A lot of Apple users pay attention to the rumors about the upcoming iPhone, and many have a pretty good idea of the features they want to see in the new model.
Another group has their own visions for the iPhone 5. They have begun a petition to Apple to see the new device produced “ethically.”
Watchdog organization SumOfUs describes itself on its website as a voice for consumers, workers and shareholders to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations. They report that people are literally dying in the production of Apple products.
According to the New York Times, an explosion and fire occurred last May in an area where employees polished iPad cases, killing two and injuring another dozen. And in 2010, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after being required to use a poisonous chemical in cleaning iPhone screens. And two explosions at iPad plants last year killed four and injured 77 people.
Employees in one Chinese factory say they work excessive hours of overtime, sometimes seven days a week, and are living in overcrowded dorms.
An anonymous Apple executive told the Times that suppliers would change their terms immediately if Apple demanded it. The company has not commented on the reports, but the Washington Post reports that an internal memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. Accusations like these are contrary to our values.”
An organization known as change.org also has a petition asking Apple to protect the workers in Chinese factories, arguing that there are no labor laws in China to protect them. You can sign their petition here.