Apple Gives Store Managers ‘Anti-Union’ Talking Points, Reveals Memo

Apple has instructed store managers to incorporate several anti-union talking points into their interactions with workers in an attempt to discourage unionization efforts at its retail locations — reports VICE.

Apple has run into unionization pressure after a retail store in Atlanta became the first Apple location in the U.S. to file for a union election, and stores in New York City and Towson, Maryland followed suit. Any one of these locations could become the site of the first Apple retail union in the country if workers vote to unionize.

The talking points were attached to an internal memo sent out to store managers and later obtained by the publication. VICE was able to confirm from multiple sources that managers at multiple stores, including locations with ongoing unionization proceedings, have been utilizing this script during daily start-of-shift meetings, known internally as “downloads,” in recent weeks.

“The quality of your work may not even be a factor,” the talking points coach managers to tell their employees. The script says unionization could result in “fewer opportunities” and reduced “flexibility” for workers, possibly even forcing the company to pay “less attention to merit.”

The talking points warn employees that an “outside” union “could fundamentally change the way we work.”

In particular, Apple said personalized arrangements between workers and their managers would take a hit, as would the tech giant’s Career Experiences program, which allows retail employees to work in new roles and contribute to projects outside Apple’s retail space to expand their horizons and help with career development.

“An outside union that doesn’t know Apple or our culture would make things more complex and rigid,” it continues. “Leaders wouldn’t have the flexibility to act in the moment or address each person’s unique needs like they do now.”

Apple employees say they are unionizing for a seat at the table when it comes to deciding their pay, hours, and benefits. Workers want to push Apple, the world’s (second) most valuable company, to share more of its wealth with its frontline workers.

While Apple has not taken an anti-union stance in public, the leaked talking points speak volumes. The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker last month also hired the anti-union law firm Littler Mendelson to represent it on union-related matters.

A copy of Apple’s talking points, transcribed verbatim by VICE, can be found here.