Apple Store Employee Joins Foxconn Worker Abuse Protest In San Francisco


The protest at Apple's San Francisco store, via Cory Moll.
The protest at Apple's San Francisco store, via Cory Moll.

Tourists wandering into Apple Stores in six cities around the globe found themselves in the middle of a media storm about the Cupertino company’s labor policies in China.

Members of two protests groups, who say they represent Apple customers, delivered petitions they claim are 245,000 signatures strong. and SumOfUs delivered petitions  to Apple Stores today in Washington, DC, New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney and Bangalore.

Though the San Francisco protest appears as tiny as the one in New York, it did have one participant of note: Apple retail worker Cory Moll, who works at the downtown store.


“I was there to show solidarity,” Moll told Cult of Mac. He also wanted to “get my name behind that effort as well as the name of the Apple Retail Workers Union… though the issues we’re facing are a far cry from what the workers in China face.”

Moll, who, according to his LinkedIn profile,  has worked at Apple since October 2007, also heads up an organization called the Apple Retail Workers Union. The organization, founded in May 2011, aims to better working conditions at Apple Stores.

Moll’s photos of the protest, some of the first to surface on Twitter, show a few of the petition organizers surrounded by media. The protest started at 10 am and by 10:32, Moll reported that “All is quiet again,” at the Apple Store.

He hopes his efforts will galvanize other Apple retail workers to speak up and does not fear for his job.

“The fact that I’ve been talking about it since May and I haven’t been fired speaks volumes,” Moll said. “Apple is very aware of our rights to speak publicly… I take full advantage of the rights and liberties we enjoy in this country to be able to do that.”

Although Apple just one of the global tech companies who make their must-have devices at the Foxconn plant, it is largely taking the heat for the working conditions there.

“I have been a lifelong Apple customer and was shocked to learn of the abusive working conditions in many of Apple’s supplier factories,” said Mark Shields, who launched the campaign on “At Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest manufacturers, there is a history of suicides, abusive working conditions, and almost no pay. These working conditions are appalling, especially for Apple.”

  • prof_peabody

    Sounds like grandstanding to me and more about Corey’s ego than the issues.  

    Notice how he says he’s a “full-timer at Apple” instead of the more correct (and less exciting) “full-time Apple retail employee.”  

  • rsbell

    As California is an “at will” state, I think it’s time for Mr. Moll to be unemployed.

    Then we’ll see if he protests the condition of the unemployed worker.

  • NapMan

    “Moll, who, according to his LinkedIn profile,  has worked at Apple since October 2007, also heads up an organization called the Apple Retail Workers Union. The organization, founded in May 2011, aims to better working conditions at Apple stores.”

    Boo hoo!  How bad are the working conditions at Apple retail stores?  Probably better than those of, say, fast food workers, construction workers, janitorial workers, any labor-intensive job, really.
    And let’s not forget the MILLIONS of Americans who can’t even find a job.

  • Gregintosh

    Talking crap about your company and trying to fight management is what people in many industries call a “career limiting move” 

    I doubt any employer is going to want to hire him after seeing this all over Google when they type in his name. And I doubt Apple is going to carve out a nice prosperous career path for someone whose a pain in their behind.

  • Alex

    And I doubt Apple is going to carve out a nice prosperous career path for someone whose a pain in their behind.”

    For the most part if your in retail sales your not on a prosperous career path anyway…

  • Gregintosh

    Not true. For example, Best Buy assistant mangers make around $75k a year, and General Managers make about $100k. Other positions above that (district and regional management) could pay even more.

    Even with Apple, I am sure their store management is compensated very well, as are any other big box stores. Even smaller stores pay around $45 to $50k for managers. 

    Those are all very respectable salaries and there are MANY non-retail careers that don’t have as many opportunities as retail to achieve them. I know plenty of people who think they have “real” jobs making $40-$60k not realizing that people with similar levels of experience in retail are making 50% or double that (yet in their minds, retail is a crappy, dead end, “not serious” job).

    I always liked it when I used to work retail, silly people often looked down at me as if I’m nothing and they are hot stuff when in reality I probably made more money than they did.

  • Alex

    I don’t know anything about the motivations of Cory Moll….

     But I love how many Apple consumers sound like die hard Republicans when it comes to the rights of the workers that make their beloved iToys….   I guess no one really wants to know how sausage is made, and its important to demonize anyone that confronts you with the reality of how big multinational corporations operate.

    I ‘ve been buying Apple computers for decades now, but I never deluded myself  about who I’m dealing with.

