More Apple Stores Looking to Unionize as Employee Dissatisfaction Grows: Report
After an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland, became the first in the U.S. to unionize back in June, more retail locations are looking to follow suit as employee discontent with Apple’s retail policies grows — reports Bloomberg.
The iPhone maker may have allayed attempts to organize at some stores, but more retail employees than ever before are considering unionization. According to Bloomberg‘s sources, workers at dozens of locations have begun discussing unionization. The efforts also extend well beyond the U.S.
Beyond pay and benefits, though, workers appear to be dissatisfied with Apple’s retail tactics and a pressure to upsell that has developed in recent years. Talking to Bloomberg, one employee at Apple’s now-unionized Oklahoma City store equated the current state of the job to working as a car salesman.
“Unionizing, it really is doing exactly what I was taught at Apple, which was to push the status quo, to not expect just the bare minimum,” said a six-year employee at the Oklahoma City store.
In recent years, Apple has allegedly started employing tactics that encourage retail employees to prioritize “ownership opportunities” and focus more on selling new products rather than fixing old ones. “As a technician, my heart is to fix your shit. That’s what I want to do,” one employee said. “But what I’m encouraged to do is to say, ‘Well, this is what your phone is worth for a trade-in.'”
The company has also altered the metrics it uses to evaluate employee performance and started highlighting low-performers.
Apple is evaluating retail workers based on how many people they deal with per hour and how many customers pay for an extended warranty through the AppleCare program. What’s more, some stores email workers’ stats to colleagues while others put them up in employee-only areas, with those of lower sellers highlighted in red.
The Towson store’s management even put up a giant laminated photo of a tree in the break room and instructed Genius Bar workers to add a sticker every time they made a sale.
“The tree pushed people to want to upsell,” one staffer said. “You have to focus on your numbers being perfect.” Management dropped the sales tree after the Towson store unionized.
Employees said the sales pressure is further heightened by understaffing and onerous quotas for customers handled per hour.
“We remain committed, as always, to delivering the excellent Apple experience—for our customers, our team members, and the communities we serve,” Apple told Bloomberg in a statement on the matter.
“Our retail and online teams connect with customers to help them get the most out of their products and ensure they receive an unparalleled level of support.” An Apple spokesperson pointed out that the company doesn’t pay retail employees on commission and that it doesn’t require them to meet any sales quotas.
You can read the full report over at Bloomberg.