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Apple Retail Workers Initiative

category international | workplace struggles | news report author Thursday June 16, 2011 00:01author by PaulB - 1 of Anarkismo Editorial Group Report this post to the editors

A Union drive in computer giant Apple retail is breaking new ground. Apple showroom employee Cory Moll who works in an Apple computer store in San Francisco has started a drive to unionise retail workers in a rare move at the company.
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A Union drive in computer giant Apple retail is breaking new ground. Apple showroom employee Cory Moll who works in an Apple computer store in San Francisco has started a drive to unionise retail workers in a rare move at the company. He wants to unionise his fellow workers to fight for better wages and conditions. Unfair practices at the company have spurred him in this struggle.

"The core issues definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits," says Moll. In San Francisco workers at the AppleStore "genius bar" are only paid $14 an hour, only a little above the Irish minimum wage and slightly more that $4 above the California minimum wage.

Apple directly employs over 30,000 workers in about 325 stores across the world. It has a stock market value of $320bn and in the last quarter made profits of $6 billion. There has also ben considerable controversy about the conditions for the much larger number of Chinese workers in the plants that manufacture Apple products. According to the (London) Independent a 2006 report on the plant producing iPods found that the workers "worked 60-hour, six-day weeks. ... demands on the 200,000 staff were "excessive". Its authors were "not satisfied" with conditions in dormitories where thousands of workers are forced to eat, sleep and spend large portions of their free time." The same plant saw further controversy last year when a 30% pay rise was granted after it emerged ten workers had killed themselves by jumping off the roof in the previous year.

Moll has set up an online campaign to build the Apple Retail Workers Union it is being built through twitter, facebook and it's own website.

Related Link: http://www.appleretailunion.com/
author by Ned Neederlanderpublication date Thu Jun 16, 2011 03:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What does he expect? He is a part time employee who swaps iPhones. While he works at the "Genius" bar he is far separated from those who actually hold the title of Genius. Their starting is far above that in states who have smaller base pay rates. He isn't getting what he wants from Apple because he has little value to put towards it.

I know from experience.

author by PRpublication date Thu Jun 16, 2011 04:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just another case of someone wanting a bigger slice of someone else's pie.

author by Johnpublication date Thu Jun 16, 2011 21:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, I love Apple products but...

Everyone knows that retail pays poorly, but working in a high tech store like Apple you are not just swapping iPhones. You ARE expected to know their products and how they work with other products - hardware and software. That is not easy and the expectation that Apple puts out there is that you can come into the store and get any problem addressed. That is a huge task on the shoulders of the store employees. They are clearly not compensated appropriately. Apple gets away with this for 2 simple reasons. Firstly the economy is bad, so people are forced to accept the low pay or not work and secondly, Apple has done a great job of promoting the idea that there is some mystique in working for Apple. While it may be cool, fun and lucrative to work for Apple, that clearly does not include the retail store.

The money Apple spends on their retail stores is in the look and location of the store - not the employees compensation. Good luck to forming a union, but I seriously doubt Apple will it happen. Look at what they have allowed at their factories. You can't tell me they didn't know.

author by Billpublication date Thu Jun 16, 2011 23:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dude - you work in an air conditioned, retail store, selling luxury items. You are not out working construction, out in the hot sun doing dangerous tasks. If you want Apple to fail, Unionize. Drive up their costs, cutting down on the resources for innovation, and in a short time you'll be begging for the days of making $14 an hour... rather than $0.

author by DontGetItpublication date Fri Jun 17, 2011 02:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So much for unionizing. In this economy, be happy with your genius bar situation!!!

author by frigginusapublication date Fri Jun 17, 2011 02:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

so much for American freedoms! the guy was fired! freedom of association is a basic democratic right and you don't have it in America. Why? BECAUSE THE USA IS NO DEMOCRACY IS A CORPORATE DICTATORSHIP OF BRAINWASHED CLONES AS THOSE COMMENTING THIS POST.

author by Housepublication date Fri Jun 17, 2011 06:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apparently there is a wait list for these jobs. If you think the pay sucks, go work somewhere else that will pay you more. You don't get determine what Apple pays you. As a company, apple will start to pay more when the customer experience deteriorates because they don't pay enough to get good people. As long as techie hipsters think its cool to get the apple shirts and be called genius, it's $14 an hour or go make coffee at Starbucks. Cold hard math.

author by Kev Mo - Directors Guild of Americapublication date Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:22author email yorkville91 at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look. I have been a loyal Apple customer for over 20 years. My first purchase was a powerbook 180! I have seen this company grow, and I have accumulated stock in the company over the last 15 years. Apple has come a long way in making their brand great. In the beginning trying to get tech support for your product sucked, you spoke over the phone to people who did not understand the machines they were trying to give technical support for.

