Apple has been trying to prevent the unionization of its employees, and the company has been using the events of the Towson store as a warning to others.
The Towson store in Maryland has seen the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers unionizing the staff, while others like in Atlanta and St. Louis have seemingly stalled progress.
Apple meetings with US store managers aim to halt unionization momentum
Over the past few weeks, Apple’s US store managers have been meeting with their staff to discuss the risks of unionization, and to offer an update on bargaining between Apple and the Towson store. In the latest edition of Mark Gurman’s “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg, it seems that the efforts so far have curtailed the unionization momentum.
Managers have been describing the Towson store as a cautionary tale to other staff members, where the union representing Towson employees requested 1.5% of pay as dues. Under union proposals, employees who didn’t comply with payment could end up terminated within a month.
Apple’s management also criticized union representatives for the St. Louis Apple Store for allegedly misleading workers, while warning that authorization card signatures were binding documents.
Apple has also been negotiating with the Towson store but has so far failed to find common ground with the 20 proposals from the store and the two from the iPhone maker. Among the proposals rejected by Apple include weekly pay instead of biweekly pay, using a third-party arbitrator, a respect and dignity clause, scheduling policy changes, and basing promotions and layoffs on tenure.
Negotiations are ongoing over health and safety, staff training, and determining what happens if a store permanently closes. According to the Huffington Post, the meetings in a hotel in downtown Baltimore have been fruitless, with workers believing Apple doesn’t want to make any deals with a unionized store.
“They are fighting us at every step of the process,” said store employee Kevin Gallagher. “It feels like they’re trying to drag this out as long as they can.”
Some Towson employees were outraged when they discovered managers were sharing some of the union’s proposals with other stores, with bargaining committee Billy Jarboe insisting the proposals were cherry-picked and taken out of context to make the union look as bad as possible.
In conclusion, Apple is continuing its efforts to prevent the unionization of its retail staff, and the events of the Towson store serve as a warning to other Apple stores. While negotiations are ongoing, there seems to be little progress on the union’s proposals to the company. It remains to be seen how this situation will play out in the coming months.