Consumer groups are planning to protest Apple stores this morning in the wake of The New York Times explosive investigation into working conditions at Foxconn, Apple’s primary manufacturer. We’re curious what took everyone so long, considering Wired magazine’s similarly eye-opening feature about Foxconn came out almost a year prior. (Perhaps they wanted to see whether that iPhone 4S was going to be 4G?) But regardless, blood iPhones are the new Nike sweatshops and people are thinking about the hidden costs of coveted objects again.
Leading the charge are the lobbying group SumOfUs and social activism site Change.org. As part of the effort, they’re staging a protest at 10 am today outside the gleaming crown jewel in Apple’s retail empire: its new store inside Grand Central Terminal.
Mark Shields, a lifelong Apple customer, was behind a Change.org petition to protect Chinese workers making iPhones, which has nearly 200,000 signatures. Mr. Shields told 9to5 Mac that he found, “abusive working conditions at Foxconn factories ‘appalling,’ adding he was shocked to learn about them.” (Did buyers really imagine a steady global supply of semi-affordable perfect pocket computers were being churned out by Keebler elves toiling in the trees?) A parallel effort on SumofUs calling for “ethical iPhones” received 50,000 signatures. According to CNN, protesters plan on hand-delivering copies of the signed petition to workers at marquee Apple stores in Washington D.C., San Francisco, London, Sydney, and Bangalore, as well as New York.
However, Change.org organizers only expect about 40 people to show up at Grand Central. And reaction on Twitter seems skeptical in the face of consumer apathy:
But this might also be the first time Apple’s brand recognition in consumer electronics might work against the company. After all, Foxconn workers aren’t just building iPhones and iPads:
Planning on being at the protest? Holler at your blog: firstname.lastname@example.org.