Apple employees urge management to act on Gaza conflict

Posted:
in General Discussion

A group of Apple employees are urging Apple's leadership to do more for the Palestinian community, accusing the iPhone maker of punishing workers for taking a public stance on the Gaza conflict.

Palestine flag [Pexels/Seyma D.]
Palestine flag [Pexels/Seyma D.]



Apple CEO Tim Cook and other members of the executive team have been called out by a group of approximately 300 employees in an open letter about the Israel-Palestine war. The executive leadership at Apple is claimed to be too silent on the matter, to the point where its affecting the workforce.

The open letter from the group, titled Apples4Ceasefire, claims it is disappointed and in shock at "the lack of care and understanding this company has given the Palestinian community, not only abroad suffering in Gaza, but also twards our own team members and anyone who supports them within our stores and offices."

The letter goes on to claim that, after an October 9 email from Tim Cook where he claimed his "heart goes out to the victims" of the violence, there hasn't been a similar message issued over 150 days later offering the same level of concern.

"In fact, anyone who has dared to express support of the Palestinian people in the form of kaffiyehs, pins, bracelets, or clothing, has been actioned against under the guise of breaking business conduct' and creating a harmful environment," the group insists. Apple is also accused of wrongfully terminating employees for showing solidarity.

A keffiyeh firing



A podcast from Palestine in America featuring the group identified one Palestinian retail employee at the Lincoln Park, Chicago Apple Store, who was let go for wearing clothes and accessories supporting Palestinian people, reports Wired. The employee reportedly asked multiple Apple managers if it was OK to wear a keffiyeh at work, only to be told it was OK so long as the Apple logo wasn't covered.

Weeks later, employee Madly (pronounced "Medley") Espinoza says that the stance changed and managers had both asked her not to wear the item anymore, and issued a disciplinary document about it violating store policy. She switched to wearing pro-Palestinian jewelry, again after getting approval from managers, with others at the store joining in.

Before Espinoza was fired on March 6, approximately 40 employees at the store were reprimanded for wearing supportive bracelets. Documents related to the firing don't disclose a specific reason for her termination, but she was allegedly told that her actions were "too political" and constituted "a harmful enviropnment."

Other current and former employees are quoted within the same podcast episode, being told by management not to wear the keffiyeh due to its political stance.

The group is now planning a protest outside the Lincoln Park store on Saturday.

A request for speech



The open letter adds that Apple is voted as one of the world's most admired companies, one that "emphasizes inclusivity and racial equality," and that Apple "must stand at the forefront of this humanitarian crisis and innovate socially just as we do technically."

It asks Cook and other executives to "end their silence on this crucial subject, and make it clear that Palestinian lives matter." Apple's silence means it becomes "more complicit in this horrific genocide," it adds.

"We work(ed) here because we love this company, want to change lives, and make the world a better place," the letter concludes. "How can we do that, when we remain silent on the issues that matter most?"

Apple employees have occasionally banded together to urge action or change within the company on sensitive topics. This is also not the first time that employees have sent a letter to Apple's management about Palestinian people.

A letter signed by nearly 1,000 members of staff was circulated within Apple in May 2021, urging the company to publicly acknowledge that millions of Palestinian people were suffering "under an illegal occupation."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Interesting. No worries about the fighting in Ukraine?
    Or any other conflicts around the world?

    baconstangblastdoorwatto_cobradee_dee
  • Reply 2 of 21
    tobiantobian Posts: 151member
    Interesting. No worries about the fighting in Ukraine?
    Or any other conflicts around the world?


    Perhaps this is because of a different pace. At the end of the year, death toll in Ukraine was around 9.700 people after these years, while in Gaza it's over 30.000 since October. Civilians x soldiers ratio also differs. Hard to judge...
    watto_cobraronnmuthuk_vanalingamJaiOh81
  • Reply 3 of 21
    Dead_PoolDead_Pool Posts: 121member
    Apple is 100% right on this one. This is an intensely political issue, with diametrically opposing views on either side. It is completely unprofessional for this sort of political controversy to enter the workplace. Imagine if Apple allowed employees to wear MAGA hats or advocate for or against the right to life while at work. This is no different. 
    baconstangwatto_cobrawilliamhh2p
  • Reply 4 of 21
    Apple should stick to their guns on this.....look what happened to Disney when they got involved with the state of Florida and their position on parents rights in education. Ben and Jerry's also.... most large employers have a code of conduct and appearance standards that are agreed to by the employee prior to their first day.  
    baconstangwatto_cobraDead_Poolzeus423
  • Reply 5 of 21
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,281member
    tobian said:
    Interesting. No worries about the fighting in Ukraine?
    Or any other conflicts around the world?


