Two major business reform groups have planned protests of Apple Stores in six cities, urging the company to ensure the safety of workers who manufacture its devices. On Thursday morning, representatives of Change.org and SumOfUs will deliver petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of people, many of them Apple fans and iPhone owners, and carry signs and leaflets protesting the company. The petitions call for Apple to work harder to ensure fair treatment of employees at Foxconn plants in China, following a series of reports on poor working conditions at the factories.
So far, the two petitions have a total of around 250,000 signatures, although some of these may be duplicates. While the organizers are aware that Apple is hardly the only company to contract with Foxconn and similar companies, the petitions focus both on Apple's iconic status and its extreme attention to detail. Change.org petition organizer Mark Shields, for example, says that he's singling out Apple because it's "supposed to think different." Shields tells the company that "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."
While Apple has already joined the Fair Labor Association, the Change.org petition asks Apple to publicly release the FLA's findings, including the names of suppliers that have violated standards. It also calls for Apple to create a worker protection strategy for new product releases, which create pressure that often leads to abuse. Nobody expects Apple to single-handedly fix global working conditions, but many hope that the company can lead the way in creating a higher standard for the electronics industry.