162,000 sign petition targeting Apple's Chinese factory conditions
Campaign presses for workers' rights at factories that make iPhones and iPads
TechLife | 03 Feb 2012 :
An online petition asking Apple to protect the Chinese workers who make its more popular products has gathered more than 162,000 signatures in just over a week.
The petition, at Change.org, is a response to recent media reports alleging poor working conditions at factories operated by Chinese companies that have contracts to build iPhones, iPads and other popular Apple products.
Mark Shields, a Washington, DC, communications consultant, started the petition after hearing about working conditions in the Chinese factories on radio show This American Life.
The same week as Shields started the petition, the New York Times published a lengthy story alleging long work hours and unsafe conditions at factories operated by Apple partner Foxconn Technology.
The radio report talked about repetitive motion injuries and other problems at Apple partner factories, Shields wrote in his petition. "We ask that Apple release a worker protection strategy for new product releases, which are the instances when injuries and suicides typically spike because of the incredible pressure to meet quotas timed to releases," he wrote.
Shields described himself as an Apple "super-user," but said the report upset him.
"Here's the thing: you're Apple," he wrote in the petition. "You're supposed to think different. I want to continue to use and love the products you make, because they're changing the world, and have already changed my life. But I also want to know that when I buy products from you, it's not at the cost of horrible human suffering."
Apple didn't respond to a request for comments on the petition. Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly "outraged" by the New York Times report. Cook promised in a letter to Apple employees to "dig deeper" into allegations of poor working conditions at the Chinese factories.
IDG News Service