The petition, at Change.org, is a response to recent media reports alleging poor working conditions at factories operated by Chinese companies that have contracts to build iPhones, iPads and other popular Apple products.
Mark Shields, a Washington communications consultant, started the petition after hearing about working conditions in the Chinese factories, including those operated by Apple partner Foxconn Technology, in the media.
The reports talked about repetitive motion injuries and other problems at Apple partner factories, Shields wrote in his petition.
“We ask that Apple release a worker protection strategy for new product releases, which are the instances when injuries and suicides typically spike because of the incredible pressure to meet quotas timed to releases,” he wrote.
Shields described himself as an Apple ‘super-user’, but said the report upset him.
“Here’s the thing: you’re Apple,” he wrote in the petition. “You’re supposed to think different. I want to continue to use and love the products you make, because they’re changing the world and have already changed my life. But I also want to know that when I buy products from you, it’s not at the cost of horrible human suffering.”
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comments on the petition.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly “outraged” by a recent New York Times report on the issue. Cook promised in a letter to Apple employees to “dig deeper” into allegations of poor working conditions at the Chinese factories.
Shields’ campaign has been “remarkable,” says Amanda Kloer, director of organising for Change.org, a site that allows users to start petitions.
“He learned about an injustice associated with his favourite products and instead of just feeling angry or sad, he decided to fight that injustice using his power as a consumer,” she says. “It has been incredible to watch his campaign take off.”