Apple, earlier this week, announced additional funds for education and new health care benefits for its Store employees. But, according to a new report from Bloomberg, the company isn’t planning to provide these perks to unionized workers at the Maryland store.
Apple has told the Store employees in Towson, MD, that they are eligible for the new employee benefits, but they have to negotiate them with Apple in accordance with the union agreement. For those unaware, Apple Towson Town Center in Maryland voted to unionize in June this year. They are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.
As part of the agreement, Apple cannot make any changes to the contract without negotiating it first with the union’s representatives. There seem to be no conditions required for the new benefits, but union representatives must adhere to the agreed bureaucratic process. Once an agreement has been reached, the employees could receive the perks.
Reportedly, the new benefits include Apple pre-paying tuition for education instead of using a reimbursement program, a free membership to a course on Coursera, and certain employees getting new health care plans based on location. Stores in New York, Georgia, Washington, and New Jersey are expected to get the new health care plans.
Even though Apple has been involved in anti-union tactics, the company warned about such situations before the Maryland store employees’ unionization. As Bloomberg reports, Apple’s decision to withhold perks from Towson may dissuade other stores from unionizing, but it could also increase worker frustration. Similarly, companies like Starbucks, which is also fighting unionization, offer exclusive benefits to non-union employees.
To prevent unionization, Apple has been improving benefits for retail workers in the past few months. As part of its initiative to reduce overwork, Apple announced in February that sick days would be paid, vacation days would be increased, and parental leave would be extended, and the company agreed to make employee schedules more flexible in June.