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Enterprise Insights Consumer Watchdog Calls on Apple to Prove New iPad Made Without Illegal Overtime
Mar 7, 2012 – Brett Abrams

SumOfUs.org “Calls Apple’s Bluff” On Workers’ Rights, Demands Release Of Timecard Data for Employees Who Made the New iPad.

Today Apple will announce the impending release of its latest iPad, likely called the iPad HD. Watchdog group SumOfUs.org has launched a new petition calling on Apple to release workers’ clock-in and clock-out data for the last 4 months to prove that the new iPad was made without forcing workers into illegal and dangerous levels of overtime.

“The few months leading up to product launches are the worst time to be an Apple worker. Apple has a track record of putting its workers through grueling night shifts and dangerous levels of overtime to meet its artificial product launch deadlines. Do we really want to buy an iPad made under those conditions? Apple owes it to us to prove that this product was made ethically,” said SumOfUs Executive Director Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman.[1]

The demand comes in the wake of revelations in the New York Times in January that Apple workers were roused en masse in the middle of the night to revamp the entire design of the first iPhone just weeks before launch[2].

“As Apple customers, we have a right to know whether the new iPad was manufactured illegally and unethically,” said Stinebrickner-Kauffman. “We hope as much as anyone that Apple has nothing to hide. If Apple releases genuine, original records that demonstrate that there has been no illegal overtime at iPad factories in the lead-up to the new product launch, then we will be the first to celebrate. But until Apple proves otherwise, we can only assume that they are bluffing about caring about workers’ health and safety -- and we’re calling that bluff.”

“Consumers are waking up to the consequences of Apple’s greed. We don’t want products made this way. We can wait a few more weeks if it means that workers get to sleep and see their families.”

The SumOfUs petition specifically calls for clock-in and clock-out times. Records that simply state total hours worked are insufficient, as they are easier to massage or doctor. Apple’s largest supplier, Foxconn, told the New York Times that its workers use computerized timecards – so their clock-in and clock-out times should be easy to collate and release.[3] 

In recent years, Foxconn workers surveyed by independent researchers from a coalition of Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan universities reported an average of 83.2 hours of overtime a month, more than twice the amount of China’s legal limit of 36 hours per month.[4] Workers also report the most severe violations during large pushes for new products, like the soon-to-be-released iPad HD.[5]

SumOfUs.org, a fast-growing advocacy group for consumer and workers, recently topped over 250,000 members worldwide.

SumOfUs petition with over 130,000 consumers calling for an ethical iPhone can be found here: http://sumofus.org/campaigns/ethical-iphone/

Its new petition page, calling for overtime data to be released, was sent to its members today and can be found here: http://sumofus.org/campaigns/ipad/.

Notes
[1]Tim Cook's Email to Apple Staff Regarding Supplier Responsibility Report http://www.macrumors.com/2012/01/13/tim-cooks-email-to-apple-staff-regarding-supplier-responsibility-report/
[2] “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?pagewanted=all
[3] “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?pagewanted=all
[4] “Survey Accuses Foxconn of More Labor Violations” http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-10/09/content_11389573.htm
[5] “Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fulfill Promises” http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/2011-05-06_foxconn-and-apple-fail-to-fulfill-promises1.pdf



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