On Thursday, protesters around the world plan to descend on Apple stores. Included in the protests will be the presentation of a petition signed by 250,000 people, which asks the company to develop a worker protection strategy in response to reported abuse in Chinese supplier factories. Among the stores to see a petition delivery will be Apple's new Grand Central Terminal store, at 10 a.m. EST.
Mark Shields created the petition on Change.org. He said, “I have been a lifelong Apple customer and was shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apple’s supplier factories. At Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest manufacturers, there is a history of suicides, abusive working conditions, and almost no pay. These working conditions are appalling, especially for Apple.”
Other petition deliveries will take place at Apple stores in Washington, D.C.; New York City; San Francisco; London; Sydney, Australia; and Bangalore, India.
Apple may have said that however, but the suicides at Foxconn as well as the explosion that took place at Foxconn's Chengdu facility in 2011 seem to belie that. However, despite the protests, consumers are at least partly to blame for the conditions at the factories. As a current Apple exec said to the NYT, speaking anonymously,
"You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards. And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China."