Thursday, March 15, 2012

On launch day, protesters set to demand ethical 'new iPad' at Apple stores

In early February, protesters took to several Apple stores and delivered a petition asking Apple to build an "ethical iPhone," by creating a worker protection strategy in response to reported abuse in Chinese supplier factories.

On Friday, with the release of the new iPad (the third-generation iPad), protesters plan a similar event, with Apple stores in Washington, DC, New York City, and San Francisco targeted. The protesters will, it sounds like, present store management with the same 250,000 signature strong petition.

The campaign is being run by and, but it was first begun by Apple enthusiast Mark Shields, who launched the campaign in February after learning of the poor working conditions in Chinese factories that Apple counts on for the bulk of its manufacturing.

In an emailed press release, Shields said,

"It's great to see Apple taking important steps like the factory audit [by the FLA of Foxconn and other Apple partners] this month, and pay raises for the factory workers, but Apple hasn't crossed the finish line yet. New product releases, like the iPad 3 this week, have typically been the most dangerous for workers because of the incredible pressure they are under to meet release production deadlines. That's why 250,000 consumers have signed their names to the petition asking Apple to release a strategy for protecting their workers during new product launches. We want them to use their trademark creativity to help make life better for their factory workers."
One of the reasons that manufacturing will NEVER return from China was in a still-earlier New York Times story on Chinese factories. There, it cited an example of Apple changing the screen on the iPhone at the last minute. Managers immediately roused 8,000 workers and got them working on the change. That's what Shields is speaking of in the paragraph above, in terms of pressure.

Apple retail stores will open at 8 a.m. local time in support of the new iPad launch.

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