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Contrary to shareholder views on the issue, a survey of unionized Apple retail workers shows that many employees believe the company despises workers trying to join a trade union.
Apple has long been accused of using anti-union tactics. against workers wanting to organize. As a result, the company agreed to undergo a third-party assessment of its labor practices.
Jenner & Blox's assessment argued that Apple had made adequate policy commitments to meet its human rights obligations. It says the company is “committed to creating a workspace that balances an open, collaborative environment with the need to protect sensitive information.”
Now IAM Core, Apple's first union, is refuting the findings of that assessment. He argues that although Jenner & The block did reach out to stakeholders and labor activists, but did not directly address those whose contributions mattered most: Apple workers.
IAM Core conducted its own survey of 161 Apple employees who primarily worked in Apple retail, with a few in call centers and some in corporate roles.
About 47% of respondents worked full-time, and 31% were currently working part-time. More than two-thirds of those surveyed had worked at Apple for at least six years.
More than 65% of workers surveyed believe Apple is hostile to those who want to join a union, with 47% saying Apple's anti-union behavior has affected them personally.
When asked “I believe Apple would never retaliate against an employee who seeks to form a union,” 38% of respondents disagreed and nearly 61% disagreed.
“I had a long history with the company and loved my job,” one employee told IAM CORE. “[Apple] has absolutely succeeded in suppressing the urge to organize in our store. People are certainly interested in having a say in their working conditions, but not in risking their livelihood.”
More than 86% of respondents suggested that Apple had either tried to coerce or influence them or their colleagues against forming a union. Nearly 80% of workers surveyed believed Apple would potentially intentionally break the law to thwart unionization efforts.
The rest of the survey is similar: Employees believe Apple management, including store managers, have been instructed to stop unionization efforts before they begin.
“The IAM CORE survey results are deeply troubling and shed light on potential worker rights violations at Apple,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan.
“These allegations of illegal conduct require immediate attention and accountability from Apple management. IAM CORE remains committed to securing the first contract and protecting the rights and well-being of Apple employees.”
IAM Core is Apple's first union, created in June 2022. It includes more than 100 employees at the Apple Store in Towson, Maryland.
Although Apple did not try to stop Towson's vote, Apple retail chief Deirdre O'Brien spoke out against unionization efforts at some of the company's offices in a video to employees. She said the efforts could slow progress in the workplace and potentially harm relationships between Apple and its employees.
And despite the union's recognition, Apple is accused of avoiding negotiations with IAM CORE. In July 2023, IAM CORE filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Apple with the National Labor Relations Board.