Apple continuing full-court press against retail unionization efforts

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 23
Apple has been addressing unionization drives by discussing a host of anti-union talking points at several more of its Apple Store locations in Maryland and Virginia.

Apple Towson Town Center
Apple Towson Town Center


One employee who said they work at "Apple Townsend" -- likely meaning Apple Towson Town Center in Maryland -- said that company representatives recently gave anti-union talking points, including the fact that a union could slow down schedule changes and that recent pay raises were not the result of unionization efforts.

Apple Addressing Townsend Unionization at Download Today!

Before starting it was made VERY CLEAR we could leave at any time and was under no obligation to listen to this part of the download

Key Talking points:

- Talked About Townsend and how nothing has changed so far.
1/

-- Pulled from Repair (@PulledfrmRepair)


AppleInsider has confirmed the location and timing of the efforts in Towson, Maryland.

Meanwhile, about 70 miles down I-95, Apple has also been holding anti-union meetings at Apple Reston in Virginia, one staffer told AppleInsider in an email. The employee said Apple Market Leaders came to the store and used the closure of recent unionized Starbucks stores as a negative example of union pushes. We were also able to confirm these meetings through other sources.

There has been a growing effort to unionize, both at Apple retail locations and at other companies.

An Apple Store in Atlanta, Georgia was the first retail location to organize earlier in 2022. Since then, retail locations in Kentucky, New York City, and elsewhere have also made similar moves.

This is not the first time that Apple has made moves to counter unionization efforts.

Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's chief of retail and people, has pushed back against the union pushes, saying that the relationship between Apple and its employees could be "fundamentally changed" under unionization.

Apple was also said to be circulating anti-union talking points to store mangers earlier in May. In April, it hired lawyers known for busting unions.

Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.

There has been a growing movement to unionize, both at Apple and elsewhere. Many Starbucks stores are moving to unionize and have faced retaliation from the company. Amazon warehouse workers also voted to become the first union at the retail giant earlier in 2022.

Unionization efforts have also gained support from both customers and public figures. Back in June, President Joe Biden congratulated Apple workers in Maryland for voting to join a union, saying he was "proud of them."

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 971member
    Unions are poison.
    Apple should go to court and challenge the Wagner Act itself. That would finish off unions in the US.

    iOS_Guy80
  • Reply 2 of 33
    Huh.

    Gotta say, I've never been in a union and have never been terribly pro-union.

    My dad worked as a pharmacist for Walgreens and when they were unionizing they threatened to break his legs if he didn't join.

    My dad resisted and Walgreens actually made him part of the management team to isolate him from the threats. Not sure if they gave him management duties or elevated his pay, but I think the objective was just to remove him from that sphere of vulnerability.

    A lot of things that happen to your family color your perception - for instance I was a staunch republican because my parents moved to the midwest to avoid being put in a prison camp (they called them internment camps) in California. Even J. Edgar at first refused to have the FBI round up the Japanese, but was told by Roosevelt he'd simply find someone else who would do it.

    Of course, once Trump was elected (I sat out that election) it cured me of that staunch republicanism - especially now that the GOP's gone flat out batshit crazy.
    iOS_Guy80dewmeradarthekat
  • Reply 3 of 33
    Seems people's love for Apple is clouding their "workers rights" ideologies. If this were any other company, a different toon may be singing.
    Oferfreeassociate2darkvader
  • Reply 4 of 33
    JP234JP234 Posts: 228member
    Have unions gone too far? In some cases, definitely. But ask yourself, "self, why are there unions in the first place?" There's only one answer: Corporations exploiting their own workers, denying them basic human rights, and refusing to pay sustainable wages. You want to prevent your workers from unionizing? All you have to do is listen to them, and let them know they're heard. Then just do the right thing.

    I've been a union worker (IBEW Chicago local 134). And I've been a non-union worker (countless lousy, dead end jobs). I also owned a non-union printing business. My employees never saw the need to organize, because I treated them with respect, dignity and generous compensation. In return, they busted their asses for me.

    Let me just say this about unions: If it weren't for them, everyone who is reading this article would be working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. You'd be living in a company town, being paid in company scrip instead of cash. That scrip would only be usable at the company store, where you would pay for all the equipment you need for your job, your food, your household goods, your uniforms, your family's clothes, and your rent. At the end of the week, you'd owe the company store more than you earned. But they'd be willing to carry you for a "reasonable" interest charge, as long as you continue to work for them.

