A story in the pro-union journal InTheseTimes paints Apple store workers as exhausted, demoralized, and generally ready to strum a little Woody Guthrie and hold hands around the old trash barrel, hissing at scabs.
CultOfMac pulls out a few pertinent quotes:
Veteran Apple Store workers asking about pay disparities (namely, that new hires were being paid more than many employees who had been at the Apple Store for a year or more) are told that “money shouldn’t be an issue when you’re employed at Apple.” Rather, the chance to work at Apple “should be looked at as an experience” worth more than competitive pay alone.
Recent changes in Apple Store scheduling policies have led to a “very big overhaul” of workers’ schedules and responsibilities, which means that the average Apple Store employee has less time to do repairs, less consistent schedules and a lot more employee burnout as they spend more time on the floor and work more early morning shifts immediately following night shifts. The new system is described as “draining emotionally and physically.”
This points to a glaring problem with employment at the Apple store: the unsaid “promise” that workers will eventually work for Apple corporate, which is false. These two worlds are completely separate yet there is the endless hope that in flogging laptops and iPods you’ll catch Steve’s eye and he’ll bring you up, Marilyn at Schwab’s Drug Store-style, out of your penury.
While I’m all for unionization of difficult, demanding, or demeaning work, this is the freaking Apple store. If these employees were serious about workers rights they’d be protesting working conditions at Foxconn before asking for a piece of the pie themselves. However, clearly there is a small groundswell of support for Apple store unionization and anything that helps workers move up is OK in my book.