  • Alex

    You might have noticed I said “for the most part” sure some people get ahead and what percentage is that ? Retail sales jobs have incredibly high turn over compared to other jobs, so what are the odds you’ll make it to those few high paying jobs …  The only time “I look down on retail sales staff ”  is when I realize they don’t know anything about the product they are selling.  But as I habit I tend to patronize businesses that pay their employees a decent wage and provide healthcare etc… 

  • Len Williams

    To blame Apple for conditions at Foxconn is frankly ridiculous. Foxconn is an assembly plant in a foreign country with laws, customs and economic conditions completely different from those we know in the U.S. Apple has no authority there and can only attempt to educate and help to bring about change, or at worst threaten to take away its business from Foxconn as a leverage tool, which I believe they are using (remember the news of Apple negotiating with Brazil for a factory there). I am satisfied that Tim Cook and his executive team are doing their best to force Foxconn to improve conditions–but this protest is grandstanding in its worst form. Apple is currently the big rich dog, so the game is to try to garner attention and leverage by trying to make out that Apple is the big, bad capitalist company who treads on the backs of the poor downtrodden workers. Karl Marx would be proud. After all just look how well communism/socialism has worked out in Russia and improved its economy. And wait, isn’t China a communist/socialist country? In a worker’s paradise I’d expect better conditions for workers, wouldn’t you? The problem is with Foxconn and China, not Apple.

  • Guest


  • David Trevino

    Just a bunch of idiots with nothing better to do, why they don’t do the same with all the other tech companies like Motorola, Samsung, Sony, HTC just to name a few, they just want to have their 2 minutes of fame, just a bunch of idiots!!!!

  • Figurative

    These arrogant do-gooders should go and interview the Chinese workers. These workers are thrilled not to have to work in the fields for pennies a day.  Yes, there have been suicides but let’s see the what the suicide rates were/are for the general population over there. Furthermore, Apple has done so much more to improve wages and conditions than any other company. Apple is being targeted because of their success. This is also why that scummy Greenpeace keeps harping on Apple even though they know Apple is one of the best.

  • twitter-218300945

    Very classy of them and if you would even BOTHER to check say Wikipedia? Anywhere? and check the list of companies that contract Foxconn, probably yours too, and they are hiring 100000 today the sad thing is they are one of the BETTER Chinese factories that is NOT Apple’s or anyone’s fault but Foxconn’s and China’s.

  • twitter-218300945

    Did you even SEARCH Foxconn? Wikilpedia? GOOGLE? Half of all electronics contract Foxconn. Try reading

  • CharliK

    And when are the protests at the Microsoft stores, Barnes and Noble, the offices for Dell, Acer etc

  • CharliK

    According to my sources he’s a total asshat that will do anything for 15 seconds of fame. His co-workers apparently hate him

  • CharliK

    Trouble is that Moll could claim he was fired for retaliation and win

    So unless he breaks a rule he’s there until he chooses to stay.

  • Alex

    Did the everyone else is doing it argument, ever work with your parents ?

  • Robert Ballard

    YUP! Most everything made.

  • Shaun Green

    Very sad to read some of the comments below and on other forums. Just because Foxconn make products for lots of companies it doesn’t mean we can’t seek to pressure Apple into doing something. Who knows if Apple does something maybe the other companies will follow. It takes real courage to take the lead on an issue such as this.

    I find it thoroughly disgusting that so many people are willing to condone modern day slavery just so they can have the latest shiny gadget at a lower price or so Apple can make an obscene amount of profit so their shares keep going up.

  • Eddie Velasquez


  • Luis M Martinez

    ^^your comment is beyond stupid. His point was ‘basically apple is not the only one responsible, and yet they are doing the most’. Blue5ft3, the use of capitals only made you look stupider

  • Len Williams

    I find your lack of research and knowledge on this subject disgusting. Your stupidity and unawareness of what Apple is ALREADY DOING is offensive to me. You have no idea that Apple is already doing LOTS of work with Foxconn to improve working conditions, wages and safety. Go to Apple’s web site and read exactly what Apple is doing before you shoot your mouth off: Read it so that you can lower your stupidity quotient and be able to make informed statements. I’m fed up with hearing this crap about Apple being a big, bad company that won’t help its suppliers, when the exact reverse is true. This is socialist propaganda.

