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Apple Store Employee Attempts To Form Union 1008

Posted by samzenpus
from the jobs-needs-better-jobs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Cory Moll, a part-time employee at an Apple store in San Francisco, is attempting unionize Apple store employees. The Apple Retail Workers Union is an attempt to fight for better wages and benefits and to address what he says are unfair practices in the company's glass-and-steel retail showrooms. 'The core issues are definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits,' said Mr. Moll, who has received little public support from employees so far, though he said he has emails expressing support. An Apple representative confirmed Mr. Moll is an employee, but declined to comment on the union effort."
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Apple Store Employee Attempts To Form Union

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  • Unionize this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:03PM (#36420300)
    Yeah, go ahead and form your "union". You will quickly find out just how replaceable [flickr.com] you are.
    • Re:Unionize this (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:06PM (#36420316)

      When there are no employees left, how will humans earn the money to buy products with?

      Your point is entirely valid. Automation and robotics are replacing jobs faster than they are being created now.

      • Re:Unionize this (Score:4, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:08PM (#36420340) Journal

        When that happens, we change the the economic system. If we really don't need any human workers to produce everything, then.. we don't need humans to have to work to get the stuff.

        • Re:Unionize this (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Threni (635302) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:16PM (#36420400)

          When that happens, *they* (the rich/powerful/police etc) will have all the guns/food, control of all purchases/transport/employment etc. And you'll be utterly fucked.

          • Re:Unionize this (Score:5, Interesting)

            by EdZ (755139) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:56PM (#36420700)

            When that happens, *they* (the rich/powerful/police etc) will have all the guns/food, control of all purchases/transport/employment etc. And you'll be utterly fucked.

            When that happens, you download an .stl file and print whatever object it is you wanted. It's already possible to build your own CNC mill/lathe, FDM machine, furnace, casting moulds, etc. With enough time and a bit of googling, you can make nearly anything at home (a few people have even fabricated and packaged their own microchips). That process will only become cheaper, faster and more automated.

            • Re:Unionize this (Score:4, Informative)

              by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @10:14PM (#36421654) Journal

              When that happens, you download an .stl file and print whatever object it is you wanted.

              And if they put DRM into it so you can't just "print up whatever you want"?

              We should all start our own lists of companies to boycott, giving the reasons why [trolltalk.com], rather than being afraid that they might sue us if we dare to name and shame them.

              Sunlight - it works on vampires, you know. Shine a bit on the businesses that are screwing us, and maybe they'll shrivel up and die because nobody wants to be seen near them. What have you got to lose except your chains?

            • Re:Unionize this (Score:4, Insightful)

              by tftp (111690) on Monday June 13, 2011 @02:39AM (#36422756) Homepage

              When that happens, you download an .stl file and print whatever object it is you wanted.

              You are jumping too far ahead. Automation doesn't mean that you can just waltz in and run your program on that automated production line. Having one at home is not an option because of costs.

              Here is a specific example. Imagine that Bill Gates, our favorite super-villain, bought all industry in the USA and made it fully automated. Gas stations sell fuel with credit cards (just as it is now,) McD sells sandwiches from vending machines, and so on.

              In this world BG can produce - or not produce - whatever he wants. No workers are needed (let's forget for the moment about engineers.) There are 300+ million people without jobs and without food. BG has food, and it costs him just the energy and the amortization of machines.

              In essence, BG would not need those people. He may want to feed them for free, just so they don't riot, but for every practical purpose they are irrelevant. Kings wanted to have many subjects because they could tax them and use them as soldiers. But BG can't tax poor people, and he has noone to wage war with.

              That brave new world that you are talking about doesn't appear to be such a great place. From the POV of communism at this stage BG should declare world peace and just give things to people as they need them - and if they want to work (say, weave baskets) it's OK too. But will BG do that? Why should he do that? What happens after he does that? If you say BG will be that communist, and he will share... then some out of those 300 million will be not so kind, and they will take over. Human nature is a well known factor.

              You need to be practically an omnipotent god to be completely free from the environment and from other people. Since we haven't figured out yet how to use dark energy (and build gravity guns with it) our industry will be for quite some time based on physical resources of the planet. Even if we imagine a perfect communist world where energy and resources are monetarily free, those resources aren't free to the society. There is so much fresh water on the planet, for example... you can't just open all taps and go on a year-long vacation. But that's what people will do; we value only what we pay for. USSR tried to educate "a new human" and failed miserably.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by whiteboy86 (1930018)
        Anyone who is easily replaceable by a robot should reconsider his 'career'.
      • by WCLPeter (202497)

        Automation and robotics are replacing jobs faster than they are being created now.

        Damn, this has reminded me of a story I read once a long time ago. Hopefully Team Slashdot can help me remember the name:

        Pseudo Plot Summary

        As robotics and automation became more and more commonplace fewer and fewer jobs were available for the population. When the ranks of the unemployed became so large and homelessness so rampant, the rich who occupied the cities didn't want to see them anymore and forced the government to

        • by Nursie (632944)

          As others have said, it's Manna, and the other stuff on the guy's site was "Robotic Nation".

          It's not the best written piece of fiction ever, but it does make a series of very good points about the way the world works, and the way things are going. I used to think very much along the lines of that stuff - what happens in a world post-scarcity, in which the established rich still own everything but there is no work for most people?

