Apple Store Graciously Receives Workers’ Rights Petitions

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As promised, a group of activists handed over petitions concerned with workers’ rights to the Apple store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The petitions were organized by SumofUS and Change.org and represented 250,000 signatures.

The Apple store employees seemed well prepared to accept the documents. Apple Insider reported that the media people present outnumbered the dozen or so activists involved in the hand-over. This gesture is slated to be repeated at the San Francisco store later today, and perhaps London, Sydney, and Bangalore as well.

Petitions being handed over to Apple employees

Change.org activists handing over petitions to Apple store employees in New York (credit Roger Cheng, CNET)

The petition sponsored by Change.org seems to have been prompted by a story from National Public Radio’s This American Life show. That show explored the working conditions at Foxconn factories in China where iPhones are manufactured.

The petition did not call for a boycott of Apple products, but instead it had two requests: 1) “that Apple release a worker protection strategy for new product releases,” and 2) that Apple publish the results of the Fair Labor Association’s monitoring of its suppliers.

The second request should be pretty easy to comply with as it’s the FLA that publishes its findings, not Apple. The merit of the first request will be for Apple and Foxconn to decide.

Apple is only one of several US companies that employ Foxconn and its workers to build its products, but the petitioners used Apple’s own words from the the Think Different campaign against it: “The people who think they [sic] are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Comments

rwahrens

Grandstanding.  If these folks were really interested in making change, they’d be handing that petition over to companies that do not even attempt to improve worker conditions, instead of to a company that already does.

As for the first condition, see here:

http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/code-of-conduct/labor-and-human-rights.html

Lee Dronick

Grandstanding.? If these folks were really interested in making change, they?d be handing that petition over to companies that do not even attempt to improve worker conditions, instead of to a company that already does.

Or give them to the Chinese Embassy and Consulates.

gnasher729

Grandstanding.? If these folks were really interested in making change, they?d be handing that petition over to companies that do not even attempt to improve worker conditions, instead of to a company that already does.

But wouldn’t that be pointless? If a company doesn’t care, they don’t care, and no petition is going to change it.

Lee Dronick

But wouldn?t that be pointless? If a company doesn?t care, they don?t care, and no petition is going to change it.

Good point. At the very least maybe it would get the talking heads on TV to stop implying that Foxconn is an Apple owned factory.

I would love to see Apple, and others, bring manufacturing back here. I understand that is easier said than done, but that doesn’t change my feelings on the situation.

aardman

But wouldn?t that be pointless? If a company doesn?t care, they don?t care, and no petition is going to change it.

You will be surprised how fast a company (as long as it’s name isn’t Halliburton) gets religion when they’re put in the spotlight.

aardman

I would love to see Apple, and others, bring manufacturing back here. I understand that is easier said than done, but that doesn?t change my feelings on the situation.

Those Foxconn assembly jobs are labor intensive, low tech, piece-work jobs that will just be totally nonviable at US wage scales.  Steve was telling the truth when he said those jobs are gone forever.  And that’s not Apple’s or any other person’s fault. They don’t do those in Japan, Canada, Germany, and the rest of western Europe, and the only reason we would want jobs like those to come back here is if we aspire to become a 3rd world country.

And even if Apple somehow is able to bring home iPhone assembly, it would be in an ultra automated factory that would employ a handful of people.  The factory would actually look deserted save for the machines that seem to run on their own.  Right now though, the technology to make that factory feasible is either non-existent or deathly expensive.

Lee Dronick

@aardman

As I said easier said than done, but I still want manufacturing and assembly done here. Even if it only creates a few thousand jobs, or even a hundred, but a lot of robots. It is more than just jobs, I don’t trust the Chinese not to put backdoors into our electronics. Maybe there is oversight to see that it doesn’t happen/ However, since it is something I would do if I was building electronics for an economic and military rival I have my concerns.

Not to say that Foxconn can’t continue to build Apple products for the Chinese and other Asian markets.

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