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.

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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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Top Rated Comments

quagmire Avatar
26 months ago
#1 way to avoid unionization: Treat the employees right from the start.

Novel concept......
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
26 months ago
Cool, but this is exactly why unions exist - to negotiate these working conditions. The problem with these promises is they might not get implemented and can get pulled back at any time.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StrangeNoises Avatar
26 months ago
Looks like unionisation is already working for them, even while still in potential state. they'd be mad to stop working for it now.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anthogag Avatar
26 months ago

Cool, but then there is the flip side, ridiculous defense of union employees.

I witnessed the following back when I worked IT for a company that had a union manufacturing plant and a non-union office:

1) On 2nd and 3rd shift the phone system locked out all calls outside the country. Union employees would sneak into the office with a phone code they stole by watching over the supervisors shoulder and call Puerto Rico for hours. The shop steward actually filed a complaint with us that the phone codes were too short at only 4 digits so we were actually to blame for the poor behavior of their members and that he was tired of defending them. No one was fired after this blatant theft of time and phone bills.

2) Same as above but with computer logins, union employees would sneak into a remote part of the office during 2nd and 3rd shift, login with stolen credentials and surf porn. We setup a camera to find out who was involved and believe me, some things you can't un-see. No one was fired, even the one caught "jacking" on company time.

3) Sexual harassment. I witnessed a union employee ask a female office worker who was dating a tall guy in the office if "the big man gives it to her good". This union employee was actually fired but after filing a complaint and winning was brought back, seniority intact with all back pay.

Gotta love unions.

I am not saying there wasn't a time and place for unions but I think we are well past that point. Unions are nothing but power and cash hungry organizations fighting for their lives in a "right to work" world. No one should ever be forced to join a union or lose a job.
No, this is not "unions". This is corruption. It happens everywhere.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
26 months ago
Even if unionization efforts fail, the end result is good.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anthogag Avatar
26 months ago

The question is, why do you believe every employee is entitled to those things? Where does this sense of entitlement come from? And if those things are that important, why did the person decide to work in retail in the first place? Every individual makes choices in life.

It’s amazing how immigrants who barely speak English get farther than multi-generational Americans on hard work alone. If only Americans learned the value of hard work from these immigrants they wouldn’t be asking Apple or the gov’t to take care of them; they’d find ways to do that on their own.
Low wages, terrible working conditions, no safety regultions, no pensions, fired if your boss doesn't like you, sexual harassment, fighting, racism,...etc. this still exists around the world. I think if most employees are given a choice they would not choose this for their workplace. This is not "entitlement".

Entitlement is the double digit millionaire salaries today's CEOs get. Somehow CEOs and upper management believe they should be making 1000x more than their typical employee.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)