Apple-Bashing: Since When Is a 60 Hour Work-Week Abusive?

by Darwin on March 29, 2012

This isn’t an Apple Fanboy defending the great father from criticism. This is just a reality check – a 60 hour workweek is not a big deal and it annoys me to no end that the mainstream media latches on to a theme to try and make a story where one shouldn’t exist.  When I wrote about Apple as the world’s whipping boy a few weeks back, shortly after, the shamed morbidly obese lying activist wanna-be stage actor Mike Daisy actually admitted that he fabricated the “horrors” of the FoxConn plants assembling Apple products (along with products for dozens of other companies that don’t get a mention because, well, Apple’s the most popular company in America right now).

Well, even after this admission and a general realization (or complete naivety) that Apple products are assembled by low-skilled/low-wage workers overseas, the media is still looking for link bait.  So, the latest horror includes a whopping 60 hour work-week from the NY Times.  Things like unsafe workplaces, child labor, abusive managers – now those are things that we should be concerned about.  But a 60 hour workweek??? I know tons of people working more than that in America (the same population that is so shocked by this revelation in China).  As I wrote about recently, I used to routinely work 60-100 hours a week in a factory myself. Granted, I wasn’t assembling iPhone, but I was on my feet, in charge of pretty serious stuff and I did this across nights, weekends and I did it for years.  I survived.  I made a good name for myself and a heck of a lot of extra money (at least I thought it was at the time), but nobody was crying foul then?!  The Wall Street crowd?  Doctors? Lawyers? They all work crazy hours.  My buddy who’s a creative ad executive?  He literally works 12-14 hours a day 5-6 days a week. Evidently, all the criticism has forced FoxConn to lower their max workweek to 49 hours, which is less than most American full-time employees put in.

I’m just confused as to why this notion of a 60 hour workweek is somehow shocking.  Or maybe it isn’t and the media realizes it’s a slow news cycle so they’re trying to create a story where they thought on existed.


What Are Your Thoughts?

Should Governments Impose a Maximum Hours Per Week?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Curiosity Killed the Blog March 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I used to work 50-60 hours a week all the time, and I was salaried, so I didn’t even get paid for the extra hours. Did it suck? Of course. Was it a crime against humanity? Not really. I had the option to find a different job, and that’s what I did. Foxconn employees have the same option, but it seems that Foxconn never has a shortage of workers – those “terrible” 60-hour work weeks are much better than what they would get in a lot of other places. I’m not saying it’s right; I just don’t think it’s worth all the outrage.


Darwin March 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I’m reading now they are very coveted positions; not a sweatshop at all.


ShortRoadTo March 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm

People need drama in their lives, so all reported stories are embellished. No, there should be no limit on the amount of hours worked. If this occurred, you would see massive inflation because labor costs would increase substantially.


Darwin March 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

How would Americans like if the Chinese were telling them how many hours they could work per week?


Marina K. Villatoro March 30, 2012 at 10:18 am

the reason the Developed world is complaining about 60 hours a week, that’s because they don’t know nor care about the real crimes of humanities, the over worked, almost slave labor like people who get treated like dirt in their countries!

Living in Guatemala, I see it first hand, how people are hired to do gut wrenching work for less than $150 a month.

Honestly, being self employed with 2 kids, I WISH I CAN WORK 60 HOURS a week!


Darwin March 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Every few years, the media picks up a cause – from blood diamonds to Nike’s factories. They thought this story would have legs and it did, but for all the wrong reasons.


Invest It Wisely March 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Didn’t you know? A 60 hour week is only cool if you’re a doctor or white-collar professional. 😉

Unless there’s coercion involved, like withholding of permits or other crap, then employer and employee should be free to come to whatever arrangements they see best, and others should lobby the government to ease the unfair restrictions against freedom of trade and contract, confiscatory taxation and implement sounder currency so that we can compete. 😉


Darwin March 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Evidently, people come from all over the (very large) country to land a job at FoxConn. I don’t think there are worker permits being witheld, slave labor, etc. like this Mike Daisy fabricated.


The College Investor April 1, 2012 at 1:26 am

I don’t think that 60 hours is unreasonable at all, even in a factory. I think more people, even in America, need to be grateful for a job and steady work.


101 Centavos April 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

There’s many an hourly worker that would consider 20 hours OT a week to be a sweet deal. That’s time-and-a-half on weekdays and double on the weekend or holidays, depending on the company and contract.


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