I admit, I was a bit surprised when I received a press release on February 8 that a group of protesters were going to deliver a petition with 250,000 signatures to Apple demanding they respond to allegations of worker abuse in China.
I wondered if the group had done any homework at all. Do they not know that Apple is leading the industry in factory audits and its concerns for workers, not just in China, but all over the world?
The media swarmed the group when they delivered the petition. I didn’t understand that either. Surely the media knows what Apple is doing, but maybe that just got in the way of a sexy headline. You know that anything with “Apple” in the headline is going to draw attention, and it did.
The only problem with that is it doesn’t do much of anything. Apple is already conducting audits and being transparent about its findings and they have been doing this for a number of years. In fact, some of the information being used against Apple came from its own reports that it made public.
So if these protesters are really concerned about the workers in China, why not deliver that petition to the other companies that manufacture products at Foxconn. Where is the press release saying they were going to visit HP, Dell, Microsoft and others?
I emailed the PR guy Brett Abrams yesterday and asked him that. No response.
From the deafening silence, I have to assume that the group has no plans to deliver the petition to anyone else. Seems like nothing more than a publicity stunt to me.
To make matters even worse, the group on Monday took credit for news that Apple would have the Fair Labor Association (FLA) conduct special audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China.
The problem is that Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an email to employees four weeks ago that the company would have the FLA conduct these audits.
AppleInsider also posted a scathing review of the protesters and their claims this morning.
So the protesters did nothing. They got some attention for a couple of days, but when it came right down to it, they went for the sexy headline instead of actually doing anything substantive.