forced overtime, wage theft and no breaks — and even unprotected exposure to toxins.

Apple, together with rival tech firm Google, has been lobbying for a “tax holiday” that would allow them to bring some of those billions into the U.S. at a lower tax rate, promising that to do so would create jobs. But, as we reported, a similar measure tried in 2004 created few jobs, and instead rewarded companies that had kept their money overseas. Where Apple has created jobs is in China, where the workers who make its slick products are made to work in deplorable conditions.

A new SACOM report, “The iSlave Behind the iPhone: Foxconn Workers in Central China,” examines conditions at the Apple Computer contractor’s plant since the suicides of nine workers last year made big news. One thing that has changed: workers were given a raise — to all of $1.18 an hour. But workers are often shorted overtime pay, SACOM reports, and Foxconn even illegally withheld, during the Chinese New Year, payment for overtime already worked in order to prevent workers from taking the traditional holiday to visit their families. Read the rest of this entry →