Apple continues push to keep unions out of retail stores

Apple is continuing its push to keep its vast network of retail stores from unionizing, looking to avoid the unionization issues experienced by companies like Amazon and Starbucks.

Apple Retail Store

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

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.

The talks, held during gatherings known as Daily Downloads, followed a bit of a lull at Apple. Months ago, the company held Q&A and information sessions aimed at addressing unions and its retail chief sent a video to staffers on the topic.

The efforts have so far appeared to work: Only two Apple stores have unionized — Towson and Oklahoma City — and locations that sought to organize workers in Atlanta and St. Louis have walked back their efforts… 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.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in February:

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.

Apple should do all it can, within reason, to satisfy and compensate retail employees. In fact, Apple appears to be doing so. Just this February, Bloomberg News reported that Apple will significantly increase wages and benefits for American retail workers amid a tightening labor market.

Apple adopted the following changes for U.S. retail workers beginning on April 4th [2022]:

• Raises ranging from 2% to 10% depending on store location and role, for salespeople, Genius Bar technical support staff, and some senior hourly workers.

• Doubling paid sick days for both full-time and part-time workers. The days can be used for mental health leave and taking family members to the doctor. This change will give full-time workers 12 paid sick days, instead of six.

• Workers receive more annual vacation days, beginning at three years of employment instead of five.

• Part-time employees will now get as many as six paid vacation days for the first time. Another first: They’ll get paid parental leave. That benefit will cover up to six weeks and will include the ability to gradually ramp up work time for the first four weeks back.

• Part-time workers also will get access to discounted emergency backup care for children or elderly family members.

In a [2022] statement to Bloomberg News, an Apple spokesperson reiterated, “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”

Please help support MacDailyNews. Click or tap here to support our independent tech blog. Thank you!

Support MacDailyNews at no extra cost to you by using this link to shop at Amazon.


      1. Yes, thinking of the unions of the past that built America with great quality work, efficient, ahead of schedule and CARED.

        Now, fast forward to the lazy mob like run unions of today with their fists in government faces, overly concerned with exorbitant prevailing wages/benefits FIRST, running up costs for sh*t work and cost overruns always late, while holding taxpayers hostage and projects out of reach as America infrastructure crumbles before our eyes.

        Get a GRIP, whack job!…

      2. According to Wiki, worker unions were the middle class as you imply, but then Pres. Reagan began weakening some and then GW Bush fully weakened the rest with his call to “make America competitive,” meaning the lowering of worker wages and benefits in America to that of India, Pakistan, China, et ali. But, you know, compulsively-obsessively hard right presidents consistently worked to force austerity on the middle and lower classes while attentively and gleefully enriching the hard right donor class.

        1. Communists like you always complain the same thing. If we just had some more communism everything would be better. PLEASE PLEASE go to your communist utopias and stay there. I’ll buy you a 1 way ticket if you promise never to come back.

  1. “Apple should do all it can, within reason, to satisfy and compensate retail employees.”

    Given that Apple has more $$$ in the bank than most sovereign nations…
    Given that Apple earns more per sq foot than anyone else in brick and mortar retail by a mile…
    Given that Apple continues to be a HIGHLY profitable business with no signs of slowing down…
    Given that Tim Cook could pay an entire Apple store staff with his couch change…
    Given that Apple should want the most motivated and qualified staff in positions that directly interface with its customers…

    Yeah, salary and benefits at an Apple store should be clearly and significantly above other, comparable jobs at places like Best Buy or Electronic Express. Or Burger King.

    1. It already is. Apple starts at $22 an hour and has great benefits.

      The people who complain about Apple’s retail practices seem to have no idea how much they pay or what benefits they provide. Pretty typical for complainers.

      1. I wasn’t complaining, I was agreeing with the quote from MDN.

        I do find it amusing that “progressive” organizations like Apple and Starbucks hate the idea of unions.

