Apple lovers want the company to take a more ethical path when manufacturing its iPhone and iPad devices. On Feb. 9, protestors plan to hand-deliver petitions to at least six Apple stores.
Fans of Apple products are
asking the device maker to live up to its own advertising and think differently,
especially when it comes to how the company manufactures its iPhones and iPads.
New York Times
ran a seven-page exposequickly followed by similar
reports from CBS News and "This American Life" among other news
outletson worker conditions at the Foxconn factory in China, which
manufactures products for Apple among other top electronics brands, Apple's
biggest fans are calling for change.
On Feb. 9, a petition
created by Change.orgnow nearly 200,000 signatures strongas well as one from
SumofUs.org, nearing 60,000 signatures, will be hand-delivered to Apple retail
stores in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, London, Sydney and
has reported. The events are trending on Twitter under the tag #OccupyApple.
"Your own ads say that
'the people who think they are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do,'" Change.org's Mark Shields wrote in the petition,
which includes "two simple asks." They are:
First, in regards to the
worker traumas described in the ["This American Life"] story, ranging
from suicide attempts to the people losing the use of their hands from
repetitive motion injuries, 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.
Second, since the TAL story
aired, Apple has announced that the Fair Labor Association will be monitoring
its suppliers. Awesome step. Please publish the results of FLA's monitoring,
including the NAMES of the suppliers found to have violations and WHAT those
violations are, so that there is transparency around the monitoring effort.
The iPad 3 is expected to
debut in March, but the SumOfUs petition focuses on the next iPhone.
"Right now, we have a
huge opportunity as ethical consumers: The launch of the iPhone 5 later this
year will be new Apple CEO Tim Cooks first big product rollout, and he cant
afford for anything to go wrongincluding negative publicity around how Apples
suppliers treat their workers," states the SumOfUs petition. "Thats
why were launching a campaign this week to get Apple to overhaul the way its
suppliers treat their workers in time for the launch of the iPhone 5."
Apple's only response so far
has been a company-wide email from CEO Tim Cook to employees, assuring them
that any insinuation that Apple doesn't care about workers is "patently
"Accusations like these
are contrary to our values. Its not who we are," Cook said in the email,
which went on to say that Apple continued to "dig deeper" on issues
and work to resolve them.
"What we will not
doand never have doneis stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our
supply chain," said Cook.
Certainly, it seems one
needn't dig far to find problems. A recent CNN report included an interview
with a Foxconn worker who said she made less than a $1 an hour for her work.
"I almost feel like an animal," she told CNN of being worked so hard.
The New York Times
report described Apple, more than other competitors, insisting on the
slimmest margins from suppliers, forcing the latter to squeeze profits from
A Feb. 9 report from
Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley shows that Apple, during the fourth
quarter of 2011, held a "remarkable" 80 percent share of the
industry's operating profits. Samsung, which shipped 36 million smartphones during
the quarter, compared to Apple's 37 million, by IHS
held 15 percent of the industry's operating profits. Nokia and Research In
Motion each held 2 percent.
Shields, in his petition,
describes his delight in Apple products being replaced with "a terrible
knot," upon discovering the working conditions that made his Apple devices
"Please make these
changes immediately," he wrote, "so that each of us can once again
hold our heads high and say, 'Im a Mac person.'