Apple’s vice president discourages retail workers from joining a union in a leaked video
Apple Vice President of Retail and Personnel Deirdre O’Brien openly discourages employees from joining a union in an internal video leaked to the edge. “I worry about what it might mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship,” she says. “An organization that doesn’t have a deep understanding of Apple or our business. Most importantly, I don’t think he shares our commitment to you.”
The message comes amid union moves at three Apple retail stores – one in New York, one in Maryland and one in Georgia. The latter two set dates for elections, which they agreed with Apple. Workers at the Cumberland Mall Apple Store will vote on whether to join unions starting June 2, and employees at the Apple Towson Town Center in Maryland will do the same starting June 15.
In the video, O’Brien shares common anti-union talking points, including that a union will slow the company’s ability to respond to employee concerns. “Apple is moving incredibly fast,” she said. “It’s something I love about our retail business. It means we need to be able to move quickly as well. And I’m concerned that as the union will have its own legal rules that will define how we deal with issues, it may make it difficult for us to act quickly to address them.” The things you raise. I am committed and proud of our ability to act quickly to support our teams and support you. But I don’t know that we could have moved so quickly under a collective bargaining agreement that it could limit our ability to make immediate, large-scale changes to improve your experience. And I think that’s what it is Already at stake here.”
Payment is one of the primary issues that Apple retail workers regulate. In the United States, unionized workers earn about 13.2 percent more than their non-union counterparts in the same sector, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The CEO has been visiting Apple retail stores in person for the past few weeks, a move many employees say appears designed to please workers trying to organize.
Apple’s actions have shown that it is not keen on regulating its employees; They have hired anti-union lawyers, given managers texts to read to employees about why unions are bad, and hold captive group meetings. Apple’s messages were very similar to what O’Brien said in the video: The company told its workers that unions don’t understand its culture. However, current union trends are led by coalitions of Apple workers who have cited outspoken criticism about Apple’s management relationship with employees. While these organizations work with large, well-established unions, the efforts are led by Apple workers.
The company has also been accused of busting unions in other ways twice by preventing employees from posting pro-union posters and questioning employees about union activity.
Despite all this, company executives haven’t come out openly with an anti-union stance yet. While Apple’s actions were clear, its words were relatively muted apart from holding one-on-one meetings with store leaders. Now, its message is clear and straight from the top.