Apple starts union awareness training for retail store managers

“Apple has begun planning how to respond if its retail employees unionize,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET.

“In an internal document obtained by CNET, the company posted information about a training course on the topic, which takes place [today] and is required to be taken by all new store managers,” Lowensohn reports. “The move comes about six months after an employee-driven effort unionize Apple’s retail workers. That store-by-store effort, called the Apple Retail Workers Union, cited Apple for providing poor compensation to its part time employees, as well as calling attention to alleged deficiencies in Apple’s ‘break schedules, training opportunities,’ and ‘the selection and hiring process for internal candidates for open positions.'”

Lowensohn reports, “A retail union holds the potential to drive up Apple’s operating costs if employees are able to successfully negotiate increases to pay and benefits. Having a union in the first place grants them the ability to set up those negotiations but does not guarantee that Apple would agree to any changes… Apple has its own rights on the matter. The company can do campaigning of its own, letting employees know that it’s against a union.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

50 Comments

    1. Companies should be allowed – without criticism – to move their labor costs to other regions/countries when unions threaten their competitive advantage to international companies with no labor cost issues. Local labor is too expensive due to unions.

      1. Without criticism? Would we amend the Constitution to promote this objective, or would all Americans just take a pledge not to criticize companies for moving operations to low-wage locations.

        Would workers that unionize still be subject to criticism, or would we amend the Constitution not to criticize union members at the same time we protect companies?

        Just for fun, let’s broaden the law to prevent ANY criticism at all, except Android phones!

      2. And to support your anti-union frothing, I think you should IMMEDIATELY give up all your rights that were actually won by unions — which includes most of the benefits workers enjoy that distinguish you from a Victorian-era “serf”.

      3. Without unions and Marx/Engels/Lenin in USA would be still no concept of workers’ rights. You would work 14-16 hours a day for less than minimal wage, with no medical expenses covered and two vacation days per month. And, certainly, ecology and safety of workspace as concepts would not exist since it never matters while the workers are so cheap and helpless.

        However, this is not to say that marginal ideas like communism or an abuse of the power by unions that tampers with effectiveness of the economy are good thing.

        Everything needs a balance. Maybe these Apple’s unions will be moderate and everything will be fine; lets see.

      4. It is impossible to move retail to off-shore employees.

        And to those of you so eager to ship American jobs overseas to low cost nations, it’s obvious you’ve never had your job shipped away. I have had several jobs exported, including as a software engineer. So it’s not just factory jobs going away.

        Besides retail, the only jobs that can’t be exported are lawn mowing and snow plowing.

    2. Like every other social organization model… Religion. Democracy, socialism, unions etc… The ideas and concept have merit… Then you add people and it gets all f$&ked up…

      If we could only eliminate the people…. Everything would run perfectly… Oh yeah… But then we wouldn’t need the social structure model… Catch 22?

    3. Unions would kill the Apple Stores, just like they’ve damaged every other industry they’ve entered. Apple should have only one policy if a store attempts to unionize: shut it down.

      While they served a needed role in improving the workplace conditions of our great great grandfathers, Unions are nothing more than a legal mafia enterprise and political tool for liberals.

      Unions are slowly chipping away at capitalism, they’ve already destroyed out education system, and as their membership drops, they’ll become more desperate to maintain membership and relevancy.

      1. You said this as an absolute, which means a single counter-example shoots you down. Check out the hotelworkers’ union in NYC. The hotels are raking in profits, and the employees have a strong union with full health benefits and very good pay.

        So, nice talking points, but empty words, apparently.
        Also, let’s address the assumption you seem to make: Corporations treat people so much more fairly than they did back when unions “served a needed role.” Do you really believe that, without unions, employees will not see more and more protections removed? That’s amazingly naive.

  1. Let the debate begin!! I bet apple retail employees ,don’t even get there full lunch breaks!! Think about it, when have any of us been in a apple store that wasn’t completely swamped with customers?
    Unions aren’t the problem, they are still needed!!

    1. As a former Apple retail worker, I was chewed out a few times for NOT taking my full lunch break, or regularly scheduled breaks. Apple store managers are very sensitive to this and were good about making sure everyone got the time they needed.

  2. Um……. Union for part time work. Really, really??

    They aren’t hiring 12 years old, forcing unsafe or hazardous working conditions, unless you are an attorney who is looking for a lawsuit to deep pockets.

    Go ahead and increase overhead cost and drive up prices for the consumers.