    In effect you'd be what they call a "wage slave." If you haven't read the great Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" it's time you cracked a book. If you don't like reading, watch the great John Sayles movie, "Matewan," the true story of `the miserable lives of coal miners in West Virginia and the violence they were subjected to at the hands of the Pinkerton Security Agency when trying to organize, paid for by the mine owners in collusion with the state government. You've probably seen "Norma Rae" with Sally Field.
    edited August 19 hypoluxamontrosemacsronnmuthuk_vanalingamfreeassociate2Fred257darkvaderFileMakerFellerAlex_Vbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 33
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 680member
    JP234 said:
    Have unions gone too far? In some cases, definitely. But ask yourself, "self, why are there unions in the first place?" There's only one answer: Corporations exploiting their own workers, denying them basic human rights, and refusing to pay sustainable wages. You want to prevent your workers from unionizing? All you have to do is listen to them, and let them know they're heard. Then just do the right thing.

    I've been a union worker (IBEW Chicago local 134). And I've been a non-union worker (countless lousy, dead end jobs). I also owned a non-union printing business. My employees never saw the need to organize, because I treated them with respect, dignity and generous compensation. In return, they busted their asses for me.

    Let me just say this about unions: If it weren't for them, everyone who is reading this article would be working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. You'd be living in a company town, being paid in company scrip instead of cash. That scrip would only be usable at the company store, where you would pay for all the equipment you need for your job, your food, your household goods, your uniforms, your family's clothes, and your rent. At the end of the week, you'd owe the company store more than you earned. But they'd be willing to carry you for a "reasonable" interest charge, as long as you continue to work for them.

    In effect you'd be what they call a "wage slave." If you haven't read the great Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" it's time you cracked a book. If you don't like reading, watch the great John Sayles movie, "Matewan," the true story of `the miserable lives of coal miners in West Virginia and the violence they were subjected to at the hands of the Pinkerton Security Agency when trying to organize, paid for by the mine owners in collusion with the state government. You've probably seen "Norma Rae" with Sally Field.
    I'd second that sentiment. Have some unions over-stepped their lines, sure. But like you said, nobody wants to be exploited by their employer. If companies would stop paying their top 1% of staff ginormous amounts of $ for admin work and pay the actual on-the-floor-and in-the-weeds-workers better in some cases, maybe unions wouldn't be needed. I can see the argument for a maximum wage in these cases.
    nubusronnmontrosemacsJP234Fred257darkvaderFileMakerFellertmay
  • Reply 6 of 33
    (See full article)
    Starbucks closed one NYC store. 


    ###
    Edited by moderator to remove reposting of entire article.
    edited August 19
  • Reply 7 of 33
    ronnronn Posts: 517member
    Union busting often works. But it often spurs more action by workers. I remember the laughing at Starbucks employees starting their unionization efforts. By the end of this month more than 200 stores will have unionized.

    The efforts may not work as well at Apple, but best believe that there will be more Apple locations unionizing, and that in response Apple will be forced to increase pay & benefits, and improve working conditions with employee input. Whether the unions win elections or not, they have won in a very big sense. And that's a good thing.
    muthuk_vanalingamFred257darkvaderAlex_V
  • Reply 8 of 33
    thrangthrang Posts: 936member
    Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.


    It's not really the sole responsibility of a company to pay a "living wage" whatever that really means. You should pay a going rate for a type of job, (ideally higher than the going rate to attract and keep better employees), and offer benefits and incentives whenever possible. All retailers are "competing" with one another for those in that general job definition pool, so can individual can go elsewhere - if enough do, then the business losing people would have to respond. But a living wage? The problem with that bar is that, well, the cost of "living" is not in the control of a hiring business. Perhaps not Apple, but many business do not have the fiscal resources to meet a "living wage" definition as though they bear sole responsibility. Taxes, housing, money printing, bad fiscal and trade policy, a fairly well-broken public education system and more all put direct or delayed inflationary pressures on what it costs to live or the means to pay your way. These are factors largely NOT in control of businesses hiring workers. They can't "make up the difference" anywhere close to a dollar for dollar way. Some companies try and help; Apple and others are funding affordable housing projects in California, and they fund various education and coding initiatives. but that's above and beyond what a significant majority of business can afford to do. And of course, increasing wages and benefits only does one thing - increases cost of doing business and thus the cost of the products and services everyone - including those works - has to shell out. Ontop of this, I thought Apple actually pays pretty well (starting at $22 an hour) and has good benefits for retail workers, which are not rarified or highly skill pool of workers (not denigrating but they are not doctors or engineers....and I worked retail for years when I started, spare be the moaning of how difficult it is.) This is more about the unions going after a cash-rich target, not trying to save workers from an exploitative company. That's NOT to say Apple hasn't made mistakes, but overall? Be real....
    radarthekatFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 33
    JP234JP234 Posts: 228member
    thrang said:
    Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.


