Why Apple store workers are unionizing

Employees want higher wages, more co-workers and less sales pressure.

Credit: Future Publishing / Getty Images

The Genius Bar just ain’t what it used to be.

Employees claim a cultural shift under Tim Cook has Apple store jobs losing their luster, driving some to consider unionization, per Bloomberg.

In the Steve Jobs era…

… store employees were encouraged to engage with customers until their problem was resolved, sometimes resulting in hourslong discussions.

This focus on customer satisfaction made working at the Genius Bar a source of pride, and gave Apple a reputation as one of the best jobs in retail. But associates claim the Tim Cook era has introduced some unwelcome changes, including:

  • New quotas that grade employees on how many customers they handle per hour
  • A broader shift in priorities from fixing devices to upselling customers on new products

Making matters worse, customers aren’t  always keen on being sold to when they’re stressed about a broken device.

Now employees are turning to unionization

While only two stores have formally unionized, employees at dozens of the company’s 272 US locations are reportedly discussing the option, with three main requests:

  • Higher hourly rates, more co-workers, and less sales pressure.

Ironically, one employee says unionization does what she was taught at Apple: “To push the status quo, to not expect just the bare minimum.”

Notably, investors don’t seem to mind — last month Apple reported a record $90B in Q4 revenue.

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