| Cult of Mac

Apple kicks its return-to-office plan back into gear

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The walkway around Apple Park.
Apple Park will soon be busier.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple’s oft-delayed plan to require corporate employees to be in the office three days a week is reportedly back on.

Apple employees are already required to be in the offices two days a week. That will reportedly jump to three days a week starting in early September.

Apple ends face mask mandate for corporate employees at ‘most locations’

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The walkway around Apple Park.
Apple corporate employees will see a lot fewer masks at Apple Park.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly told its corporate employees the company’s face mask requirement is at its end. There are exceptions, though.

In March, the company removed the requirement for workers who had been vaccinated for COVID-19. After Monday’s policy change, it’s mostly come to an end for all employees.

Apple store workers vote to unionize

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Apple Store workers in Maryland vote to unionize
Apple store employees in Towson, Maryland, voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Photo: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

Employees at an Apple store in Maryland have made it the first of any of the Mac-maker’s retail locations to vote in favor of joining a union. Several other such stores are preparing to hold their own votes. Meanwhile, Apple is trying to discourage any efforts by its employees to unionize.

It’s not clear how all this will affect users of Apple devices.

New scheduling policies make Apple stores better places to work

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Apple West Lake
Improvements to scheduling rules for Apple retail employees are likely intended to head off unionizing efforts.
Photo: Apple

Apple U.S. retail store employees now get a minimum of 12 hours between shifts, up from 10 hours. And they won’t have to work more than five days in a row. These are just two of the changes Apple is reportedly making to how it schedules workers at its 270+ retail locations.

It’s likely these are intended to reduce employee interest in joining unions.

Apple raises pay for retail and corporate employees

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Apple store
Good news, Apple retail employees!
Photo: Apple

Apple employees can to look forward to raises. The company sent an email to its workers informing them it’ll spend more on employee compensation this year. And starting pay for retail workers is going up 10%.

This is happening as Apple faces increasing competition for employees in a tight labor market, and its retail workers are starting to unionize.

Apple accused of hindering employee efforts to unionize

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Apple moves to head off employee union efforts
It seems Apple won't sit quietly while its retail employees unionize.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Workers attempting to form unions at multiple Apple retail stores allege the iPhone-maker is breaking federal labor laws in its attempts to block these efforts.

If the allegations bear out, it’s more than a bit hypocritical – Apple requires its component suppliers to allow their employees to join unions.

COVID-19 throws off Apple’s return-to-office plan yet again

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Apple leases new offices near to Apple Park
Getting employees back in Apple Park isn't going smoothly.
Photo: Duncan Sinfield

Apple reportedly slowed the pace at which it will require its corporate employees to return to the office. They were scheduled to be back at their desks three days a week starting later this month, but rising numbers of COVID-19 cases supposedly pushed that back.

Apple employees are still required to be in the offices two days a week.

Apple moves to head off employee union efforts

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Apple moves to head off employee union efforts
It seems Apple won't sit quietly while its retail employees unionize.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is reportedly working with Littler Mendelson, a law firm with a history of helping companies prevent their employees from unionizing. The move comes in the wake of workers at several Apple stores moving to form unions.

If true, then Apple is going to do what it can to prevent the thousands of employees at its 250+ retail locations in the United States from organizing for collective bargaining.

Apple store workers eye unions for higher pay

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Apple Store employees in Atlanta and New York work to unionize for higher pay
The Apple Store in Cumberland Mall could soon become the first to have a union.
Photo: Apple

Dozens of workers at an Apple store in Atlanta reportedly plan to file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking to become a union. Employees at an Apple retail store in New York are moving in that direction, too.

These could be the first U.S. Apple store employees to unionize. Both groups are asking for higher wages.

Apple employees must begin dragging their sad asses back to the office

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Apple Park Close up
Apple Park will soon be humming with busy employees again.
Photo: Apple

Monday is the day Apple requires its corporate employees to start working in the office some of the time. The pandemic era when most of them could work from home all the time is over.

But everyone doesn’t have to be back in the office five days a week starting today. This is the beginning of a transition period, after which many workers will still be able to work from home a couple days of every week.