Contractors stage workers' rights protests at California Apple Stores

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2015
For the past couple of weeks, construction workers have been staging peaceful protests outside a number of Apple Store locations across California, arguing for better wages and working conditions from Apple and contractor Ledcor Group.


Contractors protest outside the 4th Street Apple Store in Berkeley, Calif. | Credit: AppleInsider reader Benjamin


The apparent labor dispute has yet to gain the attention of local media, though visitors to Apple Stores in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto and beyond have for weeks been greeted by sign holders castigating both Apple and Ledcor for unfair wages and benefits.

Most demonstrations are low-key affairs with a couple signs accompanied by a handful of contractors, but others are more dramatic. A camp display at Apple's Palo Alto retail location features a scythe-wielding effigy of Death, for example. An oversized thumbs-down sign sits off to one side.

Demonstrators are not limiting their efforts to operational Apple Stores, as a cadre has been stationed outside the upcoming Union Square flagship in San Francisco since the end of July.

While the initiative appears to be well organized, worker demands are not clearly advertised on signs or flyers handed out at the scene and information is woefully scarce. According to one account posted to Twitter, laborers are handing out leaflets reading, "Apple Inc has failed to require Ledcor Construction Inc. [...] to pay carpenter area standard wage and benefits on all projects." The union or unions backing the effort are also unknown.

A photo posted by Dwayne Samuels (@dwaynesamuels) on Aug 12, 2015 at 1:46pm PDT




A Ledcor representative declined to comment. Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Apple is no stranger to public protest, especially when it comes to contracted labor. Just last year a group of more than 100 people, Rev. Jesse Jackson among them, stormed Apple's Cupertino campus to deliver a petition meant to spark wage reform for Silicon Valley contract workers. In 2012, Greenpeace climbed atop the company's European headquarters in Cork, Ireland to protest the use of coal to power iCloud data centers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,110member

    See? Let one group walk all over you and every band of idiots wants to take advantage. These protestors should be unceremoniously kicked to the curb.

  • Reply 2 of 38
    thrangthrang Posts: 743member

    Wait till they cart out the inflatable rat...

     

  • Reply 3 of 38
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    What do you propose that Apple do? The right to free speech and to assemble is a part of our Bill of Rights. As a shareholder and supporter of free speech, I'm glad they allow it.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    Amorphous statements about unfairness,
    no specific grievances listed,
    not meeting "community standards", ...

    why this is a "You did not hire 100 percent Union Workers" demonstration !!
  • Reply 5 of 38
    vfx2k4vfx2k4 Posts: 43member
    Don't get too excited. The inflatable death is a rental and you see him at every protest there is in SF. It's a growth industry in the Bay Area.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    vfx2k4vfx2k4 Posts: 43member
    Also the protest signs are a template. Exact wording on every other protest in town.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member
    Workers rights are very important, just not the ones that are actually working.
  • Reply 8 of 38
    I heard all the workers on the site are union. What is is taking so long to build that store? I have been looking at that hole in the ground for too long. It is taking forever.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    I'm guessing Tim Cook is planning a meeting with them to "address their concerns" as he has with everyone else he's pandered and caved to lately
  • Reply 10 of 38
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member

    FREE speech?

    Who is afraid?

  • Reply 11 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,627member
    Sad really that people don't grasp that the current administrations policies with respect to immigration directly results in lower wages to workers. Further it is a sneaky way to undermine unions.

    What we Should all realize is that these protests will become even more common as wages are pushed down by the flood of individuals from the south willing to wok for practically nothing. I know of many guys that have actually lost jobs to illegal immigrants over the last couple of years. Pretty sad really.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    Asking for area standard wages and benefits is a fairly basic request.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Asking for area standard wages and benefits is a fairly basic request.

    Maybe, but at a minimum protestors should have documentation on them for what is standard and evidence to show that what they were offered is less. Without this basic info they're no better (and likely to be no more successful) than the people who stand on a corner trying to collect for a "good charity" from passersby.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,110member
    Asking for area standard wages and benefits is a fairly basic request.

    Why should "standard wages and benefits" be considered a good thing? If you're an exceptional employee, you'll want to be compensated for outstanding work and not be lumped in with a bunch of layabouts.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    Why should "standard wages and benefits" be considered a good thing? If you're an exceptional employee, you'll want to be compensated for outstanding work and not be lumped in with a bunch of layabouts.
    Wrong, Mr. Sandwich. If you're a layabout, you want to be lumped in with a bunch of exceptional employees and then ask for standard wages.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Wrong, Mr. Sandwich. If you're a layabout, you want to be lumped in with a bunch of exceptional employees and then ask for standard wages.

    "Standards" are for machines, not outstanding people.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by foregoneconclusion View Post



    Asking for area standard wages and benefits is a fairly basic request.



    I suppose.  But they don't actually work for Apple.  They work for a company that Apple hired to do a job.  What exactly does Apple have to do with how much they are paid by the company they DO work for?  I suppose you would feel differently if you ever hired a company to do a job, and it's workers suddenly started picketing in front of your house demanding better pay.   Example:  You have a plumbing problem.  So you call up a local plumbing company who sends over a couple plumbing contractors.  But they show up at your house and start picketing for better pay.

  • Reply 18 of 38
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,341member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tknull View Post

     



    I suppose.  But they don't actually work for Apple.  They work for a company that Apple hired to do a job.  What exactly does Apple have to do with how much they are paid by the company they DO work for?  I suppose you would feel differently if you ever hired a company to do a job, and it's workers suddenly started picketing in front of your house demanding better pay.   Example:  You have a plumbing problem.  So you call up a local plumbing company who sends over a couple plumbing contractors.  But they show up at your house and start picketing for better pay.




    While I agree with your example of hiring a plumbing company for your house, it's quite a different situation when a large company hires a large contractor for a commercial job.   Companies do put in their contracts that their contractors must meet certain minimal standards or be unionized.   Apple has a choice when choosing contractors and there's no reason why they can't demand that their contractors pay decent wages.    I'm sure Apple makes their contractors sign very detailed and restrictive contracts.   For example, I'm sure Apple makes their contractors carry huge amounts of liability insurance.   (Even in my 200-unit co-op apartment building, if I hire a painter or have my bathroom renovated or even have an appliance delivered, the contractor must, among many other things, submit liability and worker's compensation insurance documents (minimum of $1 million) in advance naming both the co-op and the co-op's management company as "additional insureds".)    

     

    Considering what Apple is reputed to pay for the construction of each of their retail locations (much higher than industry averages, especially for the standalone stores), it's Apple that's getting ripped off if the workers aren't paid decently.   While Apple isn't their direct employer, large companies can't use contractors as an excuse as to why the workers are poorly paid.   This is no different than when Walmart used contractors to clean the stores and the employees were illegally locked into the stores at night and paid at most, minimum wage, but many received less than the legal wage.

  • Reply 19 of 38
    "Standards" are for machines, not outstanding people.
    Agreed. Funny, I used to be pro union. I was in a plumbing union for years. Great classroom training. Thing is, half of the class slept through stuff that I was fascinated by. There's a lot chemistry and physics in plumbing, if one cares to be observant, and/or be exceptional. Anyway, my point is, there were a lot of other plumbers that were paid the same as me, but were way shittier as their jobs, for so many reasons.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    I heard that all the employees on the construction site are - in fact - members of the local union already. Does anyone know why this store is taking so long? I am tired of looking at the emty hole in the ground.
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