For a period of time the tech support was even off-shore and you spoke with people who didn't even own a god damn computer, never mind a Mac. As a share holder I am proud of how Apple has turned this around. There phone tech support is stellar and they are a leader in their field , blowing away any type of tech support you get form any other computer or software maker. The young men and women who work in the stores are alway very knowledgable about the products Apples has in store and can help or lend advice on many matter.

The :Genius Bar" experience is also something you can get now where else, from any other computer maker. Dell is attempting to copy this concept in their fledgling brink and mortar stores, but they are a long second to the Apple store experience. I really believe if the Apple store employes want to organize they should try. They should sit down at the table with Apple to work out better, pay, continuation of their extensive and up to date training programs, (most genius bar employees are flown across country to receive training even now) and work out medical benefits and pension plans.

If Apple wants to remain at the top of their game it would only benefit them to retain a knowledgable and loyal work force. Paying a better salary and having a health and pension plan would in no way hurt apples margins. They are currently sitting on 40 Billion in cash and pay no stock dividend. They have more than enough money in the bank and in their margins to afford to pay for union employees. It would make them a better American business and bring more people to their brand if their consumers felt that they were doing the right thing by their employees.

Most of you these days do not work in situations where you get benefits and health plans. You should realize that you have to work a minimum of 5 to 10 years to be vested in a pension plan. Most of the current employees at Apple are transient college kids looking to move on after on a couple of years at Apple, so the company would have little to worry about with this type of employee.

Get real folks better wages for American workers is what this country needs. Apple make all of their products off-shore in horrible sweat shops in China, if a documentary ever emerges as to the conditions of these factories the Apple would lose much of it's shine. The least they can do for the moment is pay the workers in this country who can stand up for themselves under freedom of association and collective bargaining, and pay them a better wage if they unionize. It makes for a better country, a better company, and a better way of live for some fellow American workers. Wake up folks support unions and support the working middle class, or soon we will all be Chines sweat shop workers because we surely cannot all be the likes of Steve Jobs.

author by jjpublication date Sun Jun 19, 2011 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ok, so the recurring theme of the pro-union argument is "Apple allows horrible conditions for factory workers in China, so American retail workers should unionize to get more money". What exactly does that do for the Chinese workers? Nothing. If anything, it puts more pressure on the company to cut costs elsewhere, which will worsen conditions for those Chinese factory workers.

Don't get me wrong, this (the U.S.) is a semi-free country and you have the right to form unions and do collective bargaining. But the company also has the right to hire someone else to do the work. In this environment, they don't seem to have any trouble finding people to work for $14 and hour at a retail store. My wife makes minimum wage at a high-end retail store, and she doesn't complain. She is also expected to know their products, and they sell a much wider range of products than Apple does.

Sometimes you gotta realize how good you have it and not complain.

author by jppublication date Sun Jun 19, 2011 03:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"(the U.S.) is a semi-free country and you have the right to form unions and do collective bargaining. But the company also has the right to hire someone else to do the work." That means there's no freedom at all because the rich can always get their way and fire someone for unionising. That's why workers have to come together and get organized. Numbers is their only strength, so called democratic freedoms are a facade so bosses can do as they please. Freedom in America is freedom only if you can afford it.

author by Thomaspublication date Sun Jun 19, 2011 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The arguments about about the retail workers not being "worth" more than they're already making, or the individualistic suggestion that they should just look for different work if they don't like the conditions shows the ignorance of the posters of the systemic realities under capitalism. Under capitalism, our pay, working conditions and benefits are determined by the power with which we claim our just share. Right now Apple profits are booming: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/apple-profit...-2011. The workers making, selling and providing services to assist in the utilization of these products are the ones creating and enabling the rest of us to enjoy the value of apple products; however they're only going to get what they fight for and demand from management. Otherwise management will be sure to squeeze the workers at the base level in order to horde the wealth generated from the sale of the products for themselves and the shareholders. So, solidarity to the workers at Apple in their unionization struggle to put a check on dictatorial economic control within capitalist company hierarchies through base level worker power and make gains in limiting exploitative working conditions, and getting a fuller share of the fruits of their labor!

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