Just three days before International Workers’ Memorial Day, honoring workers around the world who have died as a result of their jobs, two groups — Green America and China Labor Watch (CLW) — will hold a demonstration at the Apple Store Fifth Avenue in New York City to protest “worker poisoning” in the factories that supply Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The event will take place at 12:30pm EDT. on April 25, 2014.
The planned protest stems from the “Bad Apple Campaign,” launched jointly by Green America and CLW on March 12, 2014. To date, the campaign has collected nearly seventeen thousand signatures urging Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to remove dangerous chemicals in an effort to protect the young Chinese workers who manufacture Apple’s products.
The protests’ location at Apple’s Apple Store Fifth Avenue, with it’s iconic glass cube entrance near Central Park, is significant in that the store is one of Apple’s most profitable retail locations, grossing more than $350 million per year. Industry experts estimate that Apple could remove benzene and other dangerous chemicals from production for as little as $1 dollar per device.
Smartphones and other electronics are made with thousands of chemicals, many of which are known to be harmful to human health such as benzene or n-hexane. Occupational exposure to benzene can lead to leukemia. Green America and China Labor Watch claim that Apple is profiting at the expense of the workers who assemble their iconic products in China, even though safer chemical alternatives are available. The campaign is calling on Apple to lead the way in protecting worker health and safety.
In April 2012, the groups remind, Greenpeace hosted an action at this store to call attention to Apple’s wasteful energy practices. As a result, one year later, Apple announced a plan to use 100% renewable energy at its data centers.
Sources: Green America, China Labor Watch