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As Apple stores celebrate 10 years, some employees look to unionize

post #1 of 179
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A group calling itself the "Apple Retail Workers Union" is attempting to drum up support for its cause as Apple's retail business celebrates its first 10 years.

The group contacted members of the press on Thursday, which is 10 years to the day since Apple opened its first stores on May 19, 2001 in McLean, Virginia, and Glendale, Calif. The Apple Retail Workers Union alleges that Apple's stores are "demanding" environments and that some employees have been subjected to "unfair treatment and compensation.

"We deserve better," the letter reads. "Our time has come."

As first reported by Macworld, an anonymous person representing the organization said that "some stores in the Pacific Northwest may be talking amongst themselves" about forming a union. They claimed the Alderwood Mall store in Lynnwood, Wash., is "the closest anyone has come to collective action."

As for supposed "unfair treatment" at Apple's retail stores, the person reportedly said that wages, break schedules, training opportunities, and selection and hiring processes for internal candidates were primary complaints.

"It's unclear how serious or large an effort the Apple Retail Workers Union is at this time," author Lex Friedman wrote, noting that the official Twitter page has just two tweets, one of them from January, while the Facebook page has a few posts from February and has been "liked" once.



Apple's retail outlets have become an important part of the company's overall business, and every quarter the company reports that about half of Macs sold in stores are to new customers who never owned a Mac before. During its last quarterly earnings conference call, the company revealed that Apple's retail stores were soon to host their 1 billionth visitor.
post #2 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A group calling itself the "Apple Retail Workers Union" is attempting to drum up support for its cause as Apple's retail business celebrates its first 10 years.

The group contacted members of the press on Thursday, which is 10 years to the day since Apple opened its first stores on May 19, 2001 in McLean, Virginia, and Glendale, Calif. The Apple Retail Workers Union alleges that Apple's stores are "demanding" environments and that some employees have been subjected to "unfair treatment and compensation.

"We deserve better," the letter reads. "Our time has come."

As first reported by Macworld, an anonymous person representing the organization said that "some stores in the Pacific Northwest may be talking amongst themselves" about forming a union. They claimed the Alderwood Mall store in Lynnwood, Wash., is "the closest anyone has come to collective action."

As for supposed "unfair treatment" at Apple's retail stores, the person reportedly said that wages, break schedules, training opportunities, and selection and hiring processes for internal candidates were primary complaints.

"It's unclear how serious or large an effort the Apple Retail Workers Union is at this time," author Lex Friedman wrote, noting that the official Twitter page has just two tweets, one of them from January, while the Facebook page has a few posts from February and has been "liked" once.



Apple's retail outlets have become an important part of the company's overall business, and every quarter the company reports that about half of Macs sold in stores are to new customers who never owned a Mac before. During its last quarterly earnings conference call, the company revealed that Apple's retail stores were soon to host their 1 billionth visitor.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no law saying you have to work there. Just quit if you don't like the working conditions!!
post #3 of 179
Steve Jobs should immediately fire any and all people who seek to unionize. If an employee is unhappy for whatever reason, then they are free to quit. Nobody forced them to take the job.

Unions are disgusting and they should be abolished and made illegal.
post #4 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by dziggyii View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no law saying you have to work there. Just quit if you don't like the working conditions!!

This ^^^

If you don't like where you work - QUIT! No one is forcing you to be there! This is the current problem in the US. People feel entitled to more for nothing.

There was a place for unions in the past, but that time has come and gone.
post #5 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Steve Jobs should immediately fire any and all people who seek to unionize. If an employee is unhappy for whatever reason, then they are free to quit. Nobody forced them to take the job.

Unions are disgusting and they should be abolished and made illegal.

Firing workers who seek to get better working conditions or to unionize is exactly why unions exist in the first place . Read up on your history.

However, unions were created in a time when labor laws and good working conditions were almost non-existent. Its an outdated concept that doesn't have much application in today's world. As a teen, I worked for the supermarket 'union,' and all it ever did for me was take $3 out of my weekly paycheck and give me a slight discount to Disneyland... as far as my meager wages, lack of full-time hours and benefits, they didn't help much there. Found it much easier to move on and find another job to replace the one I'm not happy about =).

