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Workers should not have to die so Apple can build the iPhone 5, petition says

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:44PM EST

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A new web-based petition singles out Apple and calls for the company to force its suppliers to reform the working conditions at their factories. Original device manufacturer Hon Hai and its subsidiary Foxconn are among the Eastern firms repeatedly accused of mistreating workers, and Apple has again been called upon to demand change as Foxconn’s biggest customer. Read on for more.

“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,” human rights advocate SumOfUs wrote on its website. “In fact, every day, during her 12+ hour shifts, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling n-hexane, a potent neurotoxin used to clean iPhone glass, because it dries a few seconds faster than a safe alternative. After just a few years on the line, she will be fired because the neurological damage from the n-hexane and the repetitive stress injuries to her wrists and hands make her unable to continue performing up to standard.”

“In many cases, people literally are dying while making Apple products,” the group added. SumOfUs has posted an online petition that calls for people to band together and demand that Apple take a more proactive role in forcing its manufacturing partners to treat their workers ethically. The organization says that as important as Apple’s business is to its suppliers, the company absolutely has the weight to demand reform and see those demands met.

Approximately 50,000 people had digitally signed the petition at the time of this writing.

The New York Times recently brought the topic of working conditions at Foxconn factories back into the spotlight, forcing Apple CEO Tim Cook to reassure his company that Apple cares about all of the workers in its supply chain.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.