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California tells Apple, Others not to use Slaves

This isn’t a repeat from the 19th century

| by Nick Farrell in Rome | Filed in Business Apple California

California has introduced a law requiring Apple and thousands of others to make sure that slave labour isn’t part of the supply chain.

According to Reuters,  the law was written following allegations that Apple and Gap used forced labour to create their products.

The law will force manufacturers to explain how they guard against slavery and human trafficking throughout their supply chain. More than 3,200 major companies which do business in California  will be required to disclose steps they take, if any, to ensure their suppliers and partners do not use forced labour.

Companies will risk getting sued by the state attorney general if they flout that law.

Apple declined to comment on the new legislation but the law comes after controversy about working conditions at huge supplier Foxconn, where there were a string of suicides.

However, it’s not clear how this law could cause Apple much trouble as the last we heard, none of the workers at Foxconn were actually forced to work there.

Apparently the law defines child labour and slavery as forced labour. Apple had some problems with some of its suppliers using child labour, but said that it sorted that out. Read more

New York Times: Itinerant Life Weighs on Farmworkers’ Children

March 12, 2011

By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN
SALINAS, Calif. — A girl in Oscar Ramos’s third-grade class has trouble doing homework because six relatives have moved into her family’s rusted trailer and she has no private space.
A boy has worn his school uniform for two weeks straight because his parents are busy with harvest season.
And while Mr. Ramos patiently explains the intricacies of fractions, he is attuned to the student who confides, “Teacher, on Saturday the cops came and took my brother.”
“I know you still love your brother,” Mr. Ramos gently told him. “But let’s talk about your vision for your future.”
In the clattering energy of Room 21 at Sherwood Elementary here, Mr. Ramos, 37, glimpses life beneath the field dust. His students are the sons and daughters of the seasonal farmworkers who toil in the vast fields of the Salinas Valley, cutting spinach and broccoli and packing romaine lettuce from a wet conveyor belt: nearly 13 heads a minute, 768 heads an hour, 10 hours a day.
One-third of the children are migrants whose parents follow the lettuce from November to April, Salinas to Yuma, Ariz. Some who leave will not return.
“Dear Mr. Ramos,” they write, from Arizona or Oregon, “I hope you will remember me. …” Mr. Ramos, the child of migrants himself, always does.
Schools like Sherwood, and teachers like Mr. Ramos, are on the front lines, struggling against family mobility, neighborhood violence and the “pobrecito,” or “poor little thing,” mentality of low academic expectations.… Read the rest