Apple: We Have Nothing to Hide

In response to highly-publicized reports of poor working conditions at its Chinese assembly plants, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has requested that the Fair Labor Association conduct special voluntary audits of its assembly plants in China.

According to the press release, “the FLA will interview thousands of employees about working and living conditions including health and safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The FLA’s team will inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities, and will conduct an extensive review of documents related to procedures at all stages of employment.”

This morning, the FLA team began its inspection of the Foxconn City facility in China, which has been at the center of concerns over labor conditions in Apple’s production facilities overseas.

“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”

In January, Apple became the first technology company admitted to the FLA, which conducts independent monitoring and verification to ensure that the FLA’s Workplace Standards are upheld. Apple has been assured of full cooperation by its suppliers who have pledged full cooperation with the FLA and offered unrestricted access to their operations. The FLA’s findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted on its website, www.fairlabor.org, in early March.

Apple has audited every final-assembly factory in its supply chain each year since 2006, including more than 40 audits of Foxconn manufacturing and final-assembly facilities, as part of its ‘supplier responsibility’ program. Results of the more than 500 factory audits over the past five years are available at www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

Here’s how shares of Apple are reacting to the news:

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): AAPL shares recently traded at $500.49, up $7.07, or 1.43%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $310.50 to $497.62. Volume today was 8,759,421 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 12,549,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 14.21, while trailing earnings are $35.14 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Damien Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com