It’s been nearly three weeks since the New York Times published its now infamous report on the poor working conditions of overseas manufacturers, and Apple is still feeling the ripple effects. The iPhone-makers were named exclusively in the lengthy article regarding their poor efforts to correct the growing labor problems in China.

In response to the allegations, activists setup an online petition calling for Apple to release a “worker protection strategy.” And not only has the petition collected more than 250,000 electronic signatures, but the activists are about to take their protest to the next level…

BGR is reporting that representatives from both and SomeOfUs will join protesters tomorrow at 10am in front of Apple’s recently-built Grand Central terminal retail store to deliver the signed petition to the company.

Here’s the combined press release from the two organizations:


Apple users will deliver a quarter million petition signatures to Apple in global headquarters including Washington, DC, NYC, San Francisco, London, Sydney, and Bangalore.

Petition campaign demands that Apple make iPhone 5 “ethical”
New York, NY – Concerned Apple customers will deliver more than a quarter million signatures from campaigns on  and to Apple’s Grand Central Station, NYC location demanding the company respond to recent criticisms of worker abuse in their supplier factories and commit to creating an ethical iPhone 5.

When: Thursday, February 9, 10:00am ET

Where: Apple Store, Grand Central Station, 89 East 42nd Street New York, NY 10017

What: Local consumers will deliver more than 250,000 petition signatures to Apple, asking the company to develop a worker protection strategy in response to reported abuse in Chinese supplier factories.

Visuals: large iPhone posters, large amounts of printed handouts for delivery

Mark Shields, an Apple user from Washington, DC, launched his campaign on after learning about poor working conditions in the Chinese factories where many popular Apple products are manufactured, including the iPhone. His campaign has been featured in the Boston Globe, CNN International, Guardian, BBC, and other national publications.

“I have been a lifelong Apple customer and was shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apple’s supplier factories,” said Mark Shields, who launched the campaign on  “At Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest manufacturers, there is a history of suicides, abusive working conditions, and almost no pay. These working conditions are appalling, especially for Apple.”

More than 55,000 SumOfUs members have signed that organization’s petition already, making it the most viral petition since SumOfUs, a new global grassroots community of consumers fighting for corporate accountability, launched just over two months ago. More than 35,000 of the petition signers say they buy Apple products, including over 20,000 iPhone users.

“I use an iPhone myself,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs. “I love it, but I don’t love having to support sweatshops, and neither do millions of other Apple consumers.The hip, educated market that Apple aspires to corner is largely composed of responsible consumers who don’t want to be complicit in sweatshop labor.”

“Apple’s attention to detail is famous, and the only way they could fail to be aware of dozens of worker deaths, of child labor, of exposure to neurotoxins is through willful ignorance,” she added. “That’s why our members are asking Apple to clean up its supply chains in time to make the iPhone 5 its first ethically produced product.”

The petition delivery is being coordinated globally by concerned consumers. Petition deliveries will take place in Washington, DC, New York, San Fransisco, London, Sydney, and Bangalore, all asking Apple to improve its commitment to worker protection.”

We’ve heard the expression, “the tallest trees catch the most wind,” but this is ridiculous. Not only is Apple one of just hundreds of manufacturers that outsource assembly jobs to China (so does Sony, Amazon, Microsoft, Nintendo), but it’s one of the few companies that seems to be making a conscious (or at least public) effort to change things.

Just last month Apple joined the FLA (Fair Labor Association) — the first and only technology company to do so. And it’s also recently published a list of over 90% of its suppliers in an effort to maintain supply chain transparency.

Tim Cook responded to the NYT article by addressing Apple employees in an internal email. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, he has to say about tomorrow’s events.

What do you think of the Apple Store protests?

  • If no one act, why should they change things.

    Only the customer have the power to start a change of this modern slavery.

    • Can you check Wikipedia or do a search of FOXCONN before ripping Apple a new one? Almost all of the smartphones, half of the electronics produced an article reported ALL USE FOXCONN and similar companies and they are hiring another 100000 right now who WANT their jobs the conditions are for the company and country to fix. But picking on Apple is cool right? Pick on all of the companies that use them then!

      • Emre SÜMENGEN

        Nice point! Definitely agree..

        But, as you said, it’s much easier (and cooler, nowadays) just to pick/poke Apple…

  • Anonymous

    nice article

  • Anonymous

    Good for them I signed last week.

  • I hope all those people also realize that every electronic in their house is made this way.

