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

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  • Reply 81 of 179
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,418member
    Unions have earned a bad name over the years, especially government worker unions.



    NOBODY SHOULD EVER BE FORCED TO JOIN A UNION! \
  • Reply 82 of 179
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    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.



    Mismanagement bought down the American auto industry not its workers. GM was busy building 3 types of Hummers while Toyota was building Prius' and making its entire line of cars have a hybrid version. You guys here always talk about how these other companies lack the vision Apple has, well that's exactly what the dragged down the American auto industry not unions.
  • Reply 83 of 179
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,776member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post


    I agree with Addy! Your anecdotal evidence must, by necessity, hold true for all instances across all professions, in all ways.



    Unions exist for the sole purpose of ruining America! (It's the only thing that makes sense.)



    Of course not. I never said unions are ruining America. I'm saying they abuse their power. Business abusing power is why unions were originally created in the first place. Now we are seeing the other side of it. Apple stores are doing just fine without a union.
  • Reply 84 of 179
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 895member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tetzel1517 View Post


    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.



    My God! Sanity in a post about unions! I can hardly believe my eyes!
  • Reply 85 of 179
    gcom006gcom006 Posts: 73member
    It's refreshing to read that many people recognize that unions have become more of a problem than anything these days. Living in Detroit, it often seems like everyone is in a union so you don't get a lot of objective discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of unions. I respect the history of unions and fully believe that there was a point in time when they were necessary, however, in the modern era, this simply is not the case far more often than not.



    Obviously in Detroit this is as big of an issue as any, especially lately with what's going on in education. Again, you get a lot of working class people who are pro-union, though theyre not incredibly involved or informed about their own union let alone passionate about it. But I've known multiple people that at one point were union leaders at some of the auto manufacturing plants. They went in with good intentions and tried to maintain their integrity, but quickly dropped out of participating in any way, shape or form. Today, their disgust with the unions and their leadership on whole knows no bounds. And again, these were people who at one point were very pro-union and popular enough to get elected to leadership until they fully realized how little room their is for integrity in modern unions.



    The majority of workers in unions are descent people who put in honest hard work on a consistent basis, but they're strung along by union leadership in ways that they oftentimes don't recognize or understand. It's an unfortunate situation. It's been interesting to observe how it's developed into such a political minefield now for both major parties in this country, as even the Democrats have been struggling to maintain their "relationship" with unions knowing full well how big of a problem the unions really are.



    Anyways, to the point, this would be an incredibly dumb move for these employees to make. There's no way that this will work out well for them in the end. After all, Steve Jobs has made it no secret that he thinks unions are one of the biggest problems in this country. There's no way this would fly at Apple. The individual stores would be shut down immediately, no doubt about it. I'm sure they know this, which is why I don't expect anything to actually happen. It's most likely just the press making a story out of mostly nothing as usual.
  • Reply 86 of 179
    drobforeverdrobforever Posts: 400member
    This thread shows most AI posters are from the right. And no surprise, because the biggest group of Apple customers is indeed older white male, who are mostly right-leaning. But people, whether they're from the left or from the right, should learn to stop using those talking points from the media and try to use their independent thinking, and it goes like this:



    Union is an institutional arrangement for the workers, and it's used when it's the optimal instituational arrangement for the workers. It's optimal when workers are better off negotiating the terms of contract together against (usually) big corporations. A union that runs well will take away most of the economic profit generated by the corporation, and there's no 'right' or 'wrong' about it because, the output of the corporation is by the joint production of the workers and the capital/management, and there's no clear way to justify morally which side should get what percentage of that output.
  • Reply 87 of 179
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    I am really surprised at the extent of anti-union sentiment on this board. I would have guessed maybe 50/50, but only one or two have anything positive to say, and even that is qualified.



    Working for someone else is an agreement: I will provide a service for you in exchange for money. That agreement is ongoing. When one side or the other feels that the bargain is being violated in some way, fairness dictates the two should sit down, discuss, and reach a solution that is fair to both sides.