    Perhaps this is because of a different pace. At the end of the year, death toll in Ukraine was around 9.700 people after these years, while in Gaza it's over 30.000 since October. Civilians x soldiers ratio also differs. Hard to judge...
    Maybe you have a different Ukraine in mind? Hundreds of thousands have died. 


    watto_cobranubusVictorMortimerh2pbaconstang13485
  • Reply 6 of 21
    blastdoor said:
    tobian said:
    Interesting. No worries about the fighting in Ukraine?
    Or any other conflicts around the world?


    Perhaps this is because of a different pace. At the end of the year, death toll in Ukraine was around 9.700 people after these years, while in Gaza it's over 30.000 since October. Civilians x soldiers ratio also differs. Hard to judge...
    Maybe you have a different Ukraine in mind? Hundreds of thousands have died. 


    He’s probably a paid Russian sympathizer trying to spread misinformation.
    nubusblastdoorVictorMortimer
  • Reply 7 of 21
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,913member
    Apple must be neutral and not taking stand for either side when two groups/nations fight around the world.And looks like these 300 Apple employees have too much time on hand wasting on something that has noting to do with their job at Apple. Do your damn job at Apple.
    If you want to do something then quit Apple and go to Gaza or Ukraine or wherever as humanitarian volunteer to help out. And keep the damn religion out of it.
    williamhDead_Poolnubusbaconstang
  • Reply 8 of 21
    msuberlymsuberly Posts: 236member
    What is Apple supposed to do, hand out iPhones to everyone in Israel and Gaza so they can shoot text messages at each other instead of guns???  Make a statement so a group of employees can feel good about themselves as they go to work within the United States???

    If the employees don't like their jobs, they should look for alternate employment, or maybe travel to Gaza to fight.
    Cesar Battistini MazieroDead_Poolbaconstang
  • Reply 9 of 21
    wood1208 said:
    Apple must be neutral and not taking stand for either side when two groups/nations fight around the world.And looks like these 300 Apple employees have too much time on hand wasting on something that has noting to do with their job at Apple. Do your damn job at Apple.
    If you want to do something then quit Apple and go to Gaza or Ukraine or wherever as humanitarian volunteer to help out. And keep the damn religion out of it.
    What if one of those countries is the United States? Should Apple stay neutral when its home country is involved in the conflict? For instance if the United States needs to defend Taiwan from China?
    Dead_Pool
  • Reply 10 of 21
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 240member
    Companies should focus on the company and stay out of politics.
    Dead_Pool
  • Reply 11 of 21
    nubusnubus Posts: 381member
    Apple is doing the right thing.Employees simply can't bring this to work. I wouldn't accept other flags on employees either.
    Apple also did the right thing when stopping sales to Russia. The invasion of another state was a clear violation of the UN charter.
    baconstang
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Apple shouldn't get involved.

    I would even urge Apple to look more deeply into the employees complaining.

    It's long pas the time the USA just focus on itself.
    Dead_Pool
  • Reply 13 of 21
    Dead_PoolDead_Pool Posts: 121member
    wood1208 said:
    Apple must be neutral and not taking stand for either side when two groups/nations fight around the world.And looks like these 300 Apple employees have too much time on hand wasting on something that has noting to do with their job at Apple. Do your damn job at Apple.
    If you want to do something then quit Apple and go to Gaza or Ukraine or wherever as humanitarian volunteer to help out. And keep the damn religion out of it.
    What if one of those countries is the United States? Should Apple stay neutral when its home country is involved in the conflict? For instance if the United States needs to defend Taiwan from China?
    Excellent question. I would say it depends upon how controversial the U.S. involvement is. 
  • Reply 14 of 21
    blastdoor said:
    tobian said:
    Interesting. No worries about the fighting in Ukraine?
    Or any other conflicts around the world?


    Perhaps this is because of a different pace. At the end of the year, death toll in Ukraine was around 9.700 people after these years, while in Gaza it's over 30.000 since October. Civilians x soldiers ratio also differs. Hard to judge...
    Maybe you have a different Ukraine in mind? Hundreds of thousands have died.
    It's only hundreds of thousands if you count orc invaders.

