Is Apple Learning Its Labor Lessons?

appleThe recent media limelight on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has helped improve its labor practices, though there is still a long way to go before it reaches acceptable standards, a new report has said.

How is Apple Changing?

Earlier this year, several media outlets published reports that an audit of factories belonging to Apple manufacturers had found terrible working conditions and basic labor rules being violated. The widespread attention led to Apple and Foxconn, its main manufacturing partner and the center of the problem, declaring their intentions to improve the conditions.

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The effects are showing, The New York Times said. Recent improvements include lowered hours and increased wages at Foxconn, increased transparency regarding practices, and a growing Apple corporate social responsibility staff. According to the report, Apple has also stopped treating labor issues “like engineering puzzles” and is instead adopting a “messier, more human approach.”

Cascading Effect or Miles to Go?

The changes at Apple and Foxconn are also forcing other tech companies, including Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) to take action of their own. “This is on the front burner for everyone now,” Intel’s director of corporate responsibility, Gary Niekerk, told The NYT. No one at Intel “wants to end up in a factory that treats people badly, that ends up on the front page.”

However, there were still gaps as the problem was too widespread to be solved easily. In addition, Apple could still work on transparency and taking a more proactive lead.