162,000 sign petition targeting Apple's Chinese factory conditions

The petition asks Apple to take steps to protect workers at factories that make iPhones and iPads

An online petition asking Apple to protect the Chinese workers who make its more popular products has gathered more than 162,000 signatures in just over a week.

The petition, at Change.org, is a response to recent media reports alleging poor working conditions at factories operated by Chinese companies that have contracts to build iPhones, iPads and other popular Apple products.

Mark Shields, a Washington, D.C., communications consultant, started the petition after hearing about working conditions in the Chinese factories on "This American Life," a radio show.

The same week as Shields started the petition, the New York Times published a lengthy story alleging long work hours and unsafe conditions at factories operated by Apple partner Foxconn Technology.

The radio report talked about repetitive motion injuries and other problems at Apple partner factories, Shields wrote in his petition. "We ask that Apple release a worker protection strategy for new product releases, which are the instances when injuries and suicides typically spike because of the incredible pressure to meet quotas timed to releases," he wrote.

Shields described himself as an Apple "super-user," but said the report upset him.

"Here's the thing: you're Apple," he wrote in the petition. "You're supposed to think different. I want to continue to use and love the products you make, because they're changing the world, and have already changed my life. But I also want to know that when I buy products from you, it's not at the cost of horrible human suffering."

Apple didn't respond to a request for comments on the petition. Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly "outraged" by the New York Times report. Cook promised in a letter to Apple employees to "dig deeper" into allegations of poor working conditions at the Chinese factories.

Shields' campaign has been "remarkable," said Amanda Kloer, director of organizing for Change.org, a site that allows users to start petitions. "He learned about an injustice associated with his favorite products, and instead of just feeling angry or sad, he decided to fight that injustice using his power as a consumer," she said. "It has been incredible to watch his campaign take off."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?