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Summary:

Hoping to attract the attention of Apple fans more interested in how their iPad is made than whether the Retina display is worth the upgrade or not, another coordinated, multi-store protest against working conditions in Apple’s third-party manufacturers’ factories is planned for Friday’s iPad launch.

tim cook new ipad

Hoping to attract the attention of Apple fans more interested in how their iPad is made than whether the Retina display in the new iPad is worth the upgrade or not, another coordinated, multi-store protest against working conditions in Apple’s third-party manufacturers’ factories is planned for Friday.

At 8 a.m. local time, the exact time Apple is planning to open the doors of its stores to sell the first of its third-generation iPads to hordes of customers — with plenty of news cameras on hand — Change.org will hold another demonstration, this time asking Apple to create “an ethical iPad.” They are petitioning Apple to create “a worker protection strategy” to prevent worker abuse and injury. Change.org so far has a little over 251,000 signatures on the petition.

The demonstrations are planned for Apple stores in Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco.

This follows a series of protests asking for “an ethical iPhone” last month at six Apple stores. Those attracted some media attention, but none were coordinated around an event like a new product sale. Apple typically has long lines of customers ready to buy new products at its stores the first day they’re available, so Change.org will definitely have a bigger audience and potentially better media coverage for Friday’s protest.

Apple has taken steps to assure its customers that it is trying to improve the conditions at its partners’ factories. Last month the company sent representatives of the Fair Labor Association, a trade group Apple joined in January, to inspect contract manufacturer Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, China. Audits are also scheduled for Foxconn’s Chengdu facility, and the factories of suppliers Quanta and Pegatron.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged the outcry from concerned customers and investors, saying, “We believe that every worker has the right to a fair and safe work environment, free of discrimination, where they can earn competitive wages and they can voice their concerns freely. And Apple suppliers must live up to this to do business with Apple.”

The leader of this ongoing protest, Mark Shields, said he appreciates the steps Apple is taking, but wants to draw more attention to new products like the iPad.

“It’s great to see Apple taking important steps like the factory audit this month, and pay raises for the factory workers,” said Shields in a statement. “But Apple hasn’t crossed the finish line yet. New product releases, like the iPad 3 this week, have typically been the most dangerous for workers because of the incredible pressure they are under to meet release production deadlines.”

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  1. Change.org is right, iPad workers are the only ones who slog to meet the deadlines. Rest of the world is not at the receiving end of the deadly deadlines!

    All those iPad workers and factories should be relocated to nice beaches where they have hammocks and Margaritas on the house at work, only then Apple has crossed the finish line.

    1. I wonder how many people from Change.org shopped at Walmart and used cheap products to prepare for their “ethical” march to an Apple Store.

  2. Conditions for Chinese workers are now so good that the work is moving to Africa. The problem has moved, China is not the centre of the world anymore. This, on top of Foxconn being the higher end of the employment market in China. So now those workers are losing their jobs. Nice work, change.org ;)

  3. I am sorry, but to single out one of the few companies that is actually trying to make things better, instead of the ridiculous amount of companies that use and abuse workers all day every day…its dumb, and it makes it look like strictly a publicity stunt.

  4. Someone mail me a penny postcard when change.org shows up to picket a sleazy unsafe coal mine in West Virginia or a sweat shop cranking out knockoffs of brand name frocks in Brooklyn, NY.

    No – there’s likely only one reason they focus on a name like Apple regardless of what Apple ever does – it brings sufficient publicity, especially from the most ignorant “news” sources for them to show growing numbers to whichever VCs and Angels they are trying to hustle.

    You can even mail that postcard postage due. I’ll pay for it. I don’t expect to hear that they’ve arrived somewhere they might get their hands dirty.

  5. BTW – just for giggles, Mark Shield – what was the name of the last factory you worked in, growing your solidarity with the workers of the world.

    I know it wasn’t the GE factory in Bridgeport where I started work at 17 – because you weren’t born yet. I know it wasn’t the Peabody Mine in the Navajo Nation where I worked at community support for the workers in UMWA District 65 during their last strike – because now I’m a retired old fart who believes that workers everywhere need support when they’re out on a picket line. I would have noticed another Anglo showing up to help out.

    C’mon, Mark. Tell me about that last time you showed up to help folks in Washington, DC, where you live — organize healthcare workers into a branch of Local 1199, maybe get a living wage on the fringe of your own neighborhood.

  6. Cheap publicity stunt…wonder when they’ll protest at the new [insert tech company] release of XYZ product…oh wait…
    http://scottsscripts.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/apples-work-practices-at-foxconn-really/

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