🍎 Apple Goes On The Defensive
Amazon isn't the only tech giant facing unionization efforts by its employees. 100 retail workers at an Apple store in Atlanta filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board late last month to hold union elections with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Apple has yet to respond to the petition but has hired Littler Mendelson — an anti-unionization firm which helped Starbucks fight unionization efforts among the coffee chain's employees.
“By retaining the notorious union-busting firm Littler Mendelson, Apple’s management is showing that they intend to try to prevent their employees from exercising their right to join a union by running the same playbook as other large corporations,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens, reports Engadget. “The workers at Starbucks, another Littler client, aren’t falling for it and neither will the workers at Apple.”
According to The Verge, an Apple retail worker in New York said that hardware maker is using employees' on-the-clock time to hold anti-union meetings. “There’s a lot of misinformation that’s been spread trying to scare the masses,” he added. “I think they’re panicking.”
Back at the corporate office, Apple is getting pushback from employees demanding a better work-life balance in the face of a return to the office. Organized under a group called Apple Together, employees wrote an open letter to the company stating that “We are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home,” it reads, says CNN. “We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of work arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach.” The group further argues that a return to the office will waste resources, and benefit mostly “younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied,” employees, thus hurting diversity.
Unionization efforts are continuing to spread among major employers’ workforces, and how they handle it may leave a long-lasting impact on labor relations. It will also be interesting to see if Apple Together’s claim that in-office requirements favor certain groups does pan out to be true.