Of course, with only one Facebook "like" on their page, I don't think this is anything Apple has to worry about.
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post #6 of 179
I agree. If you dont like the terms of a job, leave. Unions are an anchor round the legs of the economy continually holding it back
post #7 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by dziggyii View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no law saying you have to work there. Just quit if you don't like the working conditions!!

/signed

We do not need Unions to drag down Apple like they did to the American auto industry and California's budget.
post #8 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

I agree. If you dont like the terms of a job, leave. Unions are an anchor round the legs of the economy continually holding it back

Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

/signed

We do not need Unions to drag down Apple like they did to the American auto industry and California's budget.

To be fair, there *are* decent, legitimate unions out there that do a lot of good for their members, even to this day. However, they seem to be more of the exception these days than the rule. Speaking simply on practicality, unionizing Apple store employees doesn't make sense for Apple or its retail workers.
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post #9 of 179
The alternative to unionising is professionalising.

Unions are all about doing less with more.
Like all organisations, they always feel a need to be doing something, regardless of the immediate need, so they are always looking for a fight.

Professions are about raising the quality of members and thus being recognised as being worth more.
They create an atmosphere and the habit of continuous improvement among the members.

It works well in the industries I worked in and, unlike being a union member, your employer and the general public respect you.

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post #10 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Steve Jobs should immediately fire any and all people who seek to unionize. If an employee is unhappy for whatever reason, then they are free to quit. Nobody forced them to take the job.

Unions are disgusting and they should be abolished and made illegal.


aGREED 100% FIRE THOSE BASTARDS and take away the FREE IPHONES and IPADS they got when these things came out and EVERY APPLE WORKER got one for FREE...

WTF???? I would LOVE TO WORK AT THE APPLE STORE ... friggin MORONS!!

I bet my yearly salary (although it wouldn't be much since i'm not working) that these are Micro$H!t ex-employees and self HATING ex-MS windoze users who lost their jobs and now are at the APPLE store .. go work at walmart
post #11 of 179
Don your flame-retardent clothing everyone, it's time for Americans talking about Unions. This can only end poorly.

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post #12 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

Read up on your history.

My knowledge of history is vast. Unions may have had a place and a use in the past, but that time is long gone. Unions do more bad than good now, and there is no need for them. Unions are bad for business, bad for the economy and I will go as far as to say that the philosophy of Unions is anti-American. I can see Unions appealing to socialists, underachievers, slackers and other degenerates in society who are looking for a free ride and looking to game the system at the expense of others.
post #13 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

My knowledge of history is vast. Unions may have had a place and a use in the past, but that time is long gone. Unions do more bad than good now, and there is no need for them. Unions are bad for business, bad for the economy and I will go as far as to say that the philosophy of Unions is anti-American. I can see Unions appealing to socialists, underachievers, slackers and other degenerates in society who are looking for a free ride and looking to game the system at the expense of others.

I think plenty of police officers, firefighters and other service men and women would politely disagree with you . As I said, its more the exception than the rule, but there are decent, legitimate unions out there that work hard to protect its members. Don't count them all out.
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post #14 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


---

I can see Unions appealing to socialists, underachievers, slackers and other degenerates in society who are looking for a free ride and looking to game the system at the expense of others.

Well, there's no need to bring the public sector into it !

( Caring / life-saving professionals excepted, of course )

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post #15 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

My knowledge of history is vast. Unions may have had a place and a use in the past, but that time is long gone. Unions do more bad than good now, and there is no need for them. Unions are bad for business, bad for the economy and I will go as far as to say that the philosophy of Unions is anti-American. I can see Unions appealing to socialists, underachievers, slackers and other degenerates in society who are looking for a free ride and looking to game the system at the expense of others.

+1. Everything i have seen of modern unions makes me disgusted.
post #16 of 179
As a teacher, I couldn't agree more. Unions help unions, not workers. I can't think of a time a union actually helped a teacher keep his job in a way that they still wanted to work there afterwards. Unions just delay the inevitable and fuel the entire process with money. In this case, it would be coming out of Apple's deep pockets, in my case, it's the tax payer's dollars.

When I taught at a private school, they rewarded teachers for success. Now that I'm in a different state, teaching public school, there is no reward system, and no punishment system. A good teacher that spends countless hours after school tutoring kids with no extra stipend gets the same salary as a teacher that just checks in for their scheduled time.

