back to article Amid iPad frenzy, Apple staff say 'Remember the workers'

The world + dog has been following the announcements from Apple today, but for one employee watching the preparations, the chief wish wasn't a shiny new fondleslab or fancy TV system, but union rights. Cory Moll, an organizer for the Apple Retail Workers Union (ARWU), popped by the event before clocking in for work at his local …

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These are the issues where you find out Apple are exactly the same as everyone else. Away from the grandstanding and aloofness, when they actually have to address the nitty gritty they act like all that came before, and all that will after.

But still, higher resolutions etcetera.

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Anonymous Coward

Wait till

It's finally in the shops, in limited supply, as always, then watch the feeding frenzy start!

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Silver badge

Makes sense

They're paid decently well for retail, have decent benefits, etc. Why would they be lining up to pay union dues?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Makes sense

Think of it as insurance.

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JDX
Gold badge

Why?

What's special about Apple that their workers should be in a union? I thought this was going to be about encouraging the poor buggers who make the iPads to unionize, but it seems it's actually for those on the 'Genius Bar'?

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Re: Why?

Ha ha - 'Genius Bar' - love it... if they are geniuses why are they working in retail?

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Flame

Re: Why?

you stuck up prick.

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Re: Why?

Touchy!

I'm sure the Apple store techs are good at what they do and certainly know more about their products than I. But this does not make them geniuses. Nor does the marketing department labelling them as such...

Then again, the next Einstein could be biding his or her time at the 'Genius Bar' in which case I will retract my statement. Until such time... 'Genius Bar' Ha Ha!

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Bronze badge

Re: Why?

Why, because they are temporarily self-embarrassed millionaires?

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The world + dog has been following the announcements from Apple today

"The world + dog has been following the announcements from Apple today" or in other words El Reg has been posting rumors for the last week. Maybe el reg will explain why a monopoly is bad unless it's a union.

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"...why a monopoly is bad unless it's a union"?

El Reg does not have to explain - you only have to ask an employer whether they would like to deal with a plethora of unions or just one.

By all means start up your own union if you aren't happy with the one you have - but it won't be the trades union movement that you will have to convince to have it recognised.

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Anonymous Coward

most workers that make apple products aren't apple employees. So apple employees probably havn't had to pull any overtime in factories making products.

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Anonymous Coward

Chinas problem

Not apples

Foxconn will move the factory to somewhere else if wages cut into profit. I think it's already happened but I can't find the link. It may well have been El Reg itself.

And don't forget, it ain't just apple that uses Foxconn and it ain't just tech companies that use cheap labour

Cheap coffee - Slavery

Fook dat - cheap anything - slavery

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Headmaster

Re: Chinas problem

Cheap iPad? Where?

Still slavery and it's not cheap.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not quite sure that "a fair few staff are keen to organize, but are hesitant to do it themselves" is actually a Catch-22!

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Apple Retail Workers need a union?

Unions serve their function for many job types. Jobs in which the skills needed are skills that can be acquired by any and all, making the workers more or less interchangeable. In such cases, you don't want the employers to have the right to drive wages down by swapping out more senior, higher pay-grade workers in favor of newer, less expensive ones.

Apple retail store workers are not such workers. Have you ever been to an Apple Store? The people are nice. Friendly. They know what they are doing, and surprisingly so. They are not typical retail employees, it is not at all the typical retail experience. I find no comparison at all between, say, walking into a Best Buy and an Apple Store.

Best Buy is good, don't get me wrong. But the chances are probably 50/50 that the person you grab to ask your question is going to have a "not my job" or "not my department" position from the get-go, leaving you to your devices to find the person who can help you. I can only speak from my personal experience to say that every blue shirt and every Genius Bar associate that I've talked to in every Apple Store I've been to has been able to provide meaningful assistance on whatever the topic was that I brought to them.

Am I lucky? I don't think so. Apple has an intense HR screening operation, and an intense training operation. Nobody hits that sales floor without being the right person for the job. You're not gonna get "bad attitude" or any of that typical retail BS from an Apple Store employee. You know what would happen if you did? It would make Apple and the Store look bad. And that would get the person fired. If they were unionized, Apple would not be able to fire them.

In the case of the Apple Retail Workers Union, then, I am totally opposed to the idea. Let's not have it be a group negotiation process to determine who stays and who goes. This does nothing but lower the lowest common denominator. We are trying to raise the bar, not lower it. Other stores would be well advised to avoid union control of the workforce, not to adopt it. It's counter-effective in this market.

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Bronze badge

No need for a union if peole recognize a few facts:

-- If it is not an employee-owned company and an at-risk employee doesn't own significant shares of the company, a company can can that person

-- if an employees is highly competent and the company, punctual, professional, and well-liked, and the company is not in dire straits, the employee's departure will likely be by choice, not duress

-- if a company pays well, trains well, takes remedial action to keep distractable employees on track, then it is less likely to face creation of subversive or overt unions

-- if employees take honest intellectual stock of themselves and avoid slipping into tardiness, rustiness, or incompetence, and finds that those negatives are self-made, then one has little basis for blaming the company if it terminates that or other employees who are inefficient, untrainable, disproportionately expensive, etc.

-- businesses are NOT charities unless the owners/managers CHOOSE to keep on a dreg or limited individual, maybe in a support role that can do little damage, similar to Japan's "window seat" sidelining of once-key employees who were hired before the 90s, usually meaning "hired for life"

-- "hired-for-life" is dead. The more companies that work off of GAAP and other business mantras will no longer keep people on and pay for expensive benefits, perks, pensions, and the like. Only governments can get away with that, and even then not forever, as local governments file for bankruptcy

Apple is too chic and hip and swift-moving to tolerate a union. Dell workers, maybe. HP workers, maybe. But, Apple tolerating a union.. maybe for temporary humor, then it will "promote" the worker to a dead-end or grueling position away from susceptible union-sympathizers. As long as apple pays its own employees better than prevailing wages, offers superior benefits, grants flex time and allows employees a degree of autonomy so long as they are hitting or exceeding targets, and as long as Apple's HR ruthlessly screens for tighter fits, then unions will likely NEVER gain traction in companies like Apple, revered or reviled.

If i create a company, I will take great pains to make sure that the employees are compensated above prevailing wages, challenged commensurately to the skills, recognized, motivated, and rewarded, and kept interactive, and mediated for if there are issues somehow escaping resolution. Unions don't need to exist. They do because inept organizations are coercive, power-hungry, or insensitive. Unions exist because many workers cannot own up to the fact that if they are incompetent and deserve firing, it WILL catch up with them, one day, and they'd serve their best interests by always having a backup plan or being nimble enough to recover without a real backup plan. Weak-spined governments also help foster or perpetuate the existence of unions, mainly by taking their money during elections cycles.

Now, if one or more co-workers are filled with bile and malice and out to sabotage co-workers, then that is when law enforcement or arbitrators come in. Unions might only ameliorate to an extent, maybe by shuffling people around, in the name of not undermining loyalty of paying members.

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Re: No need for a union if peole recognize a few facts:

In other words, take what you're given?

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FAIL

Self-serving tosh

What a lot of self-serving tosh from Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman at the end of this piece. Labeling Apple's product as unethical unless Apple "proves" to some self-appointed guardian of "illegal overtime" that it isn't? Sound like someone irrelevant desperately seeking attention they don't deserve.

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