Apple may be pushed into higher worker protection standards. We’ve had Fair Trade Coffee for a number of years now to protect the small growers from being ripped off by the huge coffee conglomerates, and a new movement may push Apple to similarly begin adopting more ethical standards in their overseas manufacturing practices.
It all started with Mike Daisey’s investigative monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which really got everyone talking after getting a national platform on a recent episode of This American Life. Tales of workers who were valued for little more than a piece of human machinery, worked until broken, sick, or dead, all to get the millions of electronics assembled and shipped to a tech hungry Western marketplace. Even Tim O’Reilly sounded off, and he was not on Apple’s side.
This seems to be shaping up into a movement. CNET is reporting on an online petition calling on Apple to produce an ethical iPhone, free of the apparent worker abuse at some of their manufacturing partners in China. So far the petition has gotten off to a pretty good start, garnering over 35,000 signatures in the first 24 hours. Apple has yet to comment on this publicly.
Will you be signing? Why or why not?