SumOfUs Protests iPhone Factory Conditions at Apple Shareholder Meeting

| News

Demonstrators from the activist group SumOfUs held protest signs outside of Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday to protest the working conditions in the Chinese factories that make the iPhone and iPad.

Protestors hold signs outside Apple shareholder meetingProtesters hold signs outside Apple shareholder meeting

Image credit: Neal Pann

Along with protesters outside the meeting, the organization plans to present the company with a petition demanding what they call an “ethical iPhone” during the standard question and answer session. The group claims to have over 300,000 signatures from several rights groups.

Protesters were lined up along the street outside the Apple campus ahead of the 10AM pacific time meeting holding signs demanding better conditions for iPhone assembly line workers. Several demonstrators were holding signs stating “Stop iSweatshops,” and “iWant an ethical iPhone.”

Protestors standing outside Apple's headquartersProtestors standing outside Apple’s headquarters

Image credit: Bryan Chaffin

Apple previously accepted petitions from SumOfUs and at its Grand Central Terminal store in New York City. The groups have been protesting what they see as poor working conditions and pay for the Foxconn factory workers on the iPhone and iPad assembly lines.

ABC’s Nightline hosted a special report earlier this week where its news team followed inspectors through Foxconn’s iPad production line and interviewed workers. The special didn’t reveal anything new, although it did show what appeared to be better than average working conditions compared to other factory jobs in China.

More protestors outside Apple's campusMore protestors outside Apple’s campus

Image credit: Bryan Chaffin

The rights groups protesting Apple, however, don’t think the factory workers are being treated as well as it seems and wants to see the iPhone and iPad maker do more to protect workers. Apple has already agreed to participate in third-party factory inspections.

With the shareholder meeting just beginning, there isn’t any word yet on the protester’s activities inside the event.

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So about 12 protesters out and about? This is news? Apple increasing wages and instituting better working conditions and labour rights, now that is news.

I’m all in favour of human rights and protest. I’m also in favour of balance and Apple does seem to be doing a fair job at improving the situation, especially in contrast to other western companies in China.

The nation of China has the gravest responsibility in these matters. It is doubtful that any nation has ever come out of poverty on anything other than the backs of it poorest people and that is where the problem in China lies today and at Chinese embassies is where the protests should be made.


My wife and I attended the annual meeting as we have for years and didn’t see the dozen or so folks protesting at all.

The meeting is held in Town Hall on the northwest side of the Loop and, from the photos posted, it appears the protestors were nowhere near the meeting.

Lastly, the factory worker issue didn’t come up at all during the meeting or Q&A session.

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