Apple retail, HR chief pushes back against union drives at Apple Stores

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 25
Apple retail chief Deirdre O'Brien has pushed back against recent unionization efforts at some of the company's brick-and-mortar locations in a new video to staff members.

Apple SVP Deirdre O'Brien
Apple SVP Deirdre O'Brien


In the video, which was seen by Bloomberg, O'Brien -- Apple's senior vice president of retail and human resources -- said that the efforts could slow workplace progress and potentially harm the relationship between Apple and its employees.

"It is your right to join a union -- and it is equally your right not to join a union," O'Brien said. "And if you're faced with that decision, I want to encourage you to consult a wide range of people and sources to make sure you understand what it could mean to work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement."

Additionally, O'Brien implied that union organizations supporting the efforts at several Apple Store locations may not be acting in the best interest of workers.

The Apple executive added that the iPhone maker has a relationship with staff "based on an open and collaborative and direct engagement." She said that could be "fundamentally changed" if a store votes to unionize.

"And I worry about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship," she said. "An organization that doesn't have a deep understanding of Apple or our business, and most importantly, one that I do not believe shares our commitment to you."

Additionally, she said that a store under a collective bargaining agreement could hamper progress toward improving the workplace experience by slowing down the company's ability to make "immediate, widespread changes." She said that's because of the legally mandated rules unions bring to the table.

At least four Apple Stores in the U.S. are working toward unionization, including locations in New York, Kentucky, Georgia, and Maryland.

Apple declined to comment to Bloomberg about the O'Brien video. However, the company has touted its "very strong compensation and other benefits for full-time and part-time employees" in past statements to media outlets.

The Cupertino-based company, which has 270 stores in the U.S., has also been accused of hiring anti-union lawyers and carrying out union-busting tactics at one store.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,864member
    The union drive is going nowhere.  There is just not going to be a demand for it, unless the economy collapses completely.  Right now, Apple will be forced to raise wages even further, because they won't get people to work otherwise.  
    iOS_Guy80
  • Reply 2 of 15
    bsnjonbsnjon Posts: 39member
    I love Apple but this is classic double talk that doesn’t mean anything. Giving workers a say in their working environment will make Apple more slow in dealing with workers concerns? The argument makes no sense. 
    If an employer is proud of the promises they make to employees, why not put it in writing?
    12StrangersStabitha_Christietyler82montrosemacsmichelb76Paul_Bgrandact73byronl
  • Reply 3 of 15
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,705member
    "The Apple executive added that the iPhone maker has a relationship with staff "based on an open and collaborative and direct engagement." She said that could be "fundamentally changed" if a store votes to unionize."

    She would say that wouldn't she? When did an employer ever think it a good idea for the work force to be able to organize and speak with a single voice? The problem is that without it is a one sided relationship. Apple dictates as an organized unified management body. Apple may be a wonderful and generous employer, but how does the 'open and collaborative and direct engagement' work the other way around? 
    12StrangersStabitha_Christietyler82montrosemacsbyronl
  • Reply 4 of 15
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 994member
    Unions wouldn't be attractive if these companies (that are worth trillions) would just pay their employees living wages and provide them health, retirement, sick leave, and vacation benefits (you know, like every other developed nation). 

    These companies have brought this upon themselves.
    payecoEcky-Thumpmontrosemacsronngrandact73byronl
  • Reply 5 of 15
    tyler82 said:
    Unions wouldn't be attractive if these companies (that are worth trillions) would just pay their employees living wages and provide them health, retirement, sick leave, and vacation benefits (you know, like every other developed nation). 

    Indeed.  Apple supplies all those benefits to its retail employees in other countries.

    frantisekbyronl
  • Reply 6 of 15
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 917member
    The need for employees to organize is a direct reflection of poor management. 

    Good management requires employee input -- functional input -- not just talking to a wall. 

    Every store manager must perform like their best store managers. 
    michelb76godofbiscuitsronntyler82grandact73byronl
  • Reply 7 of 15
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 707member
    Apple gets to make their case; then the vote happens. 
  • Reply 8 of 15
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 386member
    Out of all companies, I would have expected Apple to be pro-employees, instead of against them.
    godofbiscuitstyler82grandact73Life007byronl
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Paul_BPaul_B Posts: 37member
    bsnjon said:
    I love Apple but this is classic double talk that doesn’t mean anything. Giving workers a say in their working environment will make Apple more slow in dealing with workers concerns? The argument makes no sense. 
    If an employer is proud of the promises they make to employees, why not put it in writing?

    You are correct on every point.  This entire union talk - in the big picture is entirely political, and has nothing to do with technology nor retail.  Woke is dead, they are desperately trying to say otherwise, the battle is lost, pass the popcorn.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,143member
    Paul_B said:
    bsnjon said:
    I love Apple but this is classic double talk that doesn’t mean anything. Giving workers a say in their working environment will make Apple more slow in dealing with workers concerns? The argument makes no sense. 
    If an employer is proud of the promises they make to employees, why not put it in writing?

    You are correct on every point.  This entire union talk - in the big picture is entirely political, and has nothing to do with technology nor retail.  Woke is dead, they are desperately trying to say otherwise, the battle is lost, pass the popcorn.
    Utterly incomprehensible.
    ronn
  • Reply 11 of 15
    JFC_PA said:
    Apple gets to make their case; then the vote happens. 
    When it comes from the Chief people person, it's strong-arming.
    ronn
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Shame on her.  This is a great time to remind everyone that "Human Resources", the name of the Dept, should make it clear that corps think of people as resources first.  Like electricity or office supplies or furniture.  HR doesn't work for employees, it works for the corp.  It's there to make sure the corp has cleared its legal responsibilities at least plausibly.  
    ronnbyronl
  • Reply 13 of 15
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 750member
    blah blah blah....
    byronl
  • Reply 14 of 15
    danoxdanox Posts: 952member
    Opps here’s more money please don’t vote UNION…….
  • Reply 15 of 15

    I am no fan of unions, but whenever they have been brought in, they have  resolved the issues for which they were selected. There have been issues that Apple refused to deal with - giving points for sick time for retailers (yes, three points in 90 days and you would get a written warning), or disallowing employees to use sick time to see the doctor ( a local retail issue, but they refused to budge on it) - and short of law suits and unions, what else can a diligent employee do when no one listens. I wish Apple the best, but if they can't be bothered to listen to employees, they will continue to be plagued with the specter of unions.

    ronn
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