    It's still a huge number of actual people, unfortunately.

    But Israel is trying hard to beat it with their genocide.  They've already murdered a FAR higher percentage of the population.  Ukraine has lost about 42,000 people, Gaza has lost over 32,000 so far.  Ukraine started with 38 million people, Gaza with 2.3 million.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    wood1208 said:
    Apple must be neutral and not taking stand for either side when two groups/nations fight around the world.And looks like these 300 Apple employees have too much time on hand wasting on something that has noting to do with their job at Apple. Do your damn job at Apple.
    If you want to do something then quit Apple and go to Gaza or Ukraine or wherever as humanitarian volunteer to help out. And keep the damn religion out of it.

    How about we NOT support another genocide?  How about maybe this time around American companies NOT play neutral and NOT sell technology to the perpetrators?
    JaiOh81
  • Reply 16 of 21
    nubus said:
    Apple is doing the right thing.Employees simply can't bring this to work. I wouldn't accept other flags on employees either.
    Apple also did the right thing when stopping sales to Russia. The invasion of another state was a clear violation of the UN charter.
    If you argument is that Apple follow the UN's lead then I'd assume you are advocating in favor of Apple stopping sales in Israel until they comply with the UN's demand for a ceasefire.
    JaiOh81
  • Reply 17 of 21
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,050member
    nubus said:
    Apple is doing the right thing.Employees simply can't bring this to work. I wouldn't accept other flags on employees either.
    Apple also did the right thing when stopping sales to Russia. The invasion of another state was a clear violation of the UN charter.
    If you argument is that Apple follow the UN's lead then I'd assume you are advocating in favor of Apple stopping sales in Israel until they comply with the UN's demand for a ceasefire.

    I'm not aware of any economic sanction imposed on Russia, by the UN. If I'm not mistaken, it would take an unanimous vote of the UN Security Council to impose such a sanction and Russia is a permanent member and thus would not vote for it.

    It's the Group of Seven (otherwise known as G7, of which the US is a member) that have imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Apple is complying with the US (as a member of the G7) economic sanction on Russia, not any economic sanction imposed by the UN. Now if the US (or G7) imposed economic sanction on Israel, then we would expect Apple to comply.






    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 21
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,252member
    wood1208 said:
    Apple must be neutral and not taking stand for either side when two groups/nations fight around the world.And looks like these 300 Apple employees have too much time on hand wasting on something that has noting to do with their job at Apple. Do your damn job at  Apple.
    If you want to do something then quit Apple and go to Gaza or Ukraine or wherever as humanitarian volunteer to help out. And keep the damn religion out of it.

    How about we NOT support another genocide?  How about maybe this time around American companies NOT play neutral and NOT sell technology to the perpetrators?
    The vast majority of people in Gaza support the massacre that occurred on Oct 7. You reap what you sow. 
    How about demanding Hamas lay down their arms and surrender? The war would end immediately. 
  • Reply 19 of 21
    Getting involved in any political/social debate is a fraught decision for any business, if they don't want to estrange any of their clients. Call it amoral, but from an economical standpoint a company's first job is to make, not lose, money.

    Having said that, I have a question for those who equate the war in Gaza with genocide: At the and of WWII, after V-E Day, the Allies fought solely against Japan. The Japanese death toll was horrific, and civilians endured incredible suffering. Would you consider that genocide, just because all of the combatants and victims on one side of the conflict were Japanese? I think most people would agree that it wasn't. War does not become genocide just because its victims lack diversity.

  • Reply 20 of 21
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,913member
    wood1208 said:
    Apple must be neutral and not taking stand for either side when two groups/nations fight around the world.And looks like these 300 Apple employees have too much time on hand wasting on something that has noting to do with their job at Apple. Do your damn job at Apple.
    If you want to do something then quit Apple and go to Gaza or Ukraine or wherever as humanitarian volunteer to help out. And keep the damn religion out of it.

    How about we NOT support another genocide?  How about maybe this time around American companies NOT play neutral and NOT sell technology to the perpetrators?

    How about Hamas not started war rocketing Israel in first place ? And in war innocent people dies on both side. I am afraid, this war is not going stop unless Hamas leave regular Gaza people alone and not make them human shield. Apple makes products to make every human's life better and has nothing to do with this Gaza-Hamas-Israel crap.
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