We had a meeting to suggest that teachers take 20 minutes out of their prep to observe other teachers (for self learning - get ideas - see how a math class runs if you are an English teacher, etc.). We have block schedule, so 20 minutes is not even a 3rd of our time. Some of us were fine with it, but the 'old boys network' started quoting their union contract. It was incredible. "If we give them 20 minutes, they'll start asking for 40 minutes, then they start asking for an entire prep".

On the other hand, my father drives a truck and is near retirement. The union will take care of him for a long time after he retires. It also insures that he doesn't get fire if he is capable of doing his job, but the employer wants to trade in for a newer version.

Unions are not necessary for Apple. If you don't realize you are going to work your ass off for a company like that, you don't deserve to work there.
post #17 of 179
In order for a union to have any usefulness, the members need to have very specific skills that if withheld, would impact the effectiveness or profitability of the employer. Examples would be airline pilots, nurses, police, professional athletes. In the Apple retail workers case if the they went on strike they would just be replaced since they have no specific skill other than a little computer/software knowledge which is basically a dime a dozen.

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post #18 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMoan View Post


I hope you never have to go home and tell your family you lost your job because some jerk (like you) came to work in a bad mood.

I'm not a big boss or a CEO, but I can assure you that the people who have been fired because of me can be counted on one hand. And they didn't get the boot because I was in a bad mood. They deserved to be fired, because their performance was continuously subpar.
post #19 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Steve Jobs should immediately fire any and all people who seek to unionize. If an employee is unhappy for whatever reason, then they are free to quit. Nobody forced them to take the job.

Unions are disgusting and they should be abolished and made illegal.

While I agree 100%, I'm not sure that's legal...
post #20 of 179
If you work or have worked for Apple Retail, speak up. If not, stfu.
I worked Apple retail and I hope their employees unionize.
Have you ever seen how full those stores get? Do you know what contradictory BS we go through to keep our jobs? Do you know how little they are paid and how many hours they get?
Apple Retail is like high school: it's full of cliques. If you don't constantly improve your metrics, you get warnings. If you spend more than the allotted time with a client, you get warnings. If you don't sell MobileMe and Applecare, you get warnings. All that for typical retail wages with no commission or bonuses and almost zero opportunity to advance: Apple's policy is never to promote from within.

Turnover in Apple Retail employees is enough to show that there's a serious problem. And as for the facebook page and Twitter account, any Apple employee caught saying anything about the company online is fired without warning.
post #21 of 179
I lean left on most social issues, but I think unions are horrible.
post #22 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitzandbitez View Post

aGREED 100% FIRE THOSE BASTARDS and take away the FREE IPHONES and IPADS they got when these things came out and EVERY APPLE WORKER got one for FREE...

Obviously you don't realize that Apple doesn't make a habit of giving things away for free. Apple employees don't get free iPhones and iPads. In fact, they don't even receive a discount on those products.

The last time anything like that happened was the original iPhone. And 90+% of the people that work at Apple Retail didn't work there when that happened. The iPhone is what cause Apple Retail to grow so large.
post #23 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by donlphi View Post

As a teacher, I couldn't agree more. Unions help unions, not workers. I can't think of a time a union actually helped a teacher keep his job in a way that they still wanted to work there afterwards. Unions just delay the inevitable and fuel the entire process with money. In this case, it would be coming out of Apple's deep pockets, in my case, it's the tax payer's dollars.

Pervert, pedophile teacher molests sixth grade student. 13 years later, the teacher can't be fired and continues to receive full salary.

Pierre was permanently removed from the classroom in 1997 after he was accused of sexually molesting a sixth-grade girl at PS 138 in Brooklyn.

But since then, Pierre has continued to receive full pay and fringe benefits, including health, pension and vacation, officials said. He pulls down $97,101 a year.


http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/b...5idPYynCnVJHyO
post #24 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by donlphi View Post

If you don't realize you are going to work your ass off for a company like that, you don't deserve to work there.

This!
post #25 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitzandbitez View Post

aGREED 100% FIRE THOSE BASTARDS and take away the FREE IPHONES and IPADS they got when these things came out and EVERY APPLE WORKER got one for FREE...

WTF???? I would LOVE TO WORK AT THE APPLE STORE ... friggin MORONS!!