  • Its a joke that out of 100+, only one is staged against…
    where is the rest, and not protest to those who not even tell you that they abused the labors too…
    The fire on Apple will definitely forces a change on Apple, still you should fire against the rest, else they might think they are “safe”

  • Some people are saying the charges against Apple are slightly overblown. But only in the way that losing an arm in a car accident is overblown compared to losing a life. Conditions are terrible, just not the wildly terrible the media makes it out to be.

    Ok, say that is true. Apple still needs to fix the terriable. It’d be like building a car that only spontaniously injuries a few of their owners instead of all them. Apple needs to stop aspiring to be mostly ethical, and be totally ethical. We expect that of Apple.

    But we as consumers need to face that we turned a blind eye to the obviously. Did we as consumers really believe that Apple could build tens of millions of these complicated devices in a matter of a few months for a fairly cheap price and not cut a few corners on workers rights. We knew in the dark recesses of our minds that something fishy was going on. But we needed the best and most popular device, and pretended that maybe things were alright.

    • Research FOXCONN on WIkipedia, anywhere then dump it on Apple

  • Anonymous

    I signed as well. Good to see.

    • Look FOXCONN up on Wikipedia or ANYWHERE and you’ll see your electronics are made by parts them make too most likely.

  • All android users, sign up sign up !! Cant find better opportunity than this.

    • Anonymous

      This has nothing to do with android vs ios. why would android users care other than to make the factory have better worker conditions.

    • Yes because your devices are made from the Foxconn factory’s parts too.

  • Oh. And you android users. Don’t think for an instant your devices are made any better. They are just as bad if not much worse when it comes to workers right.

    • Anonymous

      see, thats were your wrong. In this case android is better because each individual android device is not produced in the mass quantity that apple produces their products. So in this case, samsung, sony, lg, etc. dont force enough of a demand to create conditions like this. Well, at least thats my opinion.

      • I do see your point. And I don’t want to get all fanboy over this. The point I was making is the smartphone market in general has gotten too big for workers rights controls, and everyone needs to look at their supply lines. Apple has one supply line. Android has dozens. Android might be smaller by each brand, but Android is much bigger in devices sold. Apple might be at 29.5 percent by market share but android has 40+. And Samsung, LG, and Apple alll have parts suppliers they share. Apple still has a ton of stuff in thier phones made by Samsung even though they are sueing eachother over patents. Every smartphone manufacture needs to step up. I respect Android big time. I prefere Apple. But everyone needs to help fix this problem.

      • LG, Samsung, and other top Electronics makers all have assembly done through Foxconn, not as many at one time but kicks Apples as$ in quantity over time.

    • Nice to see a voice of reason that is so true and half of all electronics produced. Thanks

  • Melvin Wong

    I’m amused at how one man is shocked to find that his apple products are outsourced to China. Must be living with his head in a hole since the 80s…he also doesn’t realize that it’s a vicious cycle. One wants more affordable goods, more competitively priced goods, eventually the labour markets will shift towards those countries with the lowest average wages, and with low wages, comes poor worker conditions. Unless we can find some unlimited source of energy and free labour, companies like apple, asus, acer, Sony, dell, etc. are and will build factories in places where their costs are the lowest. Want more iPhone 5’s faster? Those workers in Shenzhen are going to have to work even harder building the things. It’s a scale we’re on, shifting it one way unbalances it another way. Either that or the companies will just farcically appear to improve, and then life goes on as normal.

    • sn0wbaLL

      +1 I agree, these protests are absurd!!!

      • Check FOXCONN on Wikipedia or anywhere and see the LONG list of names of companies that make most of the phones, tablet, TV and other electronics parts and then pick on ALL of them and they are hiring another 100000 workers as we speak they WANT their jobs and the conditions are a result of the factory and COUNTRY not of Apple or the US.

  • This is WRONG
    Check FOXCONN on Wikipedia or anywhere and see the LONG list of names of companies that make most of the phones, tablet, TV and other electronics parts and then pick on ALL of them and they are hiring another 100000 workers as we speak they WANT their jobs and the conditions are a result of the factory and COUNTRY not of Apple or the US.

  • Dan

    people protest about working conditions… what will they do when those workers have better conditions and the phones now cost 4x the price they are now?

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    More worker rights=higher wages
    Higher wages=less profit
    Less profit=finding new lower cost outsourcing
    New lower cost outsourcing=going to another country
    Going to another country for lower outsourcing=Lost jobs in China
    Lost jobs in China=Less taxes for the Chinese Government
    Less taxes for the Chinese Government=They do not want more worker rights.

    Its a vicious cycle, so lets just let economics sort this all out. No need for protests.