Former Apple employees help union efforts in store

At least two former senior Apple employees are helping union efforts for retail store employees, with additional advice from Google’s exit organizers.

Former Apple software engineer Cher Scarlett, who organized a wage survey when she was at the company, played a key role in forming Fruit Stand Workers United at the Grand Central Apple Store…


We first learned of retail employees’ plans to join unions back in February.

Groups in two stores are reportedly preparing the papers for submission to the National Labor Relations Board, with about six other locations in the early stages of planning.

The “Washington Post” says the main cause of the unrest is wages. Apple pays retail employees in the range of $20 to $30 an hour, depending on job and seniority. However, workers say those rates have not kept pace with inflation.

Inspired by recent successful union votes in more than 90 Starbucks stores, the report says efforts to form unions have accelerated recently.

Things got real last month, with the official start of operation at Apple’s flagship Grand Central Terminal store in New York, with a number of goals for a better deal for employees.

Besides seeking better working conditions, more vacation time and better retirement options, the group is looking to secure a minimum wage of $30 an hour.

Similar moves followed in Atlanta and Maryland.

Former Apple employees help union efforts

wired Reports indicate that both Scarlett and Janic Parrish are helping store employees with organization. Scarlett reached a settlement with Apple to leave the company after conducting an employee pay survey and speaking out against the company’s return-to-office policy. Parrish was fired from Apple after working with Scarlett on the #AppleToo campaign, which drew attention to a pay gap between men and women at the company.

Earlier this year, former Apple software engineer Cher Scarlett received a DM from an Apple retail employee at New York’s Grand Central station. The employee was working with a union to organize her shop, but the partnership was dissolved. Headless, I sent a letter to Scarlett to vent. The employee knew Scarlett as the founder of #AppleToo, a campaign that emerged last summer to highlight alleged discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Scarlett was an outspoken advocate for workers’ rights, and she only knew who to call.

Scarlett recently met an organizer with the United Workers Organization at a rally for union employees at Starbucks, where she used to work. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute. You’re in New York. The United Labor Organization started in New York. I have a connection.'” An introduction was made, and the Grand Central campaign was revived. In April, they announced their organizational campaign, calling themselves Fruit Stand Workers United […]

After leaving the company, Parrish toured every retail store in her home state of Texas. She knows of at least five other employees of the company who have done similar outreach. She remembers one conversation in which employees learned about her from her organizational work. “They were thrilled that someone had come into their space and listened to their experiences. It was an incredibly productive conversation which, in my understanding, leads to the organization within this store.” (Since Scarlett and Parrish are no longer at Apple, they have participated in Apple Together in advisory roles) […]

The organizers drew guidance from experienced groups. Scarlett, for her part, consulted with Google Exit Organizers and Timnit Gebru, a former AI ethics researcher and diversity advocate who was fired from Google in 2020.

Deirdre O’Brien visits the Guild Store to listen

edge Reporter Zoe Schaeffer chirp That Apple’s retail chief visits an Apple Store in Maryland, where employees are joining unions — and store managers have been posting a summary of company employee benefits.

Apple Vice President of Retail Deirdre O’Brien made a surprise appearance today at the store in Maryland that recently filed for a union election. She told the staff she was there to “listen”.

Store employees who responded to the tweets don’t appear to be overly impressed, noting that Apple recently gave extra sick time — but that it penalizes employees who use it.

When I got my COVID shot and had some side effects the next day, I called because they said they would totally excuse it. Yes, that did not happen. “Contact still takes a toll on the business, so this counts against you…” Like okay. Thanks. Farewell.

Take 9to5Mac

We’ve noticed that while things are still at a very early stage at the moment, it’s clear that the process will snowball.

So far, a handful of stores have actively started the process of syndicating – but there seems little doubt that this will flow through the Apple Store network. If Apple left things out for too long, the default management consortium model of confrontation and disruption is pretty much foolproof for the app.

We’ve also suggested that Apple treat this as an opportunity rather than a threat – by adopting something similar to the approach of German business councils.

The result – as evidenced by the German model – is a win for all. Apple is getting a happier workforce, which inevitably shows in its interaction with customers. Employees get better working conditions than if they were through unions.

However, Apple’s position so far seems to be that if you talk about the existing benefits, and blind the vague threats, the whole thing will go away.

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