I bet my yearly salary (although it wouldn't be much since i'm not working) that these are Micro$H!t ex-employees and self HATING ex-MS windoze users who lost their jobs and now are at the APPLE store .. go work at walmart

You mad bro?
post #26 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post


---

Turnover in Apple Retail employees is enough to show that there's a serious problem.

---

Also enough to show there's a serious solution.

Turnover is an employer's problem. The employee has solved his own.

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post #27 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

If you work or have worked for Apple Retail, speak up. If not, stfu.
I worked Apple retail and I hope their employees unionize.
Have you ever seen how full those stores get? Do you know what contradictory BS we go through to keep our jobs? Do you know how little they are paid and how many hours they get?
Apple Retail is like high school: it's full of cliques. If you don't constantly improve your metrics, you get warnings. If you spend more than the allotted time with a client, you get warnings. If you don't sell MobileMe and Applecare, you get warnings. All that for typical retail wages with no commission or bonuses and almost zero opportunity to advance: Apple's policy is never to promote from within.

Turnover in Apple Retail employees is enough to show that there's a serious problem. And as for the facebook page and Twitter account, any Apple employee caught saying anything about the company online is fired without warning.

Granted, this is the internet, and you are anonymous. I have idea if you're telling the truth, nor can I prove whether or not I've ever worked at such a place.

I do know this - you are paid what you are worth. Period. No matter where you work who who you work for, you are only worth what someone is willing to pay you. If you feel like you can make more working somewhere else, by all means, find another opportunity. That's what I've done, and its worked out great for me.
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post #28 of 179
I'm a liberal and I hate unions as much as many conservatives do.
post #29 of 179
Trade/Labor unions, like affirmative action and other such policies/groups have been brought about for positive reasons but are ultimately narrow in scope and tend to have an adverse affect if left to linger.

For these Apple employees there is plenty of labor laws in effect. If they don’t like those laws they need to think beyond their current position and think about changing those laws for their state.


Quote:
Originally Posted by iMoan View Post

First and last post on this ignorant thread.

Are you sure about that?
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post #30 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by quasimog View Post

I lean left on most social issues, but I think unions are horrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

I'm a liberal and I hate unions as much as many conservatives do.

It's not even a political issue, frankly. Its an issue of practicality. Unionizing these days doesn't guarantee anything. Its much like class-action lawsuits - the actual victims benefit very little from them, while the attorneys involved make millions and reap most of the benefits.
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post #31 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

It's not even a political issue, frankly. Its an issue of practicality. Unionizing these days doesn't guarantee anything. Its much like class-action lawsuits - the actual victims benefit very little from them, while the attorneys involved make millions and reap most of the benefits.

If I was compromising, I think they should have unions only for government jobs but IMO Unions have no place in the free market at all because they are not a free market force.
post #32 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

If I was compromising, I think they should have unions only for government jobs but IMO Unions have no place in the free market at all because they are not a free market force.

I'm federal civil service and do not want a union. Thanks.
post #33 of 179
Wow, the kneejerk, ignorant responses in this thread are astounding.

Apparently everyone else commenting here lives in a country where companies do no wrong, where workers are never, ever subject to the whims of bosses who may not have much regard for safety or well-being, and where a single employee has the power and leverage to hold management accountable all by himself!

I'm not saying that Apple Stores are ripe for unionization - I worked at one for awhile and my managers were just fine, the working conditions were good, and I generally had no complaints.

But unions aren't just about those things. They're ultimately about making sure that workers are on a somewhat level playing field with management and ownership. They ensure that what workers lack in wealth is made up by their sheer numbers. Otherwise, they become completely exploitable and expendable. Not all companies would do those things, but it's best for everyone if the possibility is as remote as possible.

Yes, unions can sometimes be corrupt or overreach. Just like government. Just like corporations. But no one talks about abolishing them. No, the only institution people want to abolish is the one that dare represent people who otherwise lack in money and power. How completely upside-down is that?

I think there are plenty of arguments to be made for reform of unions and greater transparency in their dealings. But to attack the very concept, to say that workers shouldn't be allowed to unite and fight for their common interests strikes me as cold, heartless and, yes, un-American.

