Still unhappy with Apple’s response to the New York Times’ series on labor conditions in Chinese factories that make iPhones and iPads, two organizations are planning a globally coordinated protest on Thursday. Representatives from Change.org and SumOfUs.org will deliver petitions to Apple stores in several major cities with the names of 250,000 people who want the iPhone maker to develop “a worker protection strategy” covering the people who build its devices in China.
The groups say they will deliver the petitions in person in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Fransisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore and will carry signs and leaflets.
The SumOfUs petition has more than 56,000 electronic signatures so far. According to the grassroots group, more than 35,000 of those signatures belong to people who say they are current Apple customers — 20,000 of them are said to be iPhone owners. The number includes Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, SumOfUs’ executive director, who says she love her iPhone but doesn’t “love having to support sweatshops.”
In the press release she adds:
“Apple’s attention to detail is famous, and the only way they could fail to be aware of dozens of worker deaths, of child labor, of exposure to neurotoxins is through willful ignorance. That’s why our members are asking Apple to clean up its supply chains in time to make the iPhone 5 its first ethically produced product.”
Apple has said it cares about workers and says it’s doing all it can to improve conditions at factories like Foxconn’s. CEO Tim Cook wrote in an internal email to employees earlier this month, “We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us.”
But even if that is true, it doesn’t change the fact that some iPhone owners and other concerned citizens aren’t satisfied with the current status of those factories, how workers are treated and paid, and will do what they can to continue to make this an issue for Apple.