    Your boss or supervisor doesn't come to the table as an individual like you, but with all the resources the company can muster: lawyers, researchers, consultants, etc. Most Americans believe in justice and fair play. They feel that a level playing field is a good thing. Businesses above the "small business" level have resources to enforce their position on a disagreement far beyond what an average employee can muster. The only way a fair resolution can be achieved is if you have access to equal backing. One guy against a corporation is a stacked deck, loaded dice, a blowout. When employees organize to form a unit, it goes a long way to making sure that both sides get heard.



    I bet some of those who said that labor laws now make unions moot would also state in another forum that the less government regulation the better. Unions are not government. They are private, just like companies. Unions are a private sector solution.



    Unions are no better or worse than corporations, their are good ones and bad ones, an lot somewhere between. Unfortunately, the ones you hear about are the usually the bad ones.



    As far as the sentiment, "if you're not happy then leave" goes, imagine if that was extended to another bargain--that between a citizen and his government. "If you don't like a law, or a ticket, or a policy, then go to another country." That wouldn't be fair. We have mechanisms in our system to address grievances: elected representatives, the courts, etc. We don't say if you don't like it, lump it. Why should our working lives not play by the same rules? If someone paid a contractor to build you a house addition and he didn't finish it, or used cheap substitute materials, should the contractor be permitted to say: "If you don't like my work, go somewhere else? If you say, "no, you can go to court," then I say yes, unions make it possible for workers with few resources to go to court.



    We are a government of checks and balances. Unions and corporations check and balance each other. The first amendment to the Constitution give you the right to organize for redress of grievances. To deny citizens the right to organize themselves in the workplace is un-American in the most fundamental way.



    Sorry, but in fairness I had to speak out. There should be some balance in this discussion.





    +1 Unions are all about collective bargaining. Why is it so wrong for the workers to seek the protection of a contract when every C_O of every company has one? Production has gone up while wages have remained stagnant, and who reaps the benefits? The cooperations
  • Reply 88 of 179
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 895member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    "Originally Posted by GQB

    What delusion leads you to think that you as an individual have ANY negotiating power against corporations with power once reserved for governments?"



    Um... start my own company and work for myself, maybe? Perhaps build myself a server case out of used LEGO pieces and name myself 'Google,' or build a reasonably-priced computer hand-carved out of wood in a garage somewhere and call myself 'Apple.'



    So long as individuals are free to work for any company that will hire them, and so long as the opportunity to start your own company is there, corporations aren't the end-all, alpha-and-omega supergiants that control our lives as their minions or slaves. You don't need to be dramatic to drive home your point.



    EDIT: I guess my point is if you submit that the only way to be successful or to earn a living in life is at the behest of a corporation that treats you poorly, then I guess you can develop the illusion that somehow 'unionizing' will make that limited existence more bearable. But again, unions were formed at a time when submitting yourself actually was the only way to earn a living. That's just simply not the case, these days. Not in this country, anyway.



    I guess your point is your post is about as well thought out as your knee-jerk anti-union attitude, to wit:



    "Um... start my own company and work for myself, maybe?"



    Yeah, right. Everyone in the whole country should start their own company and work for themselves. About as impractical an idea as I've ever heard of. Next time you decide to shoot your mouth off you might want to consider putting your brain in gear first.



    All I can think is that either you're independently wealthy or you're just too damned young to know what the hades you're talking about. If it's the first, then you in particular need to shut your pie hole. If it's the second, then you need to consider that you may not know everything just yet.
  • Reply 89 of 179
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by webfrasse View Post


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





    There are actually plenty of unions in Europe. In Germany the president of the union sits on the Board of Directors and have inside knowledge of whats going on within the company. No secrets, no lies, and no us VS. them.
  • Reply 90 of 179
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 895member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


    "Originally Posted by webfrasse

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

    There are actually plenty of unions in Europe. In Germany the president of the union sits on the Board of Directors and have inside knowledge of whats going on within the company. No secrets, no lies, and no us VS. them.



    I think that was dasanman69's point. You know, sarcasm....
  • Reply 91 of 179
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 895member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gcom006 View Post


    After all, Steve Jobs has made it no secret that he thinks unions are one of the biggest problems in this country.