And, by the way, unions help the economy by making sure that wages in middle class jobs are fair and reasonable. I don't think this would make much difference in a retail setting, but it makes a huge difference in others. Look at construction: In states with low unionization, construction jobs basically pay minimum wage. This is a job that is inherently dangerous and taxing on the body (and in many parts of the U.S., only provides work for 9 months of the year), but in states that afford workers little power, those on top have managed to suppress wage growth. That's not necessarily wrong by itself, but with no force to counter it, it becomes economic injustice.

Wealth disparity on the U.S. is on the rise, yet so many think it's fine that literally the only institution that advocates on behalf of the economic interests of working class and middle class people should just go away. It's very sad.
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post #34 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by dziggyii View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no law saying you have to work there. Just quit if you don't like the working conditions!!

There's also no law that says they can't form a union if they choose to.
post #35 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

I think plenty of police officers, firefighters and other service men and women would politely disagree with you . As I said, its more the exception than the rule, but there are decent, legitimate unions out there that work hard to protect its members. Don't count them all out.

100% right. Unfortunately though, for all the great unions out there who work to get their members a fair shake are bads ones out there who either don't get economics and are trying to get top dollar for less productivity or ones that are just corrupt and use the membership for the ambitions of the leadership.

I do have to wonder though, what's the goal here for these employees? Retail is generally low rate shorter term employment for younger individuals.
post #36 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Unions are disgusting and they should be abolished and made illegal.

No they're not, in many ways Unions provide a better product and service, while at the same time improves employee loyalty ( exception the U.S. auto industry ). A good example is the U.S. Walmart versus the Union German Walmart which offers the same products with much higher employee and customer satisfaction.

In the U.S. the labor union brought us the two day weekend.
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post #37 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

If you work or have worked for Apple Retail, speak up. If not, stfu.
I worked Apple retail and I hope their employees unionize.
Have you ever seen how full those stores get? Do you know what contradictory BS we go through to keep our jobs? Do you know how little they are paid and how many hours they get?
Apple Retail is like high school: it's full of cliques. If you don't constantly improve your metrics, you get warnings. If you spend more than the allotted time with a client, you get warnings. If you don't sell MobileMe and Applecare, you get warnings. All that for typical retail wages with no commission or bonuses and almost zero opportunity to advance: Apple's policy is never to promote from within.

Turnover in Apple Retail employees is enough to show that there's a serious problem. And as for the facebook page and Twitter account, any Apple employee caught saying anything about the company online is fired without warning.

Not my experience at all. I worked at Apple 5 years as a part timer, having left in November because of my 2nd job requiring more from me. I worked 20-30 hours a week and thought the pay was pretty good for a retail job. I ended up making $15 an hour after the several raises I had (though you didn't hear that from me).

I NEVER saw anyone get fired for performance, never saw anyone bullied over metrics. It was sensitive people who took it that way, but what really happened was a manager would show a report showing your performance and you talk about ways to improve. If they don't improve they have you shadow someone who is doing it well or something like that. I am a really crappy salesman that just believed in Apple stuff and I almost always met my metrics as a result. I would sometimes spend 2 hours with someone and never had anyone tell me to wrap it up.

It was easy to move up into different roles, although you might need to change stores sometimes. Where I might agree with you is that I did not see alot of management coming from internals, but I saw 2 people move up into an assistant management position.

The people that left the 2 stores I worked at almost always fit into one of 3 categories: theft, attendance problems, or they were getting more hours/had an opportunity to advance at their other job.

I was not part of any clicks, but got along with everyone; loved the fringe benefits, like software from 3rd parties and internal parties.
Either your store was way different than the 2 I worked at or you were just one of the couple of people who no one can please and will find fault everywhere.
post #38 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by popnfresh View Post

There's also no law that says they can't form a union if they choose to.


And if they choose to unionize what would be their bargaining power? If let's say all retail employees for major department stores belonged to the same union, they might have some leverage since if one store was picketed the union could cause all other stores to also go on strike, but short of that kind of coordinated walk out, the Apple retail employees would have virtually no bargaining power whatsoever.

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post #39 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post

Yes, unions can sometimes be corrupt or overreach. Just like government. Just like corporations. But no one talks about abolishing them. No, the only institution people want to abolish is the one that dare represent people who otherwise lack in money and power. How completely upside-down is that?

Well done!
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post #40 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

/signed

We do not need Unions to drag down Apple like they did to the American auto industry and California's budget.

Interesting that only the US economy has been dragged down by unions...doesn't seem to be a big problem in Europe.
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