Is Apple Serious?

After years of representing to shareholders that it properly monitors its supply chain for compliance with foreign laws, Apple now admits a serious history of derelictions.

CEO Tim Cook, whose 2011 income of about 300 million dollars is likely more than what Apple’s China based I-pod workforce makes in a year, says he wants to clean things up.  He says he understands what it is like to work in a factory because of his working class Alabama roots.  Really?

Apple engaged the Fair Labor Association to monitor its supply chain and the FLA found that some Chinese employees worked more than 60 hours a week and that many were exposed to hazards.  But is this just the tip of the iceberg?  What is the FLA and who runs it?  Is it the industry’s own watchdog or a truly independent monitor?  These are the questions the press needs to ask.

Now as to Mr. Cook’s take-home pay.  No one faults Mr. Cook for making a boatload of money — at least I do not — but if he is seriously bothered by Apple’s past conduct, maybe he needs to think about returning some of his bonus money since he now knows that the products that produced the bonus were not made in accordance with the law.