    It's not really the sole responsibility of a company to pay a "living wage" whatever that really means. 

    No it's not the sole responsibility. It's just one of the responsibilities of a company to the people responsible for its success (or failure). The man who mops the blood off the operating room floor is as responsible for the lives of patients as the heart surgeon. Neither works without the other, and you've missed that completely.
    ronnFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 10 of 33
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,391member
    JP234 said:
    thrang said:
    Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.


    It's not really the sole responsibility of a company to pay a "living wage" whatever that really means. 

    No it's not the sole responsibility. It's just one of the responsibilities of a company to the people responsible for its success (or failure). The man who mops the blood off the operating room floor is as responsible for the lives of patients as the heart surgeon. Neither works without the other, and you've missed that completely.
    If you don't like what you're getting paid you can just leave and get a job that pays more. It's not like they're locked into a contract with Apple and have to get out of it. People do this everyday, without a union. 

    I think these retail workers forget they're still working in retail. Are their positions a little more skilled yes, but they're also paid more than most other retail jobs. They also get health insurance (or at least the opportunity to get it) whether they're part or full time employees. They also get massive discounts on certain Apple products. They get a great benefits package most retail workers don't get. It's like they want Apple Corporate benefits for working in Apple Retail. 
    edited August 19 iOS_Guy80radarthekatwaveparticleFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Unions are the single most important thing that happened to labor in the history of…well labor. To blow off how they help is simply ignorance of the history of working people in the US. Apple is simply playing the the age old game of - let’s pay as little as we can. Which is to be expected. But then workers also have the right to organize to counter the owners. Sometimes unions make mistakes, but guess what, private companies make mistakes too. But ignoring the value that labor unions have brought to workers is short sighted. Any history of the U.S. would demonstrate the value of labor unions.
    muthuk_vanalingamdarkvaderbikerduderonnFileMakerFellerAlex_Vpfhreak
  • Reply 12 of 33
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,629member
    It’s really quite simple:  if Apple wants to keep the union out, rather than hype or threats, all they need to do is up the pay scale. 

    Apple is known for paying their corporate, marketing, engineering and other such workers well, but their retail workers lousy. 

    In expensive cities like NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and others, it’s impossible to live on less than $22 an hour, IMO.   Minimum wage in NYC is now $15/hr and a company with Apple’s profits can afford to pay substantially more.   Apple thinks nothing of spending $millions to redo a glass cube or staircase.  They need to treat their employees well. 

    If not, they’ll either face unionization or they’ll play the ugly game that Starbucks and some other chains are playing and close stores. 

    Unions are a mixed bag.  There’s positives and negatives.  I was personally in a union twice and that worked out pretty well.  But in another more creative position, when there was talk of unionizing, I probably would have voted against it had it come to that.  

    In general, if it’s a job where you have many people doing the same thing and one doesn’t have a way to stand out to get raises or be promoted, then a union can be helpful.  But if one is far better than an average employee, then a union can hold you back because it’s far more likely that raises and promotions are based on schedules and seniority and not the quality of one’s work. 
    dewmemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 33
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,709member
    This is one battle I hope Apple loses, or rather comes to terms with the fact that workers need representation and as such decide to work constructively with the union. Unions may be guilty of many things but the concept of workers at the bottom of the pay scale having the power to negotiate as a 'body', and have legal experts and organizers on their side is clearly 'right'. It doesn't matter how great Apple is as a company or how much they pay. It is a matter of lopsided control. 
    muthuk_vanalingamdarkvaderronnFileMakerFellerAlex_Vpfhreak
  • Reply 14 of 33
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,526moderator
    JP234 said:
    thrang said:
    Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.


    It's not really the sole responsibility of a company to pay a "living wage" whatever that really means. 

