It's hard to understand the black eye unions have been given of late. In fact, a new study
by the Center for American Progress confirms that without unions, the middle class withers. Thus, is it surprising to see that finally, after 10 years of Apple
retail stores, they may unionize?
Several media outlets were contacted by an organization calling itself the Apple Retail Workers Union on Thursday, May 19, the 10th anniversary of Apple's first retail store. The group announced plans to try to unionize Apple Store employees.
The Apple Retail Workers Union has a site, but it's mostly just a placeholder. It says
Apple Retail Workers Union
“At Apple, our most important resource, our soul, is our people.”
Our Time Has Come.
The email sent to media outlets reiterated the "our time has come" message, and said the following:
We are launching today to get fellow employees, shoppers, and the world know that we work in one of the most demanding retail environments while suffering through unfair treatment and compensation among many other various issues... We deserve better. Our time has come.
A follow-up message details what the group wants. While wages are the main aim, the group is also looking into Apple's "break schedules, training opportunities," and "the selection and hiring process for internal candidates for open positions."
One person responded to an inquiry by Macworld, saying he worked at a store in the San Francisco Bay Area. He said that “some stores in the Pacific Northwest may be talking amongst themselves” about unionizing, and that “an attempt at [the] Alderwood store… is the closest anyone has come to collective action” at Apple stores.
Glassdoor.com tracks salaries across technology companies and other industries. According to their figures, Apple retail store employees known as "Mac Specialists" make between $9 and $16 an hour. The store's "Geniuses," make considerably more, at $13 to $23 an hour.
Assuming a 40 hour work week (which probably isn't the norm), a Genius working at the maximum rate would make about $48,000 in 52-weeks, hardly rich in the Bay Area. Meanwhile, a regular employee making $9 an hour would take in a little less than $19,000, which is in the Bay Area would be difficult to live on unless you lived with others.
Truly, a company raking in the cash that Apple is could easily afford to give these employees raises. However, just as with many corporations, it's all about the bottom line. Formerly, stock would do well if a company was making a profit. Now the profit and revenue have to be on an upward trend or the stock falls.