Apple is withholding benefits from unionized employees

Apple iPhone store
Apple iPhone store (Image credit: Apple)

Apple is just giving this one to the union lawyers.

As reported by Bloomberg, the company announced a slew of new benefits for employees this week including financial support for educational classes and health care. Unfortunately, those benefits will not be offered to employees at the company's sole unionized location in Maryland.

The company says that they are unable to give the new benefits to employees at its Towson Apple Store because they need to negotiate for them "via the collective bargaining arrangement that comes with a union." Apple is apparently not alone in that kind of approach to having a company that is both union and non-union.

Excluding unionized stores from new benefits has also been a flashpoint in the labor dispute at Starbucks Corp., where about 250 cafes have voted to unionize over the past year. Starbucks rolled out a series of new perks at nonunion stores, including raises and student-debt coaching, while saying that it can’t legally provide them unilaterally to sites with union activity.

What are the new benefits being withheld?

The new benefits being offered to non-union employees include the company paying for some tuition for outside education, a free membership with Coursera, and new health care plan that waives co-pays with certain doctors.

  • Apple prepaying some tuition for outside education. The company has long reimbursed employees for a portion of education costs, but the iPhone maker will now pay the amount in advance. This will start at a small amount of colleges, though the list is expected to expand over time.
  • A program with Coursera Inc. beginning on Jan. 1 that gives Apple employees a free membership. Coursera is an online-course provider that normally charges $399 per year for its premium subscription.
  • In certain states, including Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Washington and New Jersey, employees will get access to a new health care plan that waives co-pays for some Apple-approved doctors within the UnitedHealth Group Inc. network.

The timing of the announcement is certainly suspect as employees in Oklahoma City are about to vote on unionization. Wilma Liebman, the chair of the National Labor Relations Board, said that “it’s hard to see how they could come up with a legitimate reason for the timing other than to influence the outcome of the election."

Apple declined to comment on the story.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.