    Do you have any facts to back up this supposition?



    And if true, it would be one of the few things Mr. Jobs and I would be in major disagreement about.
  • Reply 92 of 179
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    If you are going to chime in with the rest and just say you hate unions then say it. Don't make junk up to "prove" your case.



    The idea that unions "destroyed" anything or "ruined the economy" is a complete fantasy based on zero actual facts.



    If unions are so bad and we need to outsource all labour to slave economies like China, then why is Foxconn a union shop?



    Please refrain from misquoting. Lets drop you the first clue on a looming issue with Unions that affected the auto industry and will reach a critical point for the State of California: pensions. However, this is delving off-topic. One reason for Apple Store employees to avoid Unions is having to pay union dues. My wife had a part-time job at a grocery store where her union dues were more than her monthly pay itself. She had to quit that job after two months.
  • Reply 93 of 179
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,969member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    See, I agree with your points of view right up until this part. You're mixing in various elements and variables that don't jive with the mentioned sentiment. You say "why should our working lives not play by the same rules?" Well, they do! That's why we have labor laws, minimum wages, the Department of Labor, health care reform (for better or worse)... all of these things, coupled with a free market and incentivised competition make it absolutely possible for someone to simply work for a competing company if they do not like their current position. We also have trade schools and colleges to train for and obtain more education and skills to make ourselves more valuable and open up more opportunities.



    I'm not saying everything is perfect or that no one has been a victim of an abusive employer, but its a far stretch to say that *only* a union has the ability to provide checks and balances to corporations. That's just nonsense.



    I think we're in substantial agreement. But without unions I doubt we would have all the laws and protections you mention.
  • Reply 94 of 179
    gcom006gcom006 Posts: 73member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


    Mismanagement bought down the American auto industry not its workers. GM was busy building 3 types of Hummers while Toyota was building Prius' and making its entire line of cars have a hybrid version. You guys here always talk about how these other companies lack the vision Apple has, well that's exactly what the dragged down the American auto industry not unions.



    With the auto industry, it absolutely goes both ways. There was absolutely mismanagement, no doubt about it. But their was absolutely just as big of a problem with the workers and unions.



    What people who make this argument fail to recognize is that companies like GM had to maintain their higher end product lines because that's where the profit was and for a long while, that's what was selling. GM's operating cost is far higher than a Toyota's operating cost and Toyota or Honda don't have to worry about all the money that's gone out to a previous generation of workers. How easy do you think it'd be for GM to streamline their operations and become all the more automated when dealing with the Unions? Here's a hint: it wouldn't be. On top of that, you're going to do so to make cars with much lower profit margins in the face of all this resistance? It's hardly so simple.



    Detroit auto management wasn't oblivious to any of this. Again, I agree that they mismanaged the situation none the less, but at the same time, it's not nearly as simple or one-sided of a situation as many make it out to be. Their mismanagement was far more broad in nature than anything related to car design and trends, and it goes many more years back. They let things get out of hand for years on too many fronts when profits were pouring in. There was little foresight or caution and they bent too easily in the wake of it all.



    But again, it goes both ways. It all boils down to greed and a lack of foresight by both management and the unions. What unions fail to recognize or respect is that while a company may be raking in the profits for a time, that may not always be the case. By trying to set standards in the bountiful times based on a feeling of entitlement, you set the company and yourself up for a world of trouble if profits shrink.



    Companies need the flexibility to change and adapt to trends or laws or whatever it may be in as fast a manner as possible. Apple, for example, has consistently done this and it's lead to much of their success. They bank a lot of money so they have the ability to be incredibly flexible when it comes time to change things up or develop new products, and they also openly make decisions that they fully admit aren't geared towards maximizing current profits. They realize that strategy is everything and part of a good strategy is a good, strong bank account.



    All the same, change is generally an expensive, difficult process and offers no guarantees of the highest profitability even if executed perfectly. That's how change goes; you've got to make the most of this. That's what a good company does. Unless the workers are fully open to changing, adapting and taking less money in these times as well, they'd do well to be a whole lot more reasonable at the negotiating table. They might not like it, and it may seem unfair, but by not respecting it, they set themselves and the company up for future trouble down the line. There is always a price for progress.