  2. Fire them all!

    The evil unions put in plants to try and sew dissent in these places. They are all evil scum. All evil unions need to go the way of the dodo.

    Furthermore, apple should fire 7/8 of all its employees. The entire company is full of human cruft. If Steve Jobs were around, he’d fire at least half of these people overnight.

    Twitter is a great example. They fired 3/4 of all their employees and everything is better than before. You have to get rid of these do-nothing do-no-work people and replace them with A players that really love this work.

      1. There’s also the bit where Jobs made the most valuable company in the world, so there’s that. 🙄

        There’s also that the unions are evil and fake dissent by inserting evil union (I know same thing) fakers into these companies to cause trouble and dissent so they can get their mob money.

        ALL UNIONS SHOULD BE BOYCOTTED for the evil farce that they are.

  3. why is it the germans have no problem with unions?
    seems to me much easier to deal with a few representing the group then each one individually. these people lot a salaries of the CEOs and ask why is it inflationary to pay us workers more and not inflationary to pay CEOS 100’s of millions and ten of millions in bonus. what is the big deal? how much money are you wasting trying to stop them from joining a union? yes a company becomes more like democracy than a dictatorship or a king and a kingdom with subjects.

    what in the hell does cook think is worth 50, 100 million that he does? i bet we could get someone to do the job for $2 million and whatever they make thru stock dividends. the best way to handle ceo pay is let all employees make bonus or higher thru the stock dividend. that would insure constant demand for share, higher dividends, and increased productivity. two million should be the max paid to any ceo, any more money should come from the ceo’s work increasing profits thru stock dividends.

    these guys like being king. employees jump to do as told. pit employee against other employee. (you have heard this about trump’s way of working. some of these ceos think that is the best way to get a result)

    private jets. chauffeured cars. all that life style takes money out of shareholders pockets, reduces the amount of workers that actually build or sell product to get the money in. there has yet to be a ceo that came to an establish company with new products which caused him or her to retain workforce and hire new employees. every one of these folks fires a bunch of folk first.

    YEAH THEY LOSE THEIR KINGDOM, a united company emerges, much like the usa, go figure. i would say usa has out done uk, spain, japan, china, russia, …
    what’s the big deal, after a billion you are just hoarding money. let them form a union. it’s not that big a deal to a 1.5 trillion dollar company, unless the management really sucks and is hiding something.

    hey it’s past time for cook to leave apple. he has plenty of money, plenty of share. who is up on deck for the ceo, president job?

    1. Didn’t Apple have someone who could do the job and was only paid one dollar plus perks for salary. I give you Steve Jobs.

        1. yet “most retail employees” do not bring the amount of value that SJ did to apple. If your position can be replaced by 10,000 people in a local classified ad then you might want to be realistic about your wage and benefits expectations.

          And if you make over 30K a year then you’re in the top 1% of global wage earners. There is a reason hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants come to the USA every month and it has something to do with South America’s min wage of .17/hr

          BRAZIL Minimum wage – 1,212 reals per month ($235)
          COLOMBIA Minimum wage – 1,117,172 Colombian pesos per month ($285)
          GUYANA Minimum wage – 35,000 Guyanese dollars per month ($170)
          SURINAME Minimum wage – 8.4 Surinamese dollars per hour ($0.4)
          VENEZUELA Minimum wage – 40,000 Bolívar Soberano per month ($7.7)

          The lowest paid apple employee is rich by the world standards. Throw in free education, free health care and free gender health services (sex change operations) the average USA worker has won the lottery historically and geographically speaking. Everyone alive today in the USA has it better then 99 percent of everyone who has every lived throughout civilization.

        2. oh, so being paying a bit more than a nation’s poorest workers is something apple should crow about. please. does apple charge less in those countries for their products where they pay such disgusting wages?

          do you know why opec was formed? because those foreign companies where paying pennies to those oil producing countries per barrel yet charging dollars per barrel. those countries revolted in the 70’s, they had enough, and decided to get paid. now look at the money they have. please, in the 70’s, we were told we were running out of oil. some 50 years later we have so much oil we won’t refine it because it would lower the price at the pump.

