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Apple Has Union Trouble

Apple Unveils iPhone 15 And Other New Products
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Several of America’s largest companies have faced the unionization of parts of their workforces. It has been a challenge for several years at Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX). Both companies fought the process, but unions gained footholds, nonetheless. When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) launched its retail stores in 2001, there was always the chance that its workers would organize. Starbucks, in particular, has had union problems.

After over two decades, a union has started organizing people working at one of Apple’s stores. The action is more than just workers joining a union. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Workers at a unionized Apple retail store near Baltimore voted Saturday to authorize a strike as contract talks with the tech giant continue.” About 100 employees are involved. They are an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.

Unions almost always look for better pay and benefits. That, in turn, increases company costs. Apple has 271 stores in the United States. The workers in those locations represent a tiny part of Apple’s overall workforce. However, unions can create a complex set of circumstances. Labor contracts usually include worker rights, which include how management can treat them beyond pay and benefits and how disputes get resolved. They also usually set the number of hours people have to work in stores and the scheduling of those hours.

Will the union effort be difficult for those who run Apple’s retail operations? Can union actions cause public relations problems? The answer to both questions is yes. Will they affect Apple’s bottom line? The answer is no.

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