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Apple announced Monday that it would cooperate with the Fair Labor Association with special voluntary audits of its suppliers' factories in Shenzen and Chengdu, China, a move inspired by the spate of bad press for its factories. "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 in a very visible press release sent out today.

According to the release, the FLA has already begun the process in China, and will interview thousands of employees about working, safety, and living conditions. Apple also mentions that it has audited every final assembly factory in its supply chain until 2006, though it was just last week that CNN reported on the still-awful working conditions in Foxconn's factories. And like the very-leaky e-mail Cook sent out in the wake of The New York Times' A1 story on Foxconn's horror stories, the release is more than happy to point readers and skeptics to the company's "responsibility" page. 

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