redletterdave writes: "Apple announced on Monday that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has begun inspecting Foxconn's Chinese factories, upon Apple's request. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said that Auret van Heerden, the president of the FLA, is leading a group of labor rights experts in the first round of inspections at the sprawling plant in Shenzhen, China, more informally known as "Foxconn City." The FLA's independent assessment — completely supplementary to Apple's own auditing practices — will involve interviewing thousands of Foxconn employees about the working and living conditions, including working hours, compensation, managerial issues, and health and safety conditions. Foxconn has "pledged full cooperation with the FLA," and will reportedly allow unrestricted access to all of their operations. The investigative team will report their findings in early March on the FLA's website. Apple's other suppliers, including Quanta and Pegatron, will be inspected later this spring. By the time summer rolls around, the FLA hopes to have covered 90 percent of facilities where Apple products are built and assembled."