Months ago, Apple achieved the status of the world’s most valuable company and its market share continues to grow. However, all is not merry for employees at the company. For the first time, the outside world got of glimpse of the employees’ dissatisfaction with the senior management, treatment at the workplace, and company policies during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Slack is the platform that gave employees a voice to express their disagreement with the hybrid return to office model and discuss pay equity concerns. And some used Twitter to share the incidents of workplace harassment, discrimination, and sexism.
Apple’s heavy-handed response by shutting down slack channels to take about pay equity issues and putting employees on leave led to the formation of the #AppleToo movement which organized employees to hold the company accountable for ignoring its employees. Under the movement’s banner, former and current employees shared stories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse they suffered at the company, especially at the retail stores. Now, the movement is taking a more pressing form of staging walkouts.
After the iPhone maker got rid of the #AppleToo organizers, a new force organized against it “Apple Together”
Retail employees organized a walkout on December 24, 2020, to demand better working conditions. Although only 50 workers across three states were called out, the event holds significance as a small step towards a bigger goal, workplace improvements for employees.
Janneke Parrish, a former corporate Apple employee who helped support organizers of the walkout, said that while those participating in Friday’s action represent a small fraction of Apple’s 80,000 employees in retail and beyond in the U.S., it is still “significant” to have workers speak out against the behemoth tech company.
“Apple workers are fed up with being unheard,” Parrish said, adding that Friday’s action, which trended on Twitter, aims to “make sure people are aware of how retail workers are being treated.”
Because of the organization, employees’ workplace treatment at the company is getting attention. The U.S. national labor agency has launched an investigation into workplace discrimination. And after, whistleblower Scarlett Cher highlighted that the Cupertino tech giant lied about the use of non-disclosure agreements and allowing employees the freedom to discuss pay equity and other issues, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has allowed a shareholder’s proposal that requires Apple to provide details of the use of non-disclosure agreements and other concealment clauses to investors.
In addition, a group of investors is also calling for a civil audit of the company to find the reasons behind the slow growth of diversity. Thus, to maintain pressure ‘Apple Together’ is doing more than just sharing stories of discrimination, it is asking employees to show their numerical strength to earn better working conditions. Its mission statement reads:
Apple prides itself on its commitment to diversity, equity, and an environment where everyone can do their best work. But Apple has fallen short of this goal for so many of our current and former teammates, so we made space to share those stories with #AppleToo.
In Slack, we have written letters together to make requests of our leadership. However, we’re seeing an increase of rules restricting our ability to continue collaborating on workplace issues that are important to us. We’re making our own space off of our virtual campus to ensure our voices can still be heard.
We, the Apple workers need more from our Employer.
— Apple Together (@AppleLaborers) December 24, 2021