Apple’s own security guards stage protest outside San Francisco Apple Store

Protestors blocked the door

Protestors blocked the door of Apple’s flagship San Francisco retail store for around an hour. Picture: Julia Carrie Wong

A protest involving around 50 people blocked customers from entering the main doors of Apple’s flagship San Francisco Union Square retail store yesterday.

The protest was related to service employees claiming to be underpaid. Organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), they staged a sit-in for nearly an hour. While the Apple Store remained opened during this time, customers had to enter through a side door.

One of the protestors, describing himself as an Apple security guard, decried the firm for its lack of job protection. “If [security officers] miss a day of work, they don’t know if they’ll have the job the next day,” he told Business Insider.

The protest ended when cops from the San Francisco Police Department turned up and took away around 12 protestors, who did not resist the arrest, on the basis that they had failed to follow police orders telling them to disband.

Tweets showing the progression of events were posted to social media by journalist Julia Carrie Wong.

This isn’t the first time the men and women who ensure Apple employee safety have demanded better pay and job security from Apple. Earlier this year, Apple’s security guards protested at a shareholder’s meeting, while Cupertino history shows a long line of relatedrallies and protests.

Given Tim Cook’s work in favor of human rights, it will be interesting to see if Apple issues any kind of formal statement, or takes action to resolve this ongoing conflict.

  • Disgusted

    Is this not America? Cops have no right to tell non-violent protesting citizens to disband and subsequently arrest them. Freedom of speech and peaceful protest are actual things that exist in the Bill of Rights.

    • Ronniiraygun

      Not if they are blocking commerce which hurts a customer, employee and employer from exercising there freedom. At that point you are harming others and blocking there freedom. Your freedom of expression ends when you cause harm. If you read they were physically blocking people from being able to go where they wanted to go.
      I other words the protesters were acting like ISIS. Those customers and employees are lucky they didn’t get there heads cut off.

      • melci

        Whoa there Ronni, you’re going to negate your whole argument invoking a completely inappropriate comparison to ISIS there. Watch out for Godwin’s Law.

    • R85

      It’s not peaceful if they are preventing people from entering a building. That’s resistance. Freedom of speech is ok… Preventing the flow of the public by force, disrupting the peace is not.

    • Kr00

      Ones right to peaceful protest does not supersede the right of passage. You cannot claim one right while denying the rights of all others.

    • sassymacgeek

      They have no right to block access to private property, genius. If I stand at your doorway in protest and do not let you pass will you walk around the block a few times until I am gone?

  • JackThomasAZ

    If they feel they are underpaid, quit and find another higher paying job. They accepted jobs at Apple fully aware of the wage they were being paid and now they demand more money. Thanks to the police for disbanding these fascist SEIU goons.

  • Miles Howard

    All the people saying that these guards should just shut up and seek higher-paying jobs are ignoring the fact that the tech industry still needs low-level employees to function. Whether we’re talking about security guards, bus drivers, or cafeteria workers, someone has to perform the grunt work and thus, the compensation for a role like this should reflect the demand. Sure, these jobs will probably be automated one day (and boy, that’ll be an economic mess), but we’re not there yet.

    • puggsly

      I hear what you are saying, but the free market works both ways. If they “NEED” low-level employees and can’t find those willing to work for low wages, they will have to increase their wage, because as you said they “NEED” these people.

      This was really about a Union trying to bully Apple and recruit employees. Notice that this was organized by SEIU and only 1 of the 50 people identified themselves as an employee.

  • Martin Dobson

    “If [security officers] miss a day of work, they don’t know if they’ll have the job the next day,”

    Welcome to the working world. If you miss a day of work anywhere chances are you won’t have a job to come back to. Being excused from a day of work due to an appointment or something is completely different from missing a day of work.

    • HammerOfTruth

      That’s true. Being in a union lets you slack off and keep your job. If this person worked for Apple, then it was past tense and he probably got fired for not showing up for work and not contacting anybody.

      Apple needs to start paying their employees more money for the work they do, but not at the expense of having a union. That only compounds the problem and part of your pay raise goes to union “dues”.

    • sassymacgeek

      I doubt they will get fired if they miss a day of work as long as they call in, believe some employees don’t bother. I would imagine it could be the case if Apple outsources security to another company but of course Apple has the fancy name so why picket Securitas.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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