Apple is being asked to “overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers” through an online petition drive. The petition drive is being mounted by SumOfUs, which claims that it is already 85% of its way to a goal of 50,000 online signatures.

SumOfUs refers to itself as a “New world-wide movement for a better global economy,” and they have the motto “Fighting for people over profits” at the top of their website. There is not much on the site as to who backs the organization, though it does list Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman as the founder and President. They boast of a membership of 164,598 worldwide, and they accept donations through an apparent third party collector, New Organizing Institute Education Fund, which lists itself as a 501(c)3 non-profit.

The petition comes after a scathing report completed by the New York Times (an CP story about the report is here) which detailed worker abuse at Apple’s suppliers in China. The NYT report included examples of injuries and deaths of workers building iPhones and iPads due to the working of excessive hours in poor, sometimes toxic environments, burns, suicides, and explosions.

Referring to whether Apple can assert influence on their suppliers to improve the treatment of the supplier’s workers, the petition states “Absolutely. Apple is the richest company in the world, posting a profit margin for the last quarter of 42.4% yesterday. They’re sitting on $100 billion in the bank. According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in the New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it’ll happen – ‘Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.’”

The online petition can be viewed here.