Last week, Apple retail employees at the Towson location in Maryland voted in favor of a union with an overwhelming majority. Commenting on the victory of the workers, U.S. President Joe Biden said that he was “proud” of them for standing up for their right to determine their working conditions.
The rift between the tech giant and its retail workers had been getting wider since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. When all of the corporate staff was working remotely, the retail staff working at the stores when the Apple locations reopened during the pandemic.
Workers raised issues like long working hours, inhumane treatment by store managers, low pay, poor working conditions, and even shared stories of discrimination and harassment in the #AppleTooMovement. To their dismay, the tech giant failed to address their grievance and they were promoted to take matters into their own hands.
President Biden’s message to Apple is that both, employee and employer, are “better off” in a union
At the start of 2022, several Apple locations in different states announced they were organizing to form a union to negotiate better pay, improved working conditions, and other benefits from the over $2 trillion company.
In that effort, a small location in the Towson mall in Maryland became the first Apple Store in the U.S to unionize. And the U.S. President believes it is for the better. Reuters reports:
“I am proud of them. Workers have a right to determine under what condition they are going to work or not work.”
“Everybody is better off, including the final product is always better off (because of unions)”, Biden said on Monday when asked about the Apple workers who voted to join a union.
This message should communicate the general sentiment in favor of unionization to Apple which has been using various tactics to dissuade or pressure its retail employees from unionizing. The tech giant told the employees that if they voted for a union, it would adversely impact their career growth at the company, increased the minimum hourly wage to $22, introduced flexible working schedules, and more.