Organizers of an online petition say they’ve collected 250,000 "signatures" to draw attention to working conditions at Chinese factories where components for Apple products are assembled.
Representatives from Change.org and SumOfUs.org will hold a press event at the Grand Central Apple Store in New York City Thursday. The groups want the Silicon Valley giant to respond to criticisms of alleged worker abuse in Chinese warehouses and commit to creating what they call an "ethical" iPhone 5.
Washington, D.C. resident Mark Shields started the campaign.
I have been a lifelong Apple customer and was shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apples supplier factories,” Shields said. At Foxconn, one of Apples biggest manufacturers, there is a history of suicides, abusive working conditions, and almost no pay. These working conditions are appalling, especially for Apple.”
Foxconn has acknowledged many of the problems, but recently said it has taken steps to remedy them. The concerns didn’t stop hundreds of Chinese from lining up at a labor agency last week to get jobs assembling Apple products. Nothing official on a release date of the iPhone 5, but pending production has led many industry experts to speculate that it will be available sometime this summer, perhaps to be introduced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
"I use an iPhone myself,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs. I love it, but I don’t love having to support sweatshops, and neither do millions of other Apple consumers. The hip, educated market that Apple aspires to corner is largely composed of responsible consumers who dont want to be complicit in sweatshop labor.”
Petition "deliveries" will take place in other sites Thursday, including Washington, D.C.; New York; San Fransisco; London; Sydney; and Bangalore. All ask Apple to improve its commitment to worker protection.