    You are one of the worst kind of liberals: one who is convinced of his rightness without any observation or real knowledge of the situation. You are quick to bash Apple for imagined wrongdoing without any facts. You are the perfect socialist who reactively strikes out at anyone or any company that is successful, because you “know” they got there by the abuse of the poor worker. Marx and Engels tell you this, and socialism sounds so amazingly wonderful with freedom for all–but it’s a pipe dream. Russia went communist and its economy crashed for decades and is still in the toilet, although they’re starting to come out of it now that communism is dead. Conditions for workers has been terrible under communism/socialism. China is communist and this worker’s paradise is the same country that Foxconn is located in. Apple is already doing TONS of stuff to help Foxconn employees, but they are hampered by Foxconn itself and the Chinese government and its lack of employee standards that wouldn’t be permitted here in the US. 

  • Figurative

    Yeah, try reading… idiot.

  • Figurative

    Shaun,  you have no idea.  I know and deal with many Chinese companies and people. The Foxconn workforce that builds products for Apple is one of the best treated and compensated groups in all of China.  Apple is already paying a premium for their workers.  I really don’t know what you expect Apple or any other company to do.  These workers are provided food, housing and medical – which is so far beyond what these people had before when they worked in the fields.

  • Nutz320

    Everyone had their own parents responsible for them. It’s not like your parent could do anything if another kid did something bad, but they could stop you from doing the same. It’s not like that with corps. If you put heat on one guy for doing something wrong, everyone should get the blame.

  • Nutz320

    This is so stupid. These suicides they keep harping on about could just be caused by other factors. You know… considering the workers live there, where else would they commit suicide? It’s lower than the general population’s suicide rate, but nooo, they’ll ignore that fact.

  • sn0wball

    how else did you think those fifty some odd millions iPhone were made so quickly?!?!? Elves?!?

  • BillTed

    I think that the possible downside of focusing so hard on Apple and Foxconn is that people forget that the problem is much larger than Apple. Their sneakers, jeans, underwear, shirts, skirts, X-box, Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia, TV and plenty of other things they use in their daily life are most likely made under the very same questionable working conditions (or possibly even worse) than their iPad. Do they really want to pay for better working conditions? Would they be able to afford an iPad or a nice pair of new sneakers if they had to pay the “real” price for them? And would a higher price benefit the workers or just the owners of the production plants?

  • Joel

    “Members of two protests groups, who say they represent Apple customers,”
    Maybe some Apple customers, not me. 

  • Al

    Yes but do poor working conditions make suicide rates go UP or go DOWN? In which direction does it encourage them?

    Research data says poor working conditions and low (or no) pay encourages suicide rates.

    Apple makes the best stuff. They should make it in the best way too.

  • Al

    Calm down dear.

  • Al

    No where, it seems. It’s only happening at Apple because we expect more from them than from the other guys.

  • Al

    WELL DONE to Cory Moll!

    Keep up the good work!

  • Al

    I think there was some research done a while ago (I cannot remember where) which estimated how much it would add to the cost of an iPad or iPhone if the workers got the demanded better conditions. It wasn’t much, because things are so much cheaper in China. I think it was something like 1 or 2 dollars per device or something. Even if we double that for arguments sake, it’s not much. And let’s not forget the $97 bln cash pile! :)

  • Al

    Only the ones bought at Christmas.

  • Al

    I agree with you 100% Shaun. In a way, it’s an embarrassment to the Apple-using community, and us fanboys in general, that this hasn’t become a massive issue before now. Conditions were even worse in the past than they are now. We should have been kicking up a fuss ten years ago.

  • Nutz320

    “Yes but do poor working conditions make suicide rates go UP or go DOWN?”
    I already said, “It’s lower than the general population’s suicide rate”

    “Research data says…” what research data? Claiming a fact is one thing, but if you’re going to claim that research supports it, please link me to it. Plus, it can’t just be one research that supports it in a sea of other research that rejects that hypothesis. It must be accepted fact. I’ll accept that the statement, “poor working conditions make suicide rates go UP” is true.

    “Apple makes the best stuff. They should make it in the best way too.”
    Unless I’m mistaken, they do. Maybe not a great way (in the Western view), but the best way if you’re talking about tech. There is simply no other way for them to do it.

  • Mike Rathjen

    I don’t excuse Apple. I ask why the petition is SOLELY targeting Apple, the one company already doing the most of any major company.

    Apple went transparent and is being punished for it while everyone else gets a pass. The lesson learned here by the other manufacturers is that being transparent leads to negative press and consumer backlash.

  • Darlie Brewster

    Get behind this Apple employees!