Apple does not plan to provide recently announced employee perks to workers at a Maryland store who have unionized, reports Bloomberg. Apple this week announced plans to offer employees additional funds for education and new health care features in some states, but unionized employees at the Towson, Maryland Apple Store will not receive these benefits.
Towson workers were told that the store would need to negotiate benefits with Apple through the union, which is something that Apple’s head of retail, Deirdre O’Brien, warned employees about in anti-union messaging sent out in May.
“We have a relationship that is based on an open and collaborative and direct engagement,” she said at the time. “Which I feel could fundamentally change if a store is represented by a union under a collective bargaining agreement.”
Despite Apple’s efforts, the Towson store unionized in June, becoming the first Apple retail location in the United States to do so. Bloomberg suggests that Apple’s decision to withhold perks from the Towson store could dissuade other stores from unionizing, but it could also lead to further worker upset. Other companies like Starbucks that have been fighting unionization have also provided exclusive benefits at non-union stores.
Employees at non-union Apple retail locations are eligible for advanced tuition reimbursement at select colleges, a free Coursera membership, and in Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Washington, and New Jersey, employees have access to a health care plan that waives co-pays for Apple-approved doctors.
Apple has been continually improving benefits for retail workers in an effort to prevent unionization. Apple in February announced more paid sick days, more vacation days, and more parental leave, and in June, the company agreed to make employee schedules more flexible to prevent overworking.
The Towson, Maryland store is represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union and formal negotiations are set to begin with Apple soon.
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