    But hey, who has the foresight for any of that when there's so much greed to focus on instead?
  • Reply 95 of 179
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,969member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post




    NOBODY SHOULD EVER BE FORCED TO JOIN A UNION! \



    The Confederacy would have agreed with you, because the United States of America is a union.
  • Reply 96 of 179
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    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!!



    When America was a huge manufacturing company most of it's work force worked in factories, sweat shops, foundries etc... Since most of those industries have for good what is left are white collar and service jobs. White collar jobs pay much better than working in retail or other service places. If you are young, are without a college degree (sometimes with a degree) or live in an area with few economic opportunities chances are you work at a mall, restaurant or some service oriented position dealing with the public. If everyone with these jobs took your advice good luck finding help next time you go shopping or need to call tech support, or want to buy a hamburger. Unions are a sign of democracy where the citizens have a right to demand a safe workplace, a fair wage and reasonable time and benefits. Unions are the only bargaining power the majority of under skilled workers have and they have every right to raise concerns about these issues.
  • Reply 97 of 179
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,899member
    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.



    So you think your boss and everyone else's boss is fair and honest all the time in their dealings with employees? I'm old and I have not found that to be true. Unions can even things out a little, but as people have said previously most unions don't seem to be good at that any longer.
  • Reply 98 of 179
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


    Mismanagement bought down the American auto industry not its workers. GM was busy building 3 types of Hummers while Toyota was building Prius' and making its entire line of cars have a hybrid version. You guys here always talk about how these other companies lack the vision Apple has, well that's exactly what the dragged down the American auto industry not unions.



    Nope. In 2008, Toyota saw its sales drop ~34% and Honda by ~32%. Except the American auto industry was affected far more due to higher wages compared to their Japanese counterparts.
  • Reply 99 of 179
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,969member
    Just for the record, some people who work for Apple in Silicon Valley are represented by unions.
  • Reply 100 of 179
    gcom006gcom006 Posts: 73member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobforever View Post


    This thread shows most AI posters are from the right. And no surprise, because the biggest group of Apple customers is indeed older white male, who are mostly right-leaning. But people, whether they're from the left or from the right, should learn to stop using those talking points from the media and try to use their independent thinking, and it goes like this:



    Union is an institutional arrangement for the workers, and it's used when it's the optimal instituational arrangement for the workers. It's optimal when workers are better off negotiating the terms of contract together against (usually) big corporations. A union that runs well will take away most of the economic profit generated by the corporation, and there's no 'right' or 'wrong' about it because, the output of the corporation is by the joint production of the workers and the capital/management, and there's no clear way to justify morally which side should get what percentage of that output.



    Good thing there's a clear way to justify logically which side should get what percentage of the output. A worker is hired at a certain rate to make a product. If that product should be less profitable, should the worker be subject to a pay cut? Do you think these institutions would stand for that? How do you think the unions liked the idea of changing the auto lines from the big, profitable SUV's to smaller cars with much slimmer profit margins? Oh yeah, on top of that, it'd make many jobs irrelevant. Again, they didn't like the idea much at all.



    The workers union may oftentimes make the product, but they do little to steer the direction of the ship. They don't tend to innovate or do research or develop marketing strategies. They're not the one's spending massive amounts of money to take chances that may or may not be profitable. But the company absolutely does need the flexibility to be able to change and evolve or the company might as well have their workers start digging a metaphorical company grave.



    The bottom line is that the company needs money to do this. They also need money to pay the brightest minds that generate ideas leading to successful, profitable products so all the workers can have a job at all and keep making those products. Profits should be largely banked for the future, strategic investments should be made when necessary and the brightest minds paid accordingly. The longterm sustainability of the company should always be the primary dictating factor in determining what to do with profits. I would go so far as to say this is not only the most logical choice, it too is also morally justified.



    If the management from the auto companies and the workers unions had focused on this objective more over the years, a lot more Detroiters would still have good jobs and the "Big 3" might still actually mean something.
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