On Christmas Eve, dozens of Apple retail employees staged a walkout to demand improved working conditions in the company’s stores, reported HuffPost.
At least 50 workers from three states took part in the walkout on Friday, organisers claimed, claiming insufficient paid sick leave, a lack of pandemic hazard pay, and other difficulties.
While those taking part in Friday’s action represent a small percentage of Apple’s 80,000 employees in retail and elsewhere in the United States, Janneke Parrish, a former corporate Apple employee who helped support organisers of the walkout, said it is still “significant” to have workers speak out against the behemoth tech company.
“Apple workers are fed up with being unheard,” Parrish said, adding that Friday’s action, which trended on Twitter, aims to “make sure people are aware of how retail workers are being treated.”
Apple Together, an organising group made up of current and former Apple employees, is asking people to show their support for workers by not buying Apple products on Christmas Eve.
Calling all Apple workers and patrons!
Tomorrow, December 24th, 2021, Apple workers are staging a walkout/callout to demand better working conditions.
Strike funds are available for participants: https://t.co/xYESzWc196.
— Apple Together (@AppleLaborers) December 23, 2021
According to Parrish, Apple’s retail employees have “extremely limited sick leave.” She explained that part-time workers accrue paid leave on an hourly basis, which means they must choose between going to work while unwell — despite the fact that COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country due to the spread of the omicron version — or going unpaid.
An Apple store in Texas had to close for several days earlier this month due to a COVID-19 epidemic among employees.
According to an Apple spokeswoman, all employees are entitled to paid sick leave if they experience COVID-like symptoms.
As many shop workers experience pressure from consumers for enforcing mask wearing and other COVID-19 preventive measures, Parrish believes that hazard pay is “the very minimum [workers] are owed in a pandemic.” A security guard at an Apple shop in New York was stabbed in October over a mask argument, according to reports.
In August, the Apple Together worker organisation launched an online protest using the hashtag #AppleToo, releasing hundreds of anonymous testimonials from current and former Apple employees alleging verbal abuse, sexual harassment, pay equity difficulties, and other issues.