    No it's not the sole responsibility. It's just one of the responsibilities of a company to the people responsible for its success (or failure). The man who mops the blood off the operating room floor is as responsible for the lives of patients as the heart surgeon. Neither works without the other, and you've missed that completely.
    Are you sure?  I would contend that CEO pay is based not upon the number of hours worked versus those working on the manufacturing line or in the stores, but rather by the impact of the work the CEO does.  A CEO routinely makes decisions that have significant impact on the future of the entire business.  Rarely, an individual worker at the retail or manufacturing level has such impact, and if he/she does, his/her pay and position would be substantially raised in recognition of that impact.  Compensation is far more about each employee’s impact than about proximity to the product or service or hours worked.  

    So let’s talk about your heart surgeon versus the employee who mops the blood from the operating room floor.  If the person cleaning the operating room calls in sick, another orderly can be assigned the task.  There’s likely some formal process for accomplishing that task and it’s likely there are a number of orderlies trained to carry it out.  Even the surgeon scheduled to perform the next operation, could, if necessary to prep the room, could step in to perform that task.  The impact to success of the next heart surgery performed in the operating room is not significantly reliant upon the orderly originally assigned the task.  A nurse could perform the task if needed.  Many others could perform that task.

    If the Surgeon, however, is unable to come to work, a nurse, orderly or some other hospital personnel other than another doctor, could not be expected to be able to step in.  The role of heart surgeon is highly specialized, requiring advance medical knowledge and experience.  And the attainment of this knowledge and experience, over a long period of time and at great personal effort, allows the surgeon to perform what those without that experience and knowledge could not reliably perform.  This makes the surgeon far more valuable than the person who cleans the blood off the operating room floor.  

    I’m a bit shocked I had to explain that.  
    edited August 19
  • Reply 15 of 33
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 162member
    If these already very highly paid with industry leading benefits and very replaceable Apple retail workers wants to unionize in this economy, they do it at their own risk

    i know about 100 very computer and Apple literate 18 year olds from the high schools in my area that just graduated and would love to work at Apple .

    other retail workers simply do not get the benefits Apple workers get. 

    Stupid stupid greedy people will get what they deserve 
    edited August 19
  • Reply 16 of 33
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 177member
    davgreg said:
    Unions are poison.
    Apple should go to court and challenge the Wagner Act itself. That would finish off unions in the US.


    When did a shop steward rain on your parade?

    Unions, plain and simple, balance out the money of the business owners with the numbers of the employees — without whom the owners would have no products or services to sell.

    Before unions, most employees worked 10 - 12 hour days, six days a week, with no holidays, no health insurance, no retirement savings plan or pension, no workers rights of any kind — except to be fired. And then there was child labor. And the "right" to die in a fire because the business owners chained the fire escape doors closed because too may people were daring to take breaks to get a breath of fresh air.

    Please don't post such ignorant comments unless you can back them up with facts.
    ronnFileMakerFellerAlex_V
  • Reply 17 of 33
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 177member
    Madbum said:
    If these already very highly paid with industry leading benefits and very replaceable Apple retail workers wants to unionize in this economy, they do it at their own risk

    i know about 100 very computer and Apple literate 18 year olds from the high schools in my area that just graduated and would love to work at Apple .

    other retail workers simply do not get the benefits Apple workers get. 

    Stupid stupid greedy people will get what they deserve 
    Most people working at Apple Stores, which is where the organizing is going on, are anything but "highly paid." You're thinking of the engineers who work in the flying disk-shaped building in Cupertino. For wage slaves like the ones in the Stores, a union makes sense.

    And actually, union workers (there are probably two or three left) who were hired by Safeways in my part of the country before about 1985 have similar benefits, and better pay. Though admittedly they don't get discounts on Apple hardware.
    darkvaderronnAlex_Vpfhreak
  • Reply 18 of 33
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 162member
    sunman42 said:
    Madbum said:
    If these already very highly paid with industry leading benefits and very replaceable Apple retail workers wants to unionize in this economy, they do it at their own risk

    i know about 100 very computer and Apple literate 18 year olds from the high schools in my area that just graduated and would love to work at Apple .

    other retail workers simply do not get the benefits Apple workers get. 

    Stupid stupid greedy people will get what they deserve 
    Most people working at Apple Stores, which is where the organizing is going on, are anything but "highly paid." You're thinking of the engineers who work in the flying disk-shaped building in Cupertino. For wage slaves like the ones in the Stores, a union makes sense.

