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New Yorkers Protest, Demand Apple Ensure Workers' Rights in China

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Uploaded on Feb 10, 2012

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Protestors delivered petitions to six Apple stores around the world yesterday. They are calling for the protection of workers following an explosion at a Chinese factory producing iPads that left at least two dead and several others injured.

The new Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York City was one of six around the world visited by protestors this Thursday. They are demanding that the iPhone 5, due for release later this year, be ethically made.

These demands come after reports of extremely poor labor conditions at Foxconn, an Apple supplier, in China. Two workers died at the end of January in an explosion in an iPad production line in Foxconn's Chengdu factory.

Earlier in January, media reports also highlighted an incident at the Foxconn factory in Wuhan where a labor dispute over poor working conditions saw as many as 150 workers threatening to commit suicide by jumping from a rooftop.

As protesters in New York delivered a total of 250,000 signed letters petitioning the company, a group of hackers going by the name of Swagg Security pasted the login and passwords of Foxconn's parent company's chief executive, Terry Gou, along with other sensitive information on the PirateBay and Pastebin websites.

The hack, publicized on Twitter, came at almost the same time that campaigners delivered petitions at Apple stores in London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Bangalore. The signatures were collected online by Change.org and SumOfUs.org over the last two weeks.

[Sarah Ryan, Human Rights Organizer of Change.org]:
"Both petitions are asking apple to create ethical iPhones, to create ethical products that respect workers' rights in China."

Mike Daisey is a monologist who wrote a play about Apple's supply chain in China, after seeing first-hand the working conditions at Foxconn.

[Mike Daisey, American Monologist]:
"What I found was child labor. I found people working who were twelve, thirteen, fourteen fifteen years old. I found people who work at plants whose hands have been destroyed from working on the line hundreds of thousands of times doing the same motion, again and again. I found people poisoned by n-hexane, an iPhone screen cleaner that causes neurological damage. That's widely known, but they are allowed to do it anyway."

Daisey said that his stay in China coincided with the peak of Foxconn worker suicides.

[Mike Daisey, American Monologist]:
"I was there coincidentally when the suicides accelerated, and it was happening daily. Employees are feeling so compressed and so trapped in their lives, that the only way they see out is throwing themselves of the top of the buildings in a very public way. I've spoken to union organizers who organize secret unions in China, to try to advocate for liberates and they confront the fact that they could end up in prison if they are caught by the government. The situation is terrible. An to be clear, if I was setting it up today, I don't think it's ethical to go into business with a fascist country run by thugs. It's not right"

Daisey hopes US President Barack Obama will address workers' rights in China with CCP First Secretary of the Secretariat, Xi Jinping, who will visit the US next week.

Daisey says when the communist regime in China won't protect the workers' interests, it is Apple's responsibility to set up monitoring agencies to ensure workers' rights.

NTD News, New York

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