Thursday, February 9, 2012
Change.org: Petitioning Apple to Protect Factory Workers
Today, protesters visited a half-dozen Apple stores around the world to deliver petitions calling for reforms in the working conditions at factories run by Apple's suppliers in China and overseas locations. A demonstration at Apple's Grand Central Terminal store was one of them. At the protest was Shelby Knox, organizing director with Change.org. When interviewed for the reason he was there, he responded: "I'm a big fan of Apple products, but I can no longer ethically support products that harm the people that make them. When people join together, we can hold companies accountable."
These protests held worldwide actually stem from the online social activist site, Change.org. The petition, created by Mark Shields--a self-described lifelong Apple customer--has drawn almost 200,000 signatures already, aiming for 300,000 petitions before submitting it to Apple. SumOfUs.org, another corporate accountability lobbying group, has also already gathered 50,000 signatures against Apple's supply chain conditions.
The petition writes of one of many examples of why the working conditions in the factory needs to be changed: "the men and women in these factories work very long days spent repeating the same motions over and over, which creates amped-up carpal tunnel syndrome in their wrists and hands. This often results in them losing the use of their hands for the rest of their lives. This condition could be easily prevented if the workers were rotated through different positions in the factory, but they are not. Why? Because there are no labor laws in China to protect these people."
So, getting to the bottom line: what are the changes that are proposed?
1) For Apple to release a worker protection strategy for new product releases [because injuries and suicides typically spike during this period due to incredible pressure to meet quotas timed to releases]
2) For Apple to publish the results of Fair Labor Association (FLA) 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.
Go here today to sign the petition and make a change!