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.