Workers at Apple’s Towson Town Center store in Maryland have voted to unionize, with 65 yeses and 33 nos. Around 110 employees were eligible to vote in the election. The store is the first Apple retail location in the US to hold a union election, after organizers in Atlanta withdrew their petition to hold a union vote, which had been scheduled to take place in early May. Organizing at the Towson store has been done by a group of employees that called themselves AppleCORE (an acronym for Coalition of Organized Retail Employees). The workers have said they want to expand their rights, specifically asking for a say when it came to pay, hours, and safety. AppleCORE is associated with a larger, established union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Towson, Maryland - Apple Store workers in Maryland are attempting to form the company’s first U.S. union. They join two other stores, one in Atlanta and one in NYC, in their efforts to unionize. We spoke to the Apple retail workers leading the drive to unionize the Towson Mall store. Below is a full transcript of the video: Kevin Gallagher: We talk about this country as like a place where democracy thrives, but we work 80% of our lives in an environment where we have no democracy. We have no vote in the things that affect us. Christie Pridgen: Apple has all the power, influence, and money to be able to make a significant change in what labor is. It’s an opportunity, like, they didn’t start it, they didn’t begin this initiative—we did. All they have to do is follow up.
New York City, New York - From Activision to Amazon, historic union elections are changing the way that Americans think about work. Now, Apple is the next tech giant to reckon with an employee-driven labor movement. Calling themselves the Fruit Stand Workers United (FSWU), employees at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal retail location launched a website designed to educate their fellow workers about why they want to unionize their store. “Year over year, the cost of living in New York City has not kept pace with our wages,” the FSWU’s mission statement reads. “Meanwhile, Apple has grown to be the most valuable company in the world. Why should its retail workers live precariously?” The collective will be affiliated with Workers United, the same group that has helped over 20 Starbucks locations form unions since December.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Professor Jenny Chan about the people in China who make iPhones, iPads and Kindles, driving the huge profits of two of the world’s most powerful companies – Foxconn, the world’s largest provider of electronics manufacturing services, and Apple with its $2 trillion market value. Jenny Chan, along with Mark Selden and Pun Ngai, did extensive field research for almost a decade to produce their book, ‘Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and The Lives of China’s Workers’. What they show is that workers in China earn a fraction of what unionized workers in the United States earn. They have no job protection, are forced to work punishing hours of overtime, as much as 130 hours of overtime a month, live under constant surveillance, are severely disciplined for minor infractions and must meet punishing quotas that leave them physically drained and sometimes injured and sick.
The combination of greed and power often spin out of control and challenge the enforceable rule of law and the countervailing force of the organized civic community. When greed and power are exercised by giant multinational corporations that escape the discipline of the nation-state, the potential for evil becomes infinite in nature. Enough is never enough. Global giant companies, aided and abetted by their corporate attorneys and accountants, can literally decide how little taxes they are going to pay by shifting profits and expenses among different tax haven countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg, and Panama.
Dozens of activists turned a Paris-based Apple Store into an emergency ward complete with x-rays, surgeons, bloody patients and even a waiting room to denounce tax evasion. The elaborate demonstration, staged by the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Citizen Action (ATTAC), on Saturday was in protest of Apple’s tax evasion practices and their impact on social services like the public health institutions in France. Protesters dressed in scrubs performed treatments on ‘patients’ on hospital beds or lying on the floor of the crowded store. Others chanted “we’re here, even if we do not want it, we’re here,” and marched around the store, while some played a giant game of Operation.
A French activist group has launched a criminal lawsuit against Apple over its policy of slowing down older iPhones in a case that could see the tech giant 's executives jailed and cost it five percent of its income if convicted of the crime of "planned obsolescence". The move by Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP - Stop Planned Obsolescence), an environmental association, comes after lawsuits were launched this week in the US against Apple for similar reasons. The suit was filed on Wednesday in the Paris prosecutor’s office, HOP said in a statement. “Apple has put in place a global strategy of programmed obsolescence in order to boost its sales” of new iPhones, the group said.
By Andrew Behar for Eco Watch - A classic example of a negotiation with a notoriously tough corporation that was quite heated (but ended up with a positive change) took place leading up to May 2, 2007, when Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, made the public statement on the Apple website, "Today is the first time we have openly discussed our plans to become a greener Apple. It will not be the last. We apologize for leaving you in the dark for so long."
By Nicki Lisa Cole for Truthout - Right now hundreds of thousands of young Chinese workers are laboring on iPhone 7 production lines. With these products set to launch in September, the final assembly is happening in a series of Foxconn and Pegatron factories across the country. Foxconn is likely a familiar name to readers, as it became the focal point of international media attention in 2012 after widespread legal and ethical labor violations were revealed by This American Life and The New York Times.
By Joan McCarter for Daily Kos - Civil rights groups have a profound and long-standing interest in law enforcement and the surveillance state, that's what has them joining Apple in its fight with the FBI to protect our right to protect our data. In recent weeks, voices in the movement and civil rights activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson have met with Apple officials and filed briefs on behalf of the company, which is resisting a court order to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. […]
By Julia Angwin for Pro Publica - The FBI’s much-discussed request to Apple can seem innocuous: Help us extract six weeks of encrypted data from the locked iPhone of Syed Farook, an employee of San Bernardino’s health department who spearheaded an attack that killed 14 people. Most people believe Apple should comply. But the FBI is demanding a lot more than the data on a single phone. It has obtained a court order requiring Apple to build custom surveillance software for the FBI – which computer security expert Dan Guido cleverly dubs an FBiOS.
By Staff of ABC 7 and The Associated Press - CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rallies took place Tuesday evening at Apple stores in Chicago and in cities across the world to protest a court order forcing the tech giant to help the FBI hack into a locked iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists. But most of the protesters in Chicago were not there to support Apple but, instead, to call for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's resignation after the Laquan McDonald shooting.
Evan Greer for Fight For The Future. The FBI just got a judge to order Apple to create a backdoor into the iPhone — putting all of our safety at risk by exposing personal information to hackers, criminals, terrorists, and government spies. The FBI has been trying this for years, but now they’re exploiting the tragedy in San Bernardino to push their reckless agenda. Our basic safety and security is at stake. So on Tuesday, February 23rd we will gather at Apple stores nationwide with one simple message: “Don’t Break Our Phones!” This isn’t just about the iPhone, because once the government is able to order companies to unlock their devices and build in backdoors, none of our data will be safe, because courts will be able to issue similar orders for Androids, PCs, and every other device out there. Ultimately, breaking the security features of our phones puts all of our safety at risk. Once a backdoor is built, anyone who finds it can use it. That means it won’t only be used by governments or law enforcement. It’s only a matter of time until someone else finds it, enabling malicious hackers, foreign governments, terrorists, thieves and stalkers to use our data against us.
By Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson for Bloomberg Business - Silicon Valley celebrated last fall when the White House revealed it would not seek legislation forcing technology makers to install “backdoors” in their software -- secret listening posts where investigators could pierce the veil of secrecy on users’ encrypted data, from text messages to video chats. But while the companies may have thought that was the final word, in fact the government was working on a Plan B. In a secret meeting convened by the White House around Thanksgiving, senior national security officials ordered agencies across the U.S. government to find ways to counter encryption software...
By Elizabeth Weise for USA Today - SAN FRANCISCO — Privacy and security supporters held a rally outside Apple’s San Francisco store Wednesday to protest the U.S. government's demand that Apple give the FBI a backdoor to hack into an iPhone recovered from Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the attackers in the December San Bernardino, Calif., shooting that killed 14 people. “We want to show Apple that people are standing with them,” said Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based cyber-liberties group.