    And actually, union workers (there are probably two or three left) who were hired by Safeways in my part of the country before about 1985 have similar benefits, and better pay. Though admittedly they don't get discounts on Apple hardware.
    You compare Apple retail workers to other retail  workers, meaning Subway, Best  Buy, or Starbucks. Why would you compare them to Engineers ? Are you joking? Do you not understand that?


  • Reply 19 of 33
    JP234 said:
    thrang said:
    Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.


    It's not really the sole responsibility of a company to pay a "living wage" whatever that really means. 

    No it's not the sole responsibility. It's just one of the responsibilities of a company to the people responsible for its success (or failure). The man who mops the blood off the operating room floor is as responsible for the lives of patients as the heart surgeon. Neither works without the other, and you've missed that completely.
    Are you sure?  I would contend that CEO pay is based not upon the number of hours worked versus those working on the manufacturing line or in the stores, but rather by the impact of the work the CEO does.  A CEO routinely makes decisions that have significant impact on the future of the entire business.  Rarely, an individual worker at the retail or manufacturing level has such impact, and if he/she does, his/her pay and position would be substantially raised in recognition of that impact.  Compensation is far more about each employee’s impact than about proximity to the product or service or hours worked.  

    So let’s talk about your heart surgeon versus the employee who mops the blood from the operating room floor.  If the person cleaning the operating room calls in sick, another orderly can be assigned the task.  There’s likely some formal process for accomplishing that task and it’s likely there are a number of orderlies trained to carry it out.  Even the surgeon scheduled to perform the next operation, could, if necessary to prep the room, could step in to perform that task.  The impact to success of the next heart surgery performed in the operating room is not significantly reliant upon the orderly originally assigned the task.  A nurse could perform the task if needed.  Many others could perform that task.

    If the Surgeon, however, is unable to come to work, a nurse, orderly or some other hospital personnel other than another doctor, could not be expected to be able to step in.  The role of heart surgeon is highly specialized, requiring advance medical knowledge and experience.  And the attainment of this knowledge and experience, over a long period of time and at great personal effort, allows the surgeon to perform what those without that experience and knowledge could not reliably perform.  This makes the surgeon far more valuable than the person who cleans the blood off the operating room floor.  

    I’m a bit shocked I had to explain that.  
    Are you implying that the required skill level of a CEO of a company is commensurate with that of a surgeon?
    darkvaderronn
  • Reply 20 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,374member
    JP234 said:
    thrang said:
    Union organizers across Apple's retail footprint say that pay has fallen below living wages in many markets, including Atlanta.


    It's not really the sole responsibility of a company to pay a "living wage" whatever that really means. 

    No it's not the sole responsibility. It's just one of the responsibilities of a company to the people responsible for its success (or failure). The man who mops the blood off the operating room floor is as responsible for the lives of patients as the heart surgeon. Neither works without the other, and you've missed that completely.
    Are you sure?  I would contend that CEO pay is based not upon the number of hours worked versus those working on the manufacturing line or in the stores, but rather by the impact of the work the CEO does.  A CEO routinely makes decisions that have significant impact on the future of the entire business.  Rarely, an individual worker at the retail or manufacturing level has such impact, and if he/she does, his/her pay and position would be substantially raised in recognition of that impact.  Compensation is far more about each employee’s impact than about proximity to the product or service or hours worked.  

    So let’s talk about your heart surgeon versus the employee who mops the blood from the operating room floor.  If the person cleaning the operating room calls in sick, another orderly can be assigned the task.  There’s likely some formal process for accomplishing that task and it’s likely there are a number of orderlies trained to carry it out.  Even the surgeon scheduled to perform the next operation, could, if necessary to prep the room, could step in to perform that task.  The impact to success of the next heart surgery performed in the operating room is not significantly reliant upon the orderly originally assigned the task.  A nurse could perform the task if needed.  Many others could perform that task.

    If the Surgeon, however, is unable to come to work, a nurse, orderly or some other hospital personnel other than another doctor, could not be expected to be able to step in.  The role of heart surgeon is highly specialized, requiring advance medical knowledge and experience.  And the attainment of this knowledge and experience, over a long period of time and at great personal effort, allows the surgeon to perform what those without that experience and knowledge could not reliably perform.  This makes the surgeon far more valuable than the person who cleans the blood off the operating room floor.  

    I’m a bit shocked I had to explain that.  
    You didn’t. You chose to.
    darkvaderronnFileMakerFeller
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