          30K dollars is no money. especially in the United States. how much is rent or a house. rent now is over 1200 dollars a month. the average price of a house 300K dollars. would you like to have lights and phone service, a car, insurance for the car, gas for the car, food… would you like to have a family? 30K for a employee that generates 70 percent of your revenue? you have got to be kidding. you must plan on them having a second job and them quitting as soon as possible. how much time did you put into hiring and training them? hmm. did you do a psych evaluation of the employee. hey they may be unstable. they may on any given day bring a gun to work…

          hey, more to hiring in a country full of guns these day.

          do the math, rent: 1200 X12 = 14,400, 30,000 – 14,400 = 15,600
          let’s do a car. 400 X 12 = 4,800, 15,600 – 4,800 = 10,800
          let’s say 20 dollars a day to eat, yes, it is that high even if you cook.
          20 X 365 = 7,300 (you need to factor in the electricity use to cook and keep food cold)
          10,800 – 7,300 = 3,500

          you don’t have internet service, you don’t have a cell phone, you don’t have electricity, you don’t have insurance on you car, best not have any kids, no computer and you can’t afford an apple computer, lol, let alone an apple cell phone …

          YOU DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY! $3,500 to make all the rest happen. please! 30K, the employees are paying apple to work for apple, cause you need a second income.

          if apartment rent was 300, or house was 60-80K, gas 40 cents a gallon, cell service, 9.99 a month, internet the same, car insurance 300 dollars … but it ain’t

          funny they offer college grads that $30K like they can afford to pay a college loan back. it pays better to start a youtube channel, instagram, tik tok, only fans, etc… why would anyone pay the company they work for, for the privilege to work there. that’s bad business.

          time to figure out life’s cost and you way as well tell them how much you expect from the job. listen enough people tell them they need 50K, 60K to start they will stop offering opportunity and start offering you a way to make a living. or they can get their HR department on the sales floor. 30,000 dollars, please, as you can see even fast food has to pay more than that now. no meal less than 10.00 now… tax included.

          30K may seem like a lot of money if you a living with your parents and the are subsidizing some company so you can work there. lol, now your parents are paying the company so you can work there. man! sounds like working full time at walmart and still having to get food stamps, medicaid, and live with your parents… man! the US tax payer picks up walmart’s bill. crazy right.

          american business, use somebody’s else’s money.

        3. How about if you don’t like the salary go work somewhere else. If McDonald’s salary isn’t good enough for you go get a better job. Oh you can’t? Because you’re more worthless than a teenager in sophmore year in high school and your failures somehow need to be borne by others? Nope, go get better or drug yourself out of existence under a bridge you worthless commie troll.

    2. If you like germany and their oh so great successes, go live there in socialist Europe.

      The problem is it’s a socialist s-hole where you will be a cog in their communist machine.

      Oh and if you MAKE a company, the people you hire do not get to dictate it. If they want things ‘their’ way, let them figure out how to make their own company. Tough luck.

      Youre the kind of commie that if you invited yourself over someone’s house would be telling them how to run their house to make you feel more comfortable. Get your own house commie, or go to some socialist s-hole where ‘appropriate’ housing will be provided to you.

      1. you don’t know what a union is. you don’t know anything about germany. you don’t know where in the world i live.
        a public company has different responsibilities than a private one.
        when ever has a union dictated how a company runs?
        oh, wait, i don’t care what you think.

        1. I s*** out and forgot more than you’re going to know about Germany and communism, commie boy. Go to Detroit and shove your head in a toilet and keep flushing until you show up in china.

        2. no way in hell. you don’t even know what communism is. hey, try the dictionary application, these words and ideas are too big for you. kid you are an idiot. you are just too stupid to let your nonsense go. you really don’t know what capitalism is. today i’ve got time to waste, and i’m going to waste it on you. idiot.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.