to stage protests at Apple Stores

The new iPad goes on sale in the US on Friday, March 16 and protestors will be there. Not to buy, but to prompt Apple to “protect workers making iPads in Chinese factories.”

The group has accumulated 25,000 signatures on an online petition asking Apple to “release a worker protection strategy for new product releases” and publish the results of the Fair Labor Association‘s (FLA) assessment of conditions at Foxconn‘s Chinese factory and other suppliers. Specifically, wants “…the NAMES of the suppliers found to have violations and WHAT those violations are, so that there is transparency around the monitoring effort.”

From what I’ve seen, Apple is doing a lot. The Apple-funded FLA investigation is a huge undertaking, conducted by experienced pros who know what they’re doing. The company has also published a “Supplier Responsibility” section of its website, highlighting its position on indentured migrant labor, underage labor, excessive hours, discrimination policies and sourcing conflict-free materials.

Ultimately, we’re talking about Chinese workers who are not Apple’s employees. While influential, Apple has limited control over their treatment and conditions. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe Apple will do whatever it can for those workers.