          Of course you only have to look around at Africa and parts of Asia and South Am

    • by Nikker (749551)
      It's not that simple. Human employees are there to influence the customers to buy things they did not intend to buy when they came in the store ;). Things like accessories, additional chargers and maybe a MacBook to go with your iPad. Also as many already know if you work for a company you are more likely to become the company's evangelist on your own time praising the greatness of your employers goods. If they replaced every employee with a glorified vending machine most of that would go out the window and
    • they're also about organizing people into voting blocks. Think of what the AARP does. You can't touch Social Security & Medicare because old people are organized, they vote, and they've got the AARP telling them HOW to vote so they don't have to spend their time figuring out if candidate A can be trusted to leave SS & Medicare alone. The idea is works organize, form voting blocks, and if all else fails put laws in place (tariffs, min wages, socialized medicine) to protect themselves.
    • Re:Unionize this (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:39PM (#36420586) Homepage

      Yeah, go ahead and form your "union". You will quickly find out just how replaceable [flickr.com] you are.

      He's just following Apple's lead - if you can't even replace batteries, certainly you can't replace employees.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Oh, batteries are perfectly replaceable. You just have to fork over the dollars for the warranty contract or the the billing hours for the "genius" that do the job. I wonder, do the bar serve refreshments while one wait?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:15PM (#36420392)

    Reminds me that Americans are assholes when it comes to labor rights.

  • by waddgodd (34934) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:36PM (#36420558) Homepage Journal

    Historically, unions aimed at a single company fail pretty miserably, Unions live or die by numerical strength, and you can't get that if one company can scab the entire membership out. Now if they got Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc on board and called themselves the "electronics salesforce union", they might have a chance. Short of that, it'll just be a flash in the pan.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:43PM (#36420616)

    Steve's real cool. You'll see.

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <[ten.00mrebu] [ta] [todhsals]> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @07:44PM (#36420628) Homepage Journal

    Cory Moll was reported missing today by his family. They also expressed concern about a chrome statue placed in front of the local Apple store in Cory's exact image and dimensions. An Apple store representative said, "We wished to express our gratitude for Mr. Moll's concerns and have thus erected this statue, and will do so for any other employee who does the same."

  • Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

    by chill (34294) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @08:07PM (#36420778) Journal

    They already have a cult, why not a union?

  • The summary says

    The core issues are definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits

    While the linked article says:

    The core issues definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits

    I hope the typo was an accident, and not something inserted to try to make the person attempting to organize look like an undereducated person with poor grammar.

  • by ScottyLad (44798) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @10:55PM (#36421890)
    Interesting, having clicked through the links on the OP, I got to This interview [ifoapplestore.com] which gives us a better insight...

    "Among the specific issues is ambiguity about how company policies and regulations are administered and enforced, Moll says. Many policies are set at the corporate level, but regional and store managers have discretion to change the rules or enforce them differently..."

    Umm... correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how management works, and why there's a manager in every store adapting to what works best for their particular store.

    Even pay has its variabilities. “They don’t really have a pay scale. I believe that’s largely up to each region and each market,” Moll says. Like most national companies, Apple’s pay rates vary according by region. But unlike most companies, store managers seem to have the ability to hire new employees at rates beyond the range, Moll says.

    Again, this is a little thing called "empowerment" which means their store managers can actually make decisions on how to best run their particular store. I'm guessing the cost of living differs dramatically across all the locations where Apple has stores, and store mangers could use the discretion to retain particularly valuable staff who might have an extra hour's commute, for example?

    "Moll also says there’s a lot of “favoritism among store management teams, or un-favoritism,” when good-performing employees are unfairly evaluated. “They try to find ways to get rid of those employees, where they may be scrutinized more than others,” he says"

    Now this one seems to be the crux of the matter. personally I find it hard to believe that store managers are queuing up to get rid of their best performing employees. I could, however, understand if a store manager paid particular attention to someone who might be doing decent sales, but had an attitude problem that could cause issues.

    From that interview, everything he says makes Apple look like a progressive employer who empowers their management to reward the staff who add value to the business. This sounds like sour grapes from someone who has worked "in multiple stores" and can't get past the shop floor for whatever reason. Could it be the big chip on his shoulder noticing that other people seem to be doing better than him?

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @11:19PM (#36422020)

    If he is stuck in a part time position then he is probably does not show any initiative. Showing some initiative should be the first step and trying to pursue full time status. If you cannot move up to full-time then how do you expect anyone to give you a raise?

  • by vorlich (972710) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:35AM (#36422558) Homepage Journal
    Here in Europe the right to join a collective organisation is a legal right so Apple or any other employees can engage in free collective bargaining with the man. Heck, here we even have tenants unions where our lawyers are smarter and cheaper than their lawyers. This freedom can often be a huge surprise to some American Companies. For eight years Walmart attempted to colonise the German retail industry. They were unaware of a) cultural differences and b) the power of the Workers Committee. Their Orwellian behaviour, spying on employees, banning staff romances and trying to coerce the staff into informing on each other was not surprisingly resisted by ver.di (the union), the staff and the general consensus of popular opinion. The experience proved so unmanageable for them they eventually disposed of their German assets to Metro and left the country.
    Sadly Huey Helicopters were not involved but would have looked so good.

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