On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to questions from employees about pay equity, Apple’s stance on political matters like Texas’ abortion law, and workplace concerns in an all-staff meeting broadcast to Apple’s 160,000 workers across the globe.
However, current and former Apple employees, especially those involved with the #AppleToo movement, were far from satisfied with Cook’s answers (or his cherry-picking of questions to even address) — reports The New York Times.
Over the past few months, Apple employees have developed an affinity for banding together over issues of importance like the Palestine-Israel crisis, Apple’s ‘return to office’ plans, workplace harassment, discrimination, and inequality that have slowly continued to surface.
“Their culture is: Drink our Kool-Aid, buy into what we’re telling you, and we’ll promote you,” said Richard Dahan, a hearing-impaired former Apple Store employee. “But if you’re asking for anything or making noise, then they won’t.”
In August, former and current Apple employees organized the #AppleToo movement to not only publicize these concerns but also bring leadership to the table in trying to resolve them.
In Friday’s meeting, Cook chose to only answer two of the numerous questions put forth by his workers, much to the disappointment of activist employees at the Silicon Valley giant.
On the subject of pay equity, Apple’s Chief of Human Resources Deirdre O’Brien said in the Friday meeting that Apple maintains harsh scrutiny over its compensation practices to ensure equitable pay for all employees. “When we find any gaps at all, which sometimes we do, we close them,” said O’Brien.
Employees also asked what Apple was doing to protect its employees from Texas’ restrictive abortion laws. Cook Mr. Cook said during the meeting that the iPhone maker was planning on aiding the legal battle against the new law, and added that its medical insurance would help pay for Apple workers in Texas to travel to other states for an abortion.
As for combating discrimination and encouraging inclusion at the workplace, Apple has previously said the following in a statement:
We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters.
Janneke Parrish, who is among the employees helping lead the #AppleToo movement, was not at all satisfied with the leadership’s response. “With the answers Tim gave today, we weren’t heard,” she said.
Parrish herself had submitted a question asking what concrete steps Apple was taking to ensure that pay gaps were quickly bridged and that more women and people of colour were being promoted to leadership roles, which was not addressed during the meeting.
“Never have I met people more terrified to speak out against their employer,” said Cher Scarlett, Parrish’s colleague in fanning the flames of the #AppleToo movement to improve the workplace culture at Apple.