    1. Yup I agree there! I personally think the Unions have served their purpose. It seems, to me, theses days it’s more political than anything else.

      Bad workers can not be fired so easy so lazyness rules the workforce. I can’t begin to tell you what the union workers did to my mom cause her product output was higher than the union workers.

      So in this reguard the unoins are very very bad and become a nasty political force.

      Just my 2¢

  3. Even if they’re not allowed to unionize, Apple retail employees should be given equal protections under state and federal current labor laws —you don’t want to see Apple Stores turn into Wal-Marts in terms of employee conditions. You’ll only get ticked-off, grumpy, depressed Geniuses living paycheck to paycheck.

  4. The Obama RDF in full flow. Socialism is like malarial fever – it’s spread by mosquito vectors known as community organizers. And the antidote to that is to spray it with a RidDem aerosol.

  5. Apple Store employees make much better than minimum wage, it’s not the traditional retail job. I work at an Apple Store because I was a fan not because I was looking for training opportunities etc., I just wanted an opportunity to share my passion with other like minded people. When I started working part-time they asked me how much did I want to make an hour? I said $16 an hour and then said o.k., that is not typical in a mall setting

  6. Unions r the downfall of capitalism! While the union thugs hold companies hostage on wages and benefits and protect the laziest, most incompetent workers from consequences of their actions and inactions, the consumer loses! Thank the democrat socialists for ramming unions and their political agendas down our throats! Unions take your dues and do what they want! It’s institutionalized socialism that strains relationships and trust between employees and the ungrateful workforce!

  7. @Jim

    I fully agree. Here come’s the old boogey man scare scenario set about by union representatives. Next we’ll be hearing that Steve Jobs was a sweat shop master. I want $30/hour as a door greeter.

  8. Tou can take the boy out of Alabama (Cook) but you can’t take Alabama out of the boy.

    As an Apple user since 1979, customer since 1980 & shareholder since 2001:
    Let them unionize.
    Think Different

  9. You know, if these people were looking unionize all retail employees, I would give them credit. I worked in one of the stores, it’s not worse working conditions than many retail stores. You’re busy, you work. Tell them to get a job at the Microsoft store if they’re working too hard.

  10. The bigger issue seems to be that managers must learn to manage properly. Apple is taking a proactive approach to negate the need for workers to protect themselves. The Apple store where the employees tried to form a union was likely managed by a person who should never have been a manager. That manager also did not hire people who like to work and serve customers.

  11. Apple should close the doors on any store that unionizes, unless they want to follow the lead of all those wonderful top-notch quality American unionized companies … like GM and Chrysler. The only thing a union will do is slowly choke every bit of quality and service out of Apple products and the store, while creating a negative work environment for all. I have worked in a few union jobs over my lifetime and I know this: Those who work hard are usually well rewarded by management and don’t need unions. Those who do need unions are slackers that simply amass into gangs to hold the company hostage. These people will leech until they kill the company and their own jobs.

    1. Yeah, and the shareholders should sue the board that does so for fiduciary malfeasance. A redneck knee jerk reaction to the formation of a union is not what is called for.

      As to quality, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Honda, and others all have union workforces in their home countries. In Germany, the union is represented on the Board of Directors and it does not seemed to have hurt them.

      Generally the best way to avoid unions is to treat employees well and pay them well. The Issacson book has confirmed that Steve Jobs was a raging asshole to damn near the bitter end and such is not a model to be emulated.

      As to slackers:
      A good union shop steward will take care of the slackers for you.

      As for me:
      I will gladly pay more for products made by union workers paid a decent wage and treated well.

      1. ” In Germany, the union is represented on the Board of Directors and it does not seemed to have hurt them.”

        Go to Germany to work then. Unions are devastating to a company, it costs at least 25% more to make anything in a union shop.

  12. CFO’s have a Union called the Board, that is frequently filled by handpicked cronies.

    When the company is doing well, the Board are very generous to the CFO. When the company is doing badly, there’s the Golden Parachute, like the 20 million severance Carly Fiorina received from HP.

  13. Apple should close any store that unionizes and terminate all employees. Unions are nothing but leaches that suck the lifeblood out of any healthy company. Just listen to Jobs talk about the teachers unions–he got it!

  14. Depends on the business/product. Unions have a place. Lets say your job is to screw a rivet on a product that needs thousands of parts to complete. Maybe you also get to polish a knob after you drill that screw. Oh and maybe its more than one screw, it could be 5 to 10. Do yo think you deserve 25 to 30 bucks an hour for that job? Hmmm?

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