After numerous accusations that Apple does not take proper care of its workers, SumOfUs started a petition that is now backed by over 40,000 people. It publicly calls out Apple to ensure that the manufacturing of the iPhone 5 is done with the welfare of employees – particularly in China – in mind.
The controversy began in 2010 when reports of suicides from Foxconn began pouring in due to its harsh working conditions. Steve Jobs commented on them in an interview at AllThingsD‘s D8 conference and said Apple is doing everything it can to investigate Foxconn and rectify any wrongs.
The New York Times published a report a few days ago detailing the terrible working conditions in China and how little the situation has improved since 2010. It talks about the explosion of May 2011 with over a dozen casualties and paints a gruesome picture of the injuries. The SumOfUs petition also describes an eerie story of a young girl inhaling toxic gas each day in factories while she cleans iPhone glass.
Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to these claims in an email to employees by defending the company’s actions thus far. “We reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers,” he said. “We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.”