A group of Apple retail employees has voted to unionise, marking the first union for the consumer tech giant in the US, as a burgeoning labour movement gathers momentum across the country.
The group’s victory follows successful union drives at other American corporate giants, including Amazon, Starbucks and Google parent Alphabet. While small in scale, the unionisation wave has gathered momentum at companies that had until recently managed to fend off organised labour, with union-busting techniques and a partial reliance on a less competitive jobs market than exists in today’s post-pandemic economy.
The end of the tech boom has sparked a flurry of job cuts as companies move swiftly to tighten their belts. Recruitment at Meta and Uber has slowed, job offers from Twitter and Coinbase have been rescinded and deep lay-offs have swept parts of the sector.
But while household tech names have grabbed attention for pulling back on recruitment after a prolonged period of headcount expansion, some analysts, recruiters and jobseekers are finding some reasons to stay calm — for now.
Uvalde is a small city. Around two weeks ago, Angie Garza, a grandmother who helps run an automotive radiator repair shop on Main Street, took in Celia Gonzales’s grey Ford truck — it needed its air conditioning fixed.
On a follow-up visit a few days later, Garza recalls, there seemed to be something on her customer’s mind. “She looked distressed. She said she was dealing with her grandson.”
On Tuesday, Gonzales was shot by her 18-year-old grandson, Salvador Ramos, and remains in a critical condition. Ramos took her truck to make a short journey in the direction of Robb Elementary School, before crashing into a ditch.
Wearing body armour and carrying an automatic rifle, sold to him legally, he went inside the school and killed 19 children and two teachers. Among the dead was Amerie Jo Garza, Angie’s granddaughter. She was 10.
Amazon workers at a second facility in New York have rejected efforts to form a union, dealing a blow to a grassroots labour movement that hoped to capitalise on momentum from its surprise victory at a larger warehouse last month.
Employees at a sorting facility in Staten Island, known as LDJ5, voted by 618 to 380 against joining the Amazon Labor Union, the organisation led by Chris Smalls, a former worker at the ecommerce giant.
I must admit, after the Amazon Labor Union’s triumph at JFK8 last month, I did think the momentum would carry them through this vote at LDJ5, which just over the road.
What does this mean for the ALU? There’s a danger, of course, that its progress could be completely unravelled. Amazon squashed the vote at LDJ5, and it may be able have the JFK8 thrown out. Testing times for Chris Smalls and his grassroots org.
As Twitter employees digested the most turbulent week in the company’s 16-year history, the message from top leadership was: sit tight.
In the immediate aftermath of the news that Elon Musk had clinched his $44bn takeover bid for the platform with Twitter’s board, staff at a virtual emergency all-hands meeting were told there would be no lay-offs “at this time” and that little else would change until the deal closes later this year, pending shareholder approval and any further dramatic twists.
But then what? Twitter’s workforce is divided and apprehensive.