The group SumOfUs created an online petition calling for ethical treatment of workers building Apple products
For the past few years, Apple has been rife with horrible news from its suppliers. Foxconn, an Apple supplier and subsidiary of Hon Hai, first made huge news in 2009 when employees started to commit suicide. It had gotten to the point where Foxconn started forcing its employees to sign agreements that they would not kill themselves. A group called SumOfUs is hoping to change all this with an online petition.
Since word of the first Foxconn suicide, stories have been surfacing about the working conditions at the company's compound, and the NY Times recently did a piece on the human cost of producing gadgets like the iPhone. Factory explosions and poor working conditions have taken its toll on the people working at Foxconn.
While Apple isn't Foxconn's only client or customer, SumOfUs claims it probably has the most power to influence the latter's working conditions and policies.
SumOfUs paints a grim story to highlight its cause:
On the other side of the world, a young girl is also swiping those screens. In fact, every day, during her 12+ hour shifts, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling n-hexane, a potent neurotoxin used to clean iPhone glass, because it dries a few seconds faster than a safe alternative. After just a few years on the line, she will be fired because the neurological damage from the n-hexane and the repetitive stress injuries to her wrists and hands make her unable to continue performing up to standard.
The group hopes that gathering enough signatures--there are approximately 50,000 signatures as of this writing--will spur Apple to use its weight to sway its suppliers with regard to labor conditions reformation.
With all the cash that Apple has in the bank, it'd be nice if it could bring back some jobs to its home country, potentially eliminating some of these problems in the first place.
Would you be willing to pay more for your smartphones and tablets if it meant safer and more ethical working conditions for the people who make them?