Apple punishes unionized employees

Apple Inc will no longer hand out the latest benefits to workers at its only unionized retail store, a move that could exacerbate labor tensions at the tech giant. Currently, only one of Apple's retail stores in Baltimore, Maryland is unionized.

Apple told retail and corporate employees this week that it would increase benefits for outside education courses and health care, people familiar with the matter said. Employees will receive more funding to complete courses, and employees in some states will be able to access new health plan benefits. This is part of a broader effort by Apple to give back to its employees. During the pandemic, the company had to contend with inflationary pressures, a tight labor market, and changes in employee demand.

However, Apple quickly notified workers at its unionized retail stores that they would not get the new benefits. Currently, only one Apple retail store in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland, is unionized. The reason Apple gave was that Towson stores needed to negotiate benefits with Apple through a collective bargaining arrangement by the union. In fact, Apple is not alone in taking this approach. Coffee giant Starbucks has rolled out a series of new employee benefits but excluded unionized stores, sparking a labor dispute.

Labor experts said Apple's move could be seen by the National Labor Relations Board as a violation of federal law that prohibits companies from making anti-union threats or discriminatory measures.

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