Apple Agrees to Improve Working Conditions for Retail Employees Amid Unionization Efforts
Apple is planning to make employee schedules at retail locations more flexible in an attempt to improve working conditions, reports Bloomberg. The changes come as employees in some Apple stores have been working toward unionization.
Going forward, Apple will make sure that there are at least 12 hours in between each shift an employee must take on, up from the current 10 hour minimum. Employees will not have to work past 8:00 p.m. for more than three days a week unless they choose to work late shifts.
Employees will no longer be scheduled to work more than five days in a row, down from six days in a row, though there could be exemptions during holidays and new product launches, and full-time employees will be eligible for a dedicated weekend day off for each six month period that they work.
Workers that spoke to Bloomberg said that Apple plans to implement these scheduling changes in the coming months, and they will be in addition to new benefits introduced in February. Apple in February bumped up the number of available paid sick days, is offering more vacation days, and has upped parental leave.
Apple retail locations in Washington State, New York, Maryland, and Atlanta have taken steps toward unionization with employees asking for higher pay, more vacation time, better retirement options, and other benefits, but none of these efforts have been successful to date.
Apple's head of retail Deirdre O'Brien in May sent out a video to employees to dissuade them from unionizing. "It is your right to join a union - and it is equally your right not to join a union," O'Brien said in the video. She said that employees should "consult a wide range of people and sources" to have a full understanding of what it would mean to "work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement."
O'Brien said that a union would make it more difficult for Apple to implement "immediate, widespread changes," and it could "make it harder for [Apple] to act swiftly to address things" that employees bring up.
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