As Apple celebrates the tenth anniversary of its retail stores, a group of Apple Store employees is assembling with a different goal. An organization calling itself the Apple Retail Workers Union sent a message to various members of the Apple press on Thursday, including Macworld, announcing plans to try to unionize Apple Store employees.
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.
Someone responding to e-mails sent to the Apple Retail Workers Union—who chose to remain anonymous, but claims to work at an Apple store “in the Bay Area”—told Macworld that employees from “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.
When pressed for examples of the “unfair treatment” cited in the group’s initial press release, the anonymous respondent suggested that core issues included break schedules, training opportunities, the selection and hiring process for internal candidates for open positions, and wages.
It’s unclear how serious or large an effort the Apple Retail Workers Union is at this time. The Website linked above is barren. The group's Twitter page includes two tweets, one from January 1, 2011, and a second from Thursday. The group’s Facebook page contains a few links posted back in February, and at this writing has been "liked" precisely once.
Apple has not yet responded to Macworld’s request for comment.