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Activists Gathering at Apple Stores Around the World Today to Protest Awful Treatment of Chinese Workers

 
 
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Protesters will hand-deliver petitions targeting the poor treatment of Chinese factory workers to half a dozen Apple stores around the world today, CNNMoney reports.

The protests are the offline outgrowth of an online petition drive launched two weeks ago on social activism site Change.org. Created by Mark Shields, a self-described lifelong Apple customer who says he was "shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apple's supplier factories," the petition has drawn almost 200,000 signatures since its launch. 

A parallel petition effort, led by corporate accountability lobbying group SumOfUs.org, has drawn another 50,000 signatures.

Both groups are teaming on Thursday's protest. Supporters plan to hand-deliver copies of the petitions -- including all of the signatures -- to workers at a half-dozen Apple retail stores around the world.

The targeted stores include marquee locations in Washington, DC; New York City, San Francisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore.

"This is a really huge step for us, in combining all of the voices we've collected from people all over the world asking Apple to clean up their supply chain," Change.org human rights organizer Sarah Ryan told CNNMoney.

As Arun Gupta reports for AlterNet today, Apple's sordid labor practices are being revealed more and more, and they are worse than anyone thought.

Researchers with the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) say that legions of vocational and university students, some as young as 16, are forced to take months'-long “internships” in Foxconn’s mainland China factories assembling Apple products. The details of the internship program paint a far more disturbing picture than the Times does of how Foxconn, “the Chinese hell factory,” treats its workers, relying on public humiliation, military discipline, forced labor and physical abuse as management tools to hold down costs and extract maximum profits for Apple.

Change.org's Sarah Ryan explains to MSNBC what she hopes the protests will accomplish. "What we want is for Apple to take their motto -- 'think differently' -- and extend that to the way they treat their workers," she said. "We want them to be a leader in the tech world in not just treating their workers in the United States fairly, but also treat the ones abroad fairly."

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at February 9, 2012, 5:57am

 
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