By Quentin Fottrell
Protestors angered by the conditions at Apple’s factories in Asia will deliver a petition with 250,000 signatures to Apple stores around the world. Just don’t expect them to give up their iPhones.
On Thursday, in a coordinated effort around the world, a group of Apple customers led by Change.org, a for-profit social change advocate that earns money from providing services to non-profits, says they won’t be burning their iPhones and iPads, or even recycling them. (A spokeswoman for Change.org says it doesn’t sell access to email addresses of those who subscribe or sign its petitions.) In fact, they say they love Apple and want to keep using their products. “I love them and I don’t want to stop using them,” says Sarah Ryan, a human rights organizer at Change.org. “They are the best products that are out there.”
Despite all the love, Ryan and a posse of protestors will hand deliver their petition to the Apple Store at Grand Central Station on Thursday morning; stores in Washington D.C., New York, San Fransisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore will also receive the petition, which is asking Apple to improve its commitment to worker protection. Apple, in a report on released last month, stated that 62% of its suppliers across Asia — but especially in China — failed to comply with working-hour limits, and that five facilities employed underage workers. There have also been worker suicides at a major Apple supplier, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. in Taipei, Taiwan. A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment on the issues or petition.
The protestors acknowledge that this Apple protest is not exactly reminiscent of the bra-burning of 1960s protestors, but experts say that this may be only the beginning. “Nobody is burning anything on this particular occasion,” Ryan says. “Some critics see that as a ‘slacktivism’ approach to activism. It’s not a boycott of Apple products.” (Ryan also says that no non-profit paid for this particular campaign.) Scott Davis, chief growth officer at marketing consultancy Prophet, says Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t as beloved as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. “He doesn’t have the benefit of the halo Jobs had.”
Read here for “5 Reasons Apple Fans Don’t Care About Its Factories.”