Apple’s unionized Maryland store files complaint over being excluded from benefits

Apple last month withheld its latest employee benefits and perks from staff who work at its sole unionized retail store in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland. Now, Apple’s sole unionized retail store in Maryland is filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over the exclusion.

Apple Towson Town Center
Apple Towson Town Center

Mark Gurman and Robert Iafolla for Bloomberg News:

In October, Apple announced a suite of perks for retail and corporate employees in the US, including new medical benefits, prepaying for a portion of tuition for outside education, and free access to a premium Coursera Inc. subscription.

But it withheld the benefits from the store in Towson, a suburb of Baltimore, indicating that the new perks would have to be negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement. That move drew Wednesday’s complaint, which was filed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the labor group representing the store.

MacDailyNews Take: The dude trying to upsell you from AirPods to AirPods Pro is neither a machinist nor an aerospace worker, but that’s beside the point. The point is that, after being sold a bill of goods, they made their bed in Towson, but they don’t want to lie in it.

Tough. The unionized Towson store needs to negotiate benefits with Apple via the collective bargaining arrangement that comes with a union.

For every action there is a reaction. Clear consequences tend to focus the mind.MacDailyNews, October 12, 2022

Again, Apple retail workers are already, and have long been, among the highest paid retail workers around the world. If ultimately bound under a union contract, and the smart employees should hope that never happens, it will get more difficult to work at an Apple retail store, not easier.

If talking sense doesn’t work, Apple should consider more drastic measures.

An employer is free to simply close its operations at any time, even when facing unionization efforts. Apple could then develop and open new retail stores in the same cities with new staff.

The company closed every store in an entire country (Russia) and still posted all-time quarterly results; it could easily absorb this handful of store closures with subsequent relocations/restaffing to drive home the point that:

In a free market, jobs are valued by supply and demand.

The skillset for a retail employee is different than that for, say, a software engineer. Potential retail employees are an order of magnitude more plentiful than software engineers and the wages paid and benefits granted for each job reflect that discrepancy.

You’re not going to get rich working in retail. There are simply too many other people capable of doing your job.

Nobody likes to hear that their job is a dime a dozen. Regardless, retail jobs are a dime a dozen.

If retail workers unionize, they can, and do, force abnormal wages and benefits that do not reflect the reality of supply and demand for such positions.

What happens next (besides backroom graft and corruption between union bosses and politicians)?

The corporation is forced to overpay unionized staff to do tasks that, in a free and unfettered market, should cost the company far less. Therefore, to maintain margins and profitability (in order to satisfy the company’s shareholders and the market), the company is forced to either cut back in other areas or raise prices for goods and services. The company cannot “absorb the cost” longer term.

Talk about inflation.

That said, yes, executive compensation is out of whack. Tim Cook is vastly overpaid for what he does. This is because he holds a rare skillset and it benefits the shareholders to have continuity in the CEO position. Basically, Apple overpays Tim Cook in order to have a long-term CEO which provides confidence to the market. A succession of different CEOs jumping from company to company every other year seeking higher salaries would be a negative and justifies Cook’s overpayment. Cook is paid to stay more than for what he actually does. This is why he has vesting targets set years into the future. If he stays, providing continuity, he benefits and so does the company’s stock price (over time).

Not so for retail employees. If one leaves, there’s an endless line of others to replace them. Sure, there are excellent retail employees and, if Apple’s retail arm is functioning properly, they are being identified and rewarded in order to keep them, as their continued employment benefits the company, the company’s customers, and the company’s shareholders. But the cost of their employment must make financial sense, regardless of how good an employee is – if it costs more to keep them than they are worth to the company, they should seek employment elsewhere, not force overpayment / continued employment.

If Apple is not functioning properly, unionization is the last resort of employees. Just know that those costs will eventually be passed to the customer. Someone has to pay. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If those unionization costs are too high (which they tend to become over time), it will hurt the company (consumers will look for similar goods and services offered at significantly lower prices) and the retail workers will eventually feel negative effects from that (see: unions and Detroit’s automotive industry, what’s left of it).

