New Orleans In the space of days the attempt by the giant Apple Computer company, that, let’s be honest, knows better, to scam consumers by foisting off a so-called monitoring outfit that it has bought and paid for, has gone from being controversial to being simply pathetic. The news today has the Fair Labor Association’s president, Auret van Heerden, over in China auditioning for a role as “little Miss Mary Sunshine,” rather than even acting as if he is the head of monitoring combine that would know anything about workers’ industrial conditions and standards, much less care. Two days into the job and weeks before the so-called report by FLA would be written he was spouting off to National Public Radio according to all reports essentially that the giant Apple supplier, Foxconn, was simply the bomb, declaring that Foxconn’s facilities are first-class” and that “Foxconn is really not a sweatshop.”
Van Heerden is clearly not simply a puppet, but a clown, and he must go. Immediately! Steven Greenhouse from the Times, caught his #2 Jorge Perez-Lopes for some comments, and the old #2, and future #1, pulled the rug out from under Van Heerden without hesitation saying, “The work we’re doing at Foxconn is not about first impressions…” and further, “the proof will be in the pie…when the report comes out.”
It will not be enough to simply pull Van Heerden’s foot out of his mouth and switch him for Perez-Lopez. If there had been any question remaining anywhere about the ability of the Fair Labor Association to be anything other than a corporate shill, that is now laughably history.
Other monitoring outfits, Verite, and the Workers Rights Consortium, couldn’t restrain from putting a stake through the heart of FLA and this entire pretend investigation.
Apple is not stupid. They must know that any attempt to hide behind an FLA “investigation” is now over and the whole show is now nothing more than farce.
As Van Heerden resigns from FLA, as surely he must, it will not be enough to change horses in the middle of this stream, FLA has to either be fired and removed by Apple, or they need to withdraw so that some outfit that actually knows how to monitor global suppliers and cares about workers and the conditions in which they labor, gets this job. As it is now, anything that FLA touches won’t even provide the fig leaf that Apple needs to pretend that its products don’t have anything other than sweat and blood all over them, no matter how pretty they might look to teenagers and others.