Time is ticking, Apple. We're still waiting for an ethical iPhone", says SumOfUs

SumOfUs has launched a new campaign. iPhones and other iGadgets are still made by workers treated unethically, even though Apple pledged to address violations of workers' rights in its Chinese supply chain. But thus far, there has been no documentation of measurable improvements in working conditions for Apple factory workers. The battery on the SumOfUs digital iPhone will die one year after Apple made its pledge. SumOfUs calls upon Apple — the richest company in the world — to make real, measurable progress on working conditions in its Chinese factories in the coming year. Apple holds its products to the highest standard. It is time for Apple to apply that same standard to working conditions in its factories. This cannot be a repeat of 2006, when a similar pledge by Apple amounted to all talk and no action.

Time is ticking, Apple. We're still waiting for an ethical iPhone", says SumOfUs

"Time is ticking, Apple. We're still waiting for an ethical iPhone", says SumOfUs.org. SumOFUs is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy. EthicaliPhone.org is a project of SumOfUs.org, a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.

Since Apple committed on March 29, 2012 to addressing working conditions in the Chinese factories that build iPhones, iPods and iPads, little has changed in the day-to-day lives of the hundreds of thousands of workers who make iGadgets, says SumOfUs. Many workers are still forced to work illegal and excessive overtime, and others have had their overtime hours cut back but are still paid poverty wages so they can no longer make ends meet — all while Apple continues to rake in tens of billions of dollars as the most profitable company in the world.

Here's what would it take for iGadgets to truly be made ethically:

  • Pay workers a living wage
  • End illegal overtime
  • Eliminate hazardous working conditions
  • Support worker participation in decision-making
  • Welcome genuinely independent monitoring
  • End the use of involuntary labor
  • Actually make changes, unlike in 2006

 

Why is SUmofUS focusing only on Apple?

As the largest company in the world, Apple has the cash, the centralized supply chain, and the organizational heft to push the Chinese manufacturing industry to change its practices -- and if Apple acts, it could mean a sea change for the entire industry, with workers’ rights finally being considered as important as production quotas across the manufacturing sector. No other company can lead like Apple can.
Sources

SumOfUs launched a site to hold Apple accountable to its promises to address working conditions in its Chinese factories. Back in 2006, the media first began reporting on horrible working conditions in Apple's factories. After Verite (an "independent investigation agency") released a report detailing worker abuses in Apple's factories, Apple promised to address the issues.

But little has changed since those 2006 promises were made. And now here is SumOfUs, with another media spotlight on the issue leading to another report by another "independent investigation agency", the Fair Labor Association, once again revealing what has been already known for years — workers making products for Apple are exposed to dangerous health and safety conditions on a regular basis, and despite working overtime in excess of the legal maximum, can barely support themselves and their families.


Why Apple?

As the largest company in the world, Apple has the cash, the centralized supply chain, and the organizational heft to push the Chinese manufacturing industry to change their practices -- and if Apple acts, it could mean a sea change for the entire industry, with workers' rights finally being considered as important as production quotas across the manufacturing sector. No other company can lead like Apple can.

Every day, tens of millions of people will swipe the screens of their iPhones to unlock them. On the other side of the world, a young girl is also swiping those screens. In fact, every day, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them during her 10+ hour shift. She spends those hours inhaling potentially toxic chemicals that are never disclosed to her, in a building that may explode at any moment because basic safety precautions have been overlooked. Sound like a nightmare? According to recent reports and Apple's own audits, scenarios like this have been all too real in Apple's Chinese supply chain.

In many cases, people are dying while making Apple products, writes SumOfUs. Reporters have documented deadly explosions at iPad factories, and repeated instances of employees dying of exhaustion after working 60-hour weeks and 34-hour continuous shifts. In some of the factories Apple contracts with, so many employees have attempted suicide that management has installed nets to prevent employees from leaping to their deaths. Even the latest investigations by the Fair Labor Association haven't resulted in measurable improvements in workers' lives.

Can Apple fix this? Absolutely. Apple is the richest company in the world, posting a record-breaking gross profit margin for the last quarter of 45.7%. According to an anonymous former Apple executive quoted in the New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it'll happen - "Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn't have another choice."

As the largest company in the world, Apple has the cash, the centralized supply chain, and the organizational heft to push the Chinese manufacturing industry to change their practices — and if Apple acts, it could mean a sea change for the entire industry, with workers' rights finally being considered as important as production quotas across the manufacturing sector. No other company can lead like Apple can.

Join SumOfUs in calling for Apple to fix working conditions so we can know our iGadgets are made ethically - Sign the SumOfUs petition to Apple