Back in the day, unions corrected many wrongs: unsafe working conditions, forced overtime without pay, child labor, etc. None of these situations are faced by Apple Retail employees today. Some retail staffers simply want higher pay than the actual value of their work in a free market, so they want to band together to force it.

In many union settings, workers face limited advancement based on their merits. Union workers’ avenues for advancement are limited as stipulated by union contracts. So, if you are an exemplary Apple employee today, your prospects are likely brighter than if you were part of a union, subject to certain union rules governing advancement, etc.

Retail employees should carefully consider the pitfalls of unionization and the consequences of unintended consequences. — MacDailyNews, May 25, 2022

See also:
• Apple to improve scheduling flexibility for retail workers – June 2, 2022
Apple boosts starting pay for U.S. retail workers to $22 per hour – May 26, 2022
Apple retail chief O’Brien pushes back against unions in new video to retail staff – May 25, 2022

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  1. It only took six days for Apple stock surge of over $160.00 to be whittled away to it’s current $140.00 To think any company is going to thrive under a Joe Biden and the Democrats economy is a pipe dream.

    1. You apopheniacs never miss an opportunity push your false agenda.

      The Apple stock dive relates to China’s lockdown of the biggest Foxconn factory, and presumed drop in iPhone production.

      1. Like the White House screaming there’s no recession, there’s no recession. Forget about that CPI increase. We brought gasoline prices down. Bragging about $$ bump in Social Security Checks.

        If this was a tweet in the new Twitter, you’d be fact check to where you would have to delete that tweet like Biden did recently about Social Security Checks.

        However, Veritas, you can make a fortune selling those rose colored lens glasses you see life through!

        1. So, the Xi Biden admin causes high inflation/high prices and then tries to say that Social Security recipients are sooo lucky because there’s an increase in the payout rate that will still leave them far behind in purchasing power due Biden’s destruction of our dollar’s value. Gee, no logic there! C’mon Man! “You’ll eat it and like it.”

      2. Now do the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that…

      3. NASDAC, Dow Jones and S&P are all down. Per the one using the word that doesn’t fit his thinking, he’d propose all mentioned indexes are down because of Foxconn’s iPh production drop.
        Let’s remember; The Fed hiked rates, inflation is WW, there’s an energy crisis and few think we’re NOT in/approaching a recession. How ‘bout that apophenia?

        Please hang up and try again.

        1. How dare you call me a Joe Biden Democrat, because that is one person that makes everything about him. Remember when that dottering old fool said he wouldn’t pass the blame of things on others. Lyin’ Biden has done nothing but!

          I see Variable, that you were unable to answer “now do the day before” regarding Apple stock price decline or inability to break out in comparison to Biden’s EO’s and Administration policies.

  2. My wife’s family business was unionized in the 70s. When Thanksgiving rolled around her grandfather was asked when the turkeys would be coming. Something the family did every year for their staff. Her grandfather told them they should ask their shop steward about that, as it’s up to their union to provide those benefits now. Also gone were Christmas bonus of two weeks pay and an Easter Ham. Careful what you wish for and live with the consequences of your choices!

  3. I’m sure these dolts that decided to unionize are butt hurt. They are obviously too dumb to understand what collective bargaining means. Do they really think they will have any form of leverage when that time does come. I envision we’ll soon see a video like this one with an Apple store employees in the bathroom having a melt down.

    1. OMG. This is the result of liberals’ participation trophy attitude. Incredible parenting failure as well. Imagine being so incompetent and irresponsible that pouring coffee is too hard.

      That generation is about a get a rude and painful smack into reality, even those with a “full mustache and beard.” Saddening. Sick.

      Thanks liberals, your destruction of the country is nearly complete.

    2. OMG what a crybaby! I was a full-time student throughout all my years of college and I worked a full 40 hour week too!! I worked evening/night shifts when attending daytime semester loads and went to night school when I had to. C’mon junior, shave off that mold under your chin and sport a normal haircut. Then you can be upset when customers refer to you as “she”…….. Your parents did you no favors in your upbringing.

    1. Lacy…your a smart one. I rubbed shoulders with a number that worked at AAPL and deemed their stock grants as income at issuance. Short sighted impulses prevented them f being retirement “set.”

      Live like few today, so you can live like few later. Delay gratification.

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