Apple starts meetings with its retail workers to prevent unionization

Apple Store Galleria
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has had a track record with union busting, especially with its retail store employees, and it looks like the company isn't planning on changing that anytime soon. There have been talks of unionizing among Apple Store workers across the US, and Apple hasn't been too keen on it. Now, the company is pushing harder to curb these unionization attempts.

According to Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, Apple has begun holding meetings with retail store workers to discuss the risks of unionization. Multiple Apple Stores have attempted unionization, and with two stores unionized and the list growing, Apple seems to be increasing efforts to counter the bid.

Apple Store managers hold meetings to "discuss the risks of unionization"

Gurman reported that Apple Store managers across the US have been having meetings with the retail staff. This staff is responsible for Apple's native brick-and-mortar store sales, including those of its best iPhones. Gurman wrote, 

"Over the past two weeks, managers at Apple’s roughly 270 US retail outlets held meetings with staff members to discuss the risks of unionization and provide a planned update on bargaining between the company and the first unionized store, a location in Towson, Maryland. "

Apple reportedly used the Towson store — one of the two currently unionized stores — as a bit of a cautionary tale. 

"Managers told workers that the union representing Towson employees — International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM — is requesting dues that amount to 1.5% of pay. Managers said that amount of money could quickly add up over time and that employees who don’t comply with the payment could be terminated within a month, based on the union’s proposals.

Managers also said the Towson store is giving more priority to full-time employees who want to take weekend days off, putting part-timers at a disadvantage. Similarly, they warned stores that longer-tenured employees at the Towson outlet would be prioritized over new staffers for jobs."

Apple also discussed other aspects of unionization, pointing to how it can be disadvantageous for them. The meetings also indicated that unions could make changes without employee permission, and explained unionization "in a way that some employees saw as an attempt to pour cold water on the idea." Although Apple seems to have attempted to "thread the needle in its messaging" to make sure they were clarifying that the final vote on unionizing belonged to the employees.

Palash Volvoikar

Palash has been a technology and entertainment journalist since 2013. Starting with Android news and features, he has also worked as the news head for Wiki of Thrones, and a freelance writer for Windows Central, Observer, MakeUseOf, MySmartPrice, ThinkComputers, and others. He also worked as a writer and journalist for Android Authority, covering computing, before returning to freelancing all over town.