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Activists deliver petitions to Apple Stores worldwide

updated 04:55 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012

New York City action gets high publiclity

As promised, activists representing Change.org and SumOfUs delivered petitions to Apple Stores in New York City, Washington, San Francisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore on Thursday, according to AdAge. About 199,000 Change.org signatures were recorded, with another 57,000 from SumOfUs. In both cases, the groups are asking for Apple to come up with a way of reducing worker exploitation at Chinese suppliers like Foxconn.

At the Grand Central Apple Store, about 10 activists and twice as many reporters are said to have entered the outlet, where managers were given a cardboard box containing the printed signatures. Change.org's Shelby Knox attended the event wearing an iPhone sandwich board. "We're coming together as fans of Apple, who buy their products, to say, 'We want an ethical product,'" Knox is quoted as saying. "You are a leader in technology, and we want you to be a leader in bringing ethical products to the United States."

Another person at the event was Mike Daisey, perhaps best known for his monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which documented some of the conditions at a plant making Apple products. He is now accusing Apple of being "terribly arrogant" in response to criticism. "Its brand is in serious jeopardy now," Daisey claims. "Apple's greatest asset is their brand, and it does not take very long for a brand to be tainted. When I think of Nike even today, the second or third thing I think of are sweatshops."

Apple has taken a defensive approach, with CEO Tim Cook even going as far as to call it "offensive" to suggest the company doesn't care about supplier labor conditions. Issues at companies like Foxconn are well-documented however, such as underage workers, extreme overtime for little pay, and questionable safety.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +16

    this Daisey character...

    sounds like he is making threats. That kind of approach can and will easily backfire. None of these chicken livers have the guts, nohow, or balls, to go to China and do something about their complaints.

  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004

    +15

    Yes..

    Dear Apple,

    Change China's laws immediately and run all of your suppliers for them. You have a responsibility being the only client for Foxconn.

    Sincerely,
    Change.org

  1. chas_m

    Moderator

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +17

    Context

    While I applaud the petitions for the approach we took ("we like your stuff, please be (or continue to be) a leader in improving conditions"), I think a lot of the signers (and particularly this grandstanding Daisey guy) are being a little naive.

    As has been pointed out elsewhere (not by the NYT, but you know better-quality sites), conditions at Foxconn a) appear to be much better than either the agriculture sector or the rest of the industrial sector in China, IOW they're doing all they can without the government stepping up ... and b) Apple has ALREADY taken a leadership position on this issue without prompting. Foxconn isn't exclusive to Apple ... where is MS, where is Dell, where is HP, where is Sharp, etc etc? Heard anything from them? No? Wonder why?

    Daisey, to his credit, went to China and interviewed workers. Three years ago, but still. He got the scoop. He's right that it's appalling by comparison to western standards. But he didn't bother checking anywhere else to see if things are RELATIVELY better or worse. He didn't watch the documentary "Mardi Gras: Made in China" or any other evidence that this IS WHAT LIFE IS LIKE in the manufacturing sector, and he didn't bother to point out that Apple isn't even the biggest foreign manufacturer in China. He's using Apple's brand, and now effectively making a living off it -- of course he's going to fan the flames.

  1. fractaledge

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010

    +14

    OADW

    Yes, because as we all know Only Apple Does Wrong.

  1. BodegaBay

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011

    +11

    I'm a Liberal but these people live in a bubble...

    ...and frankly I want to tell them to P**** Off. Seriously, what are they going to do, switch to a Samsung, Lenovo, or HP product. h***, all electronic mfgs use CEMs to build these products for them. And a lot of the CEMs have substandard conditions compared to Foxconn. Don't preach about human labor until you're ready to give up your PCs, smartphones, or microwaves. Don't want to pay $1,000 for that smartphone, then don't b****. If you feel sooo rightcheous about it, leeeeave. Go protest in PRC and see where that gets you

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010

    +7

    The world's newest endangered species

    "Save the Chinese!"

  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2011

    +7

    Idiots

    They need to step up their game and also target the other 30 or 50 companies that use China for building their stuff too. Like I said, these guys are idiots.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010

    +12

    Western Imperialism

    I, for one, hope that Foxconn and other far worse offenders can improve the quality of life of their employees.

    But seriously, isn't this yet more Western Imperialism? Aren't we telling the Chinese, again, to be just like us? As we sit here in North America and Europe, sipping our lattes, tweeting our latest profound insights, engaging in the crucially important debate over the vices and virtues of all the various Superbowl ads.

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