Apple customers protest factory worker abuse, will present petition tomorrow

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Apple customers are protesting the company’s role in factory worker abuse by bringing a 250,000-signature petition to the Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York City tomorrow and elsewhere around the globe.

In particular, the petitioners are asking Apple to make the iPhone 5 its first product produced under entirely ethical working conditions.

“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, the Apple fan who launched the campaign, in a statement today.

A recent string of audits uncovered child labor, slave labor, and other abuses at Apple’s partner manufacturers in Asia.

While the company says it is working to eradicate unfair labor practices and has educated more than a million employees at Apple’s manufacturing partners around the world about safety and worker’s rights, the facts still remain that iPads, iPods, and Mac computers are the result of grueling and sometimes inhumane worker conditions.

“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,” Shields concluded.

“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,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs, a consumer community focused on corporate responsibility.

“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 slated to take place in New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney, Bangalore, and Washington, DC.

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