Amidst Unionization Efforts, Apple to Improve Working Conditions for Retail Employees

In an attempt to improve working conditions, tech giant Apple plans on making employee schedules at retail locations more flexible, according to reports. Employees in certain Apple stores have been working toward unionization, and Apple’s introduction of these better working conditions might be seen in the light of that information. The Cupertino tech giant will ensure that there are at least 12 hours between each shift that an employee must take on going forward. This is a 2-hour increase from the current minimum of 10 hours. Unless employees choose to work late shifts, they will not be required to work past 8:00 PM for more than three days a week.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple will no longer schedule employees to work more than five days in a row. This is down from the current policy of six days in a row. However, there may still be exemptions during holidays and new product launches. For each six-month period they work, full-time Apple retail employees will also be eligible for a dedicated weekend day off. Apple will reportedly be implementing these scheduling changes in the upcoming months. These changes will be in addition to new benefits that were introduced in February when the tech giant bumped up the number of available paid sick days, began offering more vacation days, and increased parental leave.

Apple retail locations in Washington State, New York, Maryland, and Atlanta have taken steps toward unionization with employees asking for higher pay, more vacation time, better retirement options, and other benefits, but none of these efforts have been successful to date.

Deirdre O’Brien, head of retail of Apple, sent out a video to employees in May. O’Brien appears to be dissuading employees from unionizing in the video. “It is your right to join a union – and it is equally your right not to join a union,” said O’Brien, adding that employees should “consult a wide range of people and sources” to have a full understanding of what it would mean to “work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement.”