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Urban HR Dictionary: "Email Bankruptcy"

For $30, I Can Expose Every Employee In Your Fortune 500 Company to a Facebook Ad.

Seriously - I can use Facebook ads, and for $30, expose every employee at a major Fortune 500 on Facebook to an ad of my choosing?

That's pretty compelling - as well as pretty scary.  Got the following email below from a friend of the Capitalist.  The email was sent by VoiceOfUs.org regarding Apple's efforts to improve working conditions in contract factories overseas.  They're not happy, and instead of the usual methods, they're determined to exert pressure by going straight to the source - Apple employees.  

Take a read at the email text and ponder the opportunity/threat this creates to a Fortune 500 for a mere $30:

"Apple’s report is finally out -- and it confirms that the factory workers who make your iGadgets are illegally overworked, underpaid and subject to routine health and safety violations. Apple is admitting this is a serious problem, and we have won promises from Apple to address many of these issues. This is a big deal.

But here’s the problem: Apple, a company that is known for its ability to change its production process overnight, is claiming it will take FIFTEEN MONTHS to end illegal overtime in its suppliers’ factories, while ensuring that the factory workers who make iPhones and more can afford to feed their families and have safe working conditions.

If all of this sounds familiar, it is because way back in 2006 Apple conducted a nearly identical investigation, with very similar findings and a very similar promise: to “enforce weekly overtime limits set by Apple’s Code of Conduct.” But as soon as people stopped paying attention, Apple’s suppliers went right back to excessive overtime and dangerous working conditions.

This time, we aren’t letting Apple forget.

We want to build a countdown website that displays how many days are left to the day Apple has promised to end these terrible working conditions. But that’s not all. We want to regularly run Facebook ads that link to the site to every Apple employee in the US, reminding them of their promise and asking them what progress they’ve made. And these ads will be all the more powerful because they’ll be paid for by Apple consumers -- and going directly to Apple employees:

Yes, I will give $60, enough for every Apple employee in the US to see a Facebook ad twice.

Yes, I will give $30, enough for every Apple employee in the US to see the Facebook ad once.

Yes, I will give $10, because ten is a nice, round number and I can’t afford $30 but still want to help :-)

Our collective pressure has been enormously successful so far -- all the more incredible when you realize we are going toe-to-toe with the largest corporation in the world. In fact, in the time it takes you to read this email, Apple will have earned more new revenue than SumOfUs.org has spent in our entire existence. Apple has over 60,000 full-time employees; we have three. We are run on a shoestring budget (we don’t even have an office!) against a corporate behemoth that has some of the best PR people in the world, who would love nothing more than to grind this story into dust.

We're David to Apple's Goliath, but right now we're winning. While it won't be easy, if we can keep up public and media pressure for another 15 months to make sure that Apple actually keeps its promises.

Apple engineers and other professionals are deeply proud of working at Apple -- and they don’t want to (sic) the company to be seen as hurting factory workers, breaking the law, or breaking promises. Through this microsite and these Facebook ads, Apple customers like us can make sure that these promises are water cooler conversation at Apple HQ -- and that Apple’s executives feel pressure internally to keep their promises.

Click here to donate to fund the next phase of this campaign: A countdown website and Facebook ads, from consumers like you, aimed directly at Apple employees.

Let’s be clear: Apple hasn’t promised to fix everything wrong at Foxconn and its other suppliers. In some areas (like a living wage), it hasn’t even proposed a concrete solution yet. And, frankly, the 15 month time frame is far too long -- after all, when was the last time someone told you that you are breaking (sic) law but it’s ok if you keep breaking it for the next 15 months for your own convenience?

But the fact remains that if Apple actually implements the changes it has promised, even if it takes longer than it should and doesn’t go as far as we’d like, then pressure from consumers like you will have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers. Let’s keep that pressure up until we see real results."

Wow.  Interesting and compelling.  And by the way, I can't help but think of the Anne Hathaway line at :50 of the new Batman movie trailer that appears below when I read that email:

"There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne," she says. "You and your friends better batten down